1. Victor Svyatski Puts the “MEN” in FEMEN
If I told you the story of a misogynist man put in charge of a feminist group, you’d think I was telling you about a story from The Onion (yes, there is one). But I could also be telling you about a new movie about FEMEN.
FEMEN is a Ukrainian activist group famous for its topless protests against political and sexual repression. It been active across Europe, including targeting Vladimir Putin and religious institutions.
But according to the documentary Ukraine is Not a Brothel, the mastermind behind the group wasn’t the women baring all against oppression, but a man named Victor Svyatski. Filmmaker Kitty Green followed the group and interviewed Green said of Svyatski, “He was quite horrible with the girls. He would scream at them and call them bitches.”
Svyatski is quoted in the film saying, “They don’t have the strength of character. They don’t even have the desire to be strong. Instead, they show submissiveness, spinelessness, lack of punctuality, and many other factors which prevent them from becoming political activists. These are qualities which it was essential to teach them.”
2. Torches of Freedom
In the 1920s the suffrage movement had gained the vote for women, and flapper culture was challenging traditional social mores. The age was ripe for symbols of a new feminism, and ripe for exploiting it for cash. The ripened fruit was the “Torches of Freedom” tobacco campaign.
Prior to the 1920s, the very notion of women smoking was considered taboo. But George Washington Hill, president of the American Tobacco Company, saw a new market in feminism and hired Edward Bernays, one of the pioneers of public relations.
Rather than advertise directly, Bernays selected women smokers to march in Easter Sunday Parade, with plenty of photographers to capture the moment.
Cancer never looked so classy.
The Torches for Freedom campaign worked. In 1929 women made up 12 percent of the smoking market, up from 5 percent in 1923. Women smokers would peak at 33 percent in 1963.
In 2003, a digital artist named Atmospheric Henry Ross created an Internet hoax called LoveLump. The hoax claimed that a sex toy called the LoveLump was a bio-tech sex toy made of real flesh from animal and vegetable DNA that came with male and female parts. It was a statement of the direction of bio-technology could be heading.
Not Safe For Work, Life.
The image made some rounds on the Internet and won a MemeFest Award in 2003, which is the Oscars for people with names like Atmospheric Henry Ross
4. The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals (SINA)
While young media manipulators today think they invented culturejamming pranks, that just isn’t the case. The culturejam cause celebre was invented long before Millenials were even born.
In 1959, prankster Alan Abel created a group called The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals (SINA). SINA was a fake group opposing animal nudity on moral grounds.
What we would imagine as a joke today actually went on until 1963, when Time Magazine exposed the hoax.
Before then Abel and his actor friend Buck Henry (who portrayed the president of the group) had managed to get on The Tonight Show, The Today Show and even tricked Walter Cronkite.
This was years before CNN lowered the news media’s IQ to room temperature.