Mehreen Kasana vs. Nocturnus Libertus (FEMEN Q&A)

If I ever had to meet a member of the feminist organization FEMEN, I’d only pose these questions:

  • If I consciously choose not to strip naked in public, am I still oppressed?

It’s not about your liberation, per-say, but the liberation of womyn who have been subjugated by religion and religious standards. Religion created a system where womyn were placed below men. Men supposedly have dominion over womyn, in politics, in education, and in the home.

The nakedness of womyn is taboo, because religious patriarchy has hypersexualized the form of a womyn, and made it so that her body is something that is shameful, and sexual. Something that must be hidden and censored. This is what we are protesting.

  • Do you have a clear, unbiased understanding of the struggles of a brown, Muslim woman?

Some of us do, but some of us don’t. FEMEN is a diverse group of womyn from across the globe who have many different concerns. I don’t think hat you should conflate your struggles with the general struggles of womyn. We are aware that there are many different kinds of womyn, with different struggles, but it is virtually impossible for us to aid moslem women into any kind of egalitarian lifestyle. We don’t think that’s what we’re here for, and hopefully, neither does anyone else.

This is about more than just the struggle of moslem women. This is about the struggle of womyn who are oppressed by religion, which includes islam. Some moslems have taken that to heart, and have seen our actions as an attack on them, but this isn’t the case. We’re attacking religion’s influence in political and societal standards.

Before my joining FEMEN, I was a brazen crusader against religion and hierarchy. FEMEN just give me a greater platform to speak out against the horrors of compliance to a system that dehumanizes the average human being.

  • Why do you think privilege occurs in stark binary?

They don’t. Some people have come to portray it that way, but that doesn’t mean that’s how it happens. Not every issue is black and white. Sometimes, with things like these, there are shades of grey in-between. Consider this quote: “Some people can’t see the colour red, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”

  • What if my emancipation is more fundamental and policy based, not essentially revolving around aesthetics? What if my liberation lies in the betterment of economy, politics and education?

Well, it seems as if you’re being condescending towards a cause that you haven’t researched well enough to critique. Today’s economy (capitalism) is destructive, racist, and sexist. It favors the capitalist class and creates inequality between groups of people.

The same goes for today’s education, that of which is arbitrary and violent. Check out this project my friend Matthew and I are working on. This should help you being to understand what I mean.

You seem to be perpetuating the myth that 1.) Womyn who are sexually liberated lack intelligence, and 2.) That womyn must be modest in order to obtain any kind of respect, or they don’t deserve any at all. A womyn who displays her body doesn’t do so because it is sexual, but because it is the opposite. We are naturally naked, and that has somehow found it’s way into being demonized.

Contrary to popular belief, the body of a womyn is not innately sexual, and constructs like “purity” and “modesty” are gynophobic and misogynistic.

  • What if I can achieve all of that without taking my clothes off?

That is religiously-based morality. If that is something you’re pleased with, then by all means pursue it, but it is not the “right” way for anything to be done. Have you ever heard of “Tyranny of normality”? The same logic applies here. We need to get rid of “right” and “wrong”, as well as “good” and “bad” (when referring to the identity of a human being), because that is a rather destructive way to define someone. It’s bad business. Bad business is bad news, and it dehumanizes human nature.

  • Why is your philosophy of freedom so superficial?

I don’t think you understand how we see freedom. It’s very basic, so I don’t understand how it could be misinterpreted. We see freedom as the right to free will and self expression. We don’t currently have that.

  • Is it because you enjoy more privileges than I do?

I am a much darker womyn than you, so I doubt that I would receive any more favor than you. In fact, I would say that you have more favor than me, simply because you identify as a moslem woman. People go out of their way to appease religious people in general, especially moslems.

It’s not about islam, it’s about islamism. Enforcing islam’s ideals of morality, or Abrahamic religions in general. We don’t want your ideas of morality. We want to define our own. We would only be able to do that in a secular society.

  • What if my feminism also involves the deconstruction of the prejudiced narrative involving my father, my cousins, the men of my society – the brown men of my culture? 

There is no “your” Feminism, “my” Feminism. That is another misconception people have about Feminism. Feminism is not an ideology, but a way to define activism. Feminism is a series of movements for the liberation, empowerment, and rights of womyn.

Now, about the men of your culture, that is not a Feminist issue, but a race issue. To conflate the two is a way to disregard their identity as brown people, and to somehow proclaim that their issues are womyn’s issues. It’s not possible to successfully confront everyone’s issues with the same methods and same movements. That’s why there are sub-movements. Feminism is an off-shoot of humanitarianism, but it’s focus is womyn’s issues. Feminism is not for everything. That’s why we have abolitionism, the civil rights movement, environmentalism, etc.

Feminism did not create these issues, even though some may intersect, they are still different issues, with different causes. Most of them just aren’t.

  • What if my feminism involves saving myself not only from men but from women like you?

Well, that’s another misconception. There is no “your” Feminism and “my” Feminism. There is only Feminism. Feminism doesn’t define and ideology, it just describes a type of activism. Many people mistakenly believe that Feminism is some kind of ideology where people can just interpret it differently, and that’s okay it’s not. Feminism is a collection of movements, but I’ll have more on this later.

  • Do you see the world as I see it?

Not necessarily. Someone’s perspective cannot simply be defined by one ideology or one doctrine. I see that this world is nothing but the remains of grace it used to have. I see that ignorance is nurturing innocence, and that we as humans have not reached our potential in caring for Mother Earth.

Religion has created ideological malice in a form we can now recognize, but it was not recognizable then. This needs to be exposed as what it really is. Bigotry, and the blockage of progress.

If not, who is the oppressor? I want answers.

The hierarchs. I hope I’ve answered your questions thoroughly, if not, you can e-mail nocturnus.libertus@zoho.com

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