"Political nudity allows women to tell their truth"

For the philosopher Geneviève Fraisse, the release, at the end of March 2016, of the three Femen judged for "sexual exhibition" during the "Carlton trial" is good news. It proves that "political nudity" is gaining legitimacy. Explanations.

Interview by Stéphanie Torre

120 years of claims by the body

"Women's recourse to political nudity is nothing new: the claims of the appropriation of their bodies have begun, in Europe, at the end of the very modest nineteenth century.The expression of the time was not "My body is a weapon!", but rather "My body has more than a mere sexual purpose in the relationship to others" Widely supported by women artists, including Suzanne Valadon, among the first to allow herself to copy nudes and represent her own nakedness, this movement of emancipation was evidently already perceived as subversive. "

Show yourself naked for transgressing the established order

"What do men fear about this unveiling?" In 2016, as always, this unbearable "naked truth": women are also "subjects." In our Western history, the female body has, for centuries, served as an allegory to the great ideas that are the justice, the nation, the truth ... A sort of "object"! When they allow themselves a movement, and particularly that of being naked, women thus transgress the division between subject and object.

The feminine emancipation of the 70s has, of course, changed the game a bit, but in the face of the Femen rising, topless, in the public space, once again, we panic. Nudity as a clue to the truth of a female message, it still disturbs. Fortunately, in March, by relaxing three of them after whitewashing DSK, the justice sent a strong signal. "

Demonstrations of" political nudity "in all countries

" If political nudity does not is not recent in western countries, we are now witnessing its internationalization. In Mexico, in 2002, a group of peasants and especially peasants decided to demonstrate naked in the streets of Mexico until the government stops hunting them from their land. We also remember Egyptian blogger Alia Almahdy, who posted a photo of her undressed on Twitter in 2011, protesting against "a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy" is attracted death threats that forced him to leave his country ... Everywhere, the same gesture is now taken to demand equality ("I want to be able to do like men!"), appropriation ("My body belongs to me! ") or the possibility of affirming its truth (" I have things to say to you with that!")

An inversion of the image of the woman-object

" What do the Femen do when they write on their chests "Neofeminism is watching you!" (the new feminism is watching you, ed)? A gesture that says "I look at you, I reveal you!", And allows to totally reverse the image of the woman-object. Even if I am not one of them, their approach seems all the more interesting to me as it "déshysérise" the subject. Finally, society understands it: today, to be naked is a means that women have to interrupt the flow of media gossip and tell their truth. As may be, at the other extreme, the wearing of the "scarf" for some ... "


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