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Charge of the Pink Brigade: Women's Resistance to Patriarchy in Today's Ukraine

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Thomson 317

FEMEN, an opposition “movement” of young, university-educated women, founded in 2008, is part of a new phenomenon in Ukraine--youthful protest against patriarchy, endemic corruption and abuses targeting women. This frequently pink-clad brigade is described as the most radical feminist movement in Europe today, yet its members reject feminism as a self-descriptor. They convey their opposition to the hegemonic male social codes through daringly creative expedients--scandalous demonstrations, bizarre street theater, contentious confrontations with authorities, and protest rallies. FEMEN’s primary target is the rapidly-escalating sex industry, but their ultimate goal is gender justice and sufficient political power to achieve it.

Marian J. Rubchak is a Senior Research Professor of History at Valparaiso University whose work focuses on reimagining Slavic identities in various contexts. She has written on the role of myth in shaping the identity of contemporary Ukrainian women, and the
difficulties that they face in exerting agency in a transitional society with prejudices against women. Her most recent book is Mapping Difference: The Many Faces of Women in Contemporary Ukraine published by Berghahn Books in 2011.