Another topless demonstration for women’s dignity?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 26, 2017

Are you puzzled by the women who run around topless in public, saying that they are doing it to promote the cause of women's dignity? Let's try to understand.

If a woman, normally dressed, tried to steal the Baby-Jesus figure from the crèche in St. Peter's Square, what would you think of her. Be honest: you’d probably dismiss her as a crank. But if she’s topless, you know that she’s making A Statement. And how do you know that? Because the Statement is written across her bare back.

In English.

This escapade took place in Rome. The woman was Ukrainian. But the slogan was in English. Why? Because the English language dominates the world’s media coverage, and this activist wants…maximum exposure.

Notice, too, that the slogan is painted across her back. She knows that ‘respectable’ media outlets won’t show her breasts. So their photos will show her back, and thus her Statement.

Theoretically, then, she might have attempted this stunt wearing a backless costume. But then she wouldn’t be considered “topless” and she wouldn’t draw the same media coverage. She would, in fact, be dismissed as a crank. So she exposes her breasts, to make sure millions of people see her back.

Confusing, isn’t it? So let’s try another way to understand this phenomenon. If a woman is really, really desperate for attention, and doesn’t care what people think of her (or of women in general), what’s a sure-fire way to guarantee that men will look at her? Right.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: grateful1 - Jan. 03, 2018 7:16 PM ET USA

    The problem is with your premise, Phil. She's NOT trying to promote the "dignity" of women. She's trying to be as crude, coarse, and crass as she thinks men in are. And that's the problem with Godless, Mary-less feminism: its adherents believe they will not achieve "equality" until they sink as low as the men they condemn.

  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 26, 2017 3:33 PM ET USA

    It is my strong suspicion that the Femen group, which consists of Russian and Ukrainian women, gets both money and specific ideas for "activism" from a source outside of it. Their stunts include exposed chests, slogans in English painted on skin or shouted in English with their native accents, and some anti Catholic messages. Women from the former Soviet Block are not into this style of "feminist activism" at all. It could be worth further investigation: where their founding comes from.