I Provoke Therefore I Am: Cross-Border Mediatizations of Femen’s “Sextremist” Protest

Mariam Betlemidze, Kevin Michael DeLuca


This article analyzes the (re)mediations of one of the pivotal protest events of the topless female activist group Femen in Ukraine, Russia, France, and The Netherlands. We examine how the cutting down of a crucifix in downtown Kiev in 2012 by Femen became an image event and put the group on the map globally, promoting a new style of affective female activism. Providing a slightly revised version of Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network Theory, we propose to study image events through rupture-connection-transformation processes. We examine how this image event of Femen traversed political, cultural, and ideological borders, creating a swarm of contrasting responses and transformations. Through close audio and visual analysis of networked digital artifacts, we argue that Femen ignites debates around taboo topics, creates new divisions, and bridges old divides.


Femen, Actor-Network Theory, image events, affect, bodies

Full Text: