Inna Shevchenko's Femen: Shock, Irritate, Frighten, Inspire

Inna Shevchenko and the art of making a statement that can’t be ignored
Inna Shevchenko Photograph by Philippe Jarrigeon for Bloomberg Businessweek

When a topless woman runs toward you, you’re going to pay attention, no matter what your gender or background. But are you going to be changed? And will you learn anything? When she’s shouting an obscenity-laced provocation such as “F-‍-‍- Putin!” or “F-‍-‍- the Church!” the answer might be yes. Or the kind of resounding no that starts a national argument. But it’s rarely indifference. “As a woman, you usually have to beg to speak,” says Inna Shevchenko, leader of the Ukrainian protest group Femen. “We don’t beg. We force them to hear us.”

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