Friday, April 25, 2014

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2014: Ukraine Is Not a Brothel

Ukraine Is Not A Brothel

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, there was growing perception that all the women from Ukraine become prostitutes.  To combat this, the feminist activist organisation FEMEN was formed.  FEMEN members perform topless protests to speak out against the patriarchy left over from Ukraine’s Soviet past.  However, when it comes to the rights of women in the Ukraine, are FEMEN doing more harm than good?  Ukraine is Not a Brothel examines the inner workings of this organization and the apparent hypocrisy that lies within.

The general reasoning given by FEMEN for their topless protests is that, while nobody is apparently willing to listen to women in Ukraine, they are all willing to look at the naked female body.  While protesting for women’s rights in Ukraine is a valid cause, it is hard to get behind a group that is essentially doing the very thing they are protesting against. With the exception of a grossly overweight woman, used for shock value, all the members of FEMEN are young, thin, and blonde, with females that are not the right type being rejected from the group. In addition, the members also participate in photo-shoots and sell merchandise, which seems to further contradict their message.

Some questions about FEMEN are answered in the latter half of the doc when it’s revealed that the defacto leader of the group is man named Victor, who instructs the group on what to say or do during their protests.  This is the biggest contradiction of them all, since how can an activist group be truly against patriarchy if it has a patriarchal leader?  Whether or not you agree with FEMEN’s politics and methods, Ukraine is Not a Brothel is still an interesting look behind the scenes of this controversial group.

7 | FAIR 


  • Sat, April 26, 9:30 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
  • Mon, April 28, 1:00 PM – Hart House Theatre
  • Tue, April 29, 12:30 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).