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Rhetoric of Dissent - Essay Example

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It was impossible to imagine these events happening even a decade ago. The dissatisfaction with the current political and socio-economical stance has reached its peak and people started expressing their…
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Rhetoric of Dissent
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Download file to see previous pages In this paper, I address a different kind of a protest organized by the FEMEN activists in Europe who use their bodies and street theater elements as tools to achieve goals and deliver messages. I address the FEMEN protests in the narrative of a body rhetoric theory of Del Gandio and the concept of a public sphere of Habermas in order to explain and interpret how these activists use their bodies and what messages they are trying to deliver.
Ukrainian activists FEMEN represent a radical feminist group of young women, mostly students and young professionals, seeking for gender equality and political justice. They address various issues: women trafficking and prostitution in Ukraine, social inequality, and issues of political matter such as unfair elections in Russia (Rubchak, 2011). The geography of their protests is not limited by one country; it ranges from Russia to some countries in Western Europe.
Del Gandio points out that “body plays a rhetorical role in promoting or contesting political agendas (Del Gandio, 2008),” and the FEMEN protesters precisely express their concerns via body language. FEMEN activists are normally topless and provocative. Their actions might seem flamboyant and even outrageous, but they definitely attract attention and make people think of the addressed political issue. They are accused of populism and fame-seeking behavior, however, they successfully advocate for changes of social stereotypes and views on females.
Habermas’ (Habermas, 1999) ideas of public sphere revolutionized the views on civic engagement and participation. Various scholars pay their close attention to this concept and apply it to various social phenomena: from revolutions and demonstrations to online activism. Public sphere is a place where individuals can freely exchange ideas and experiences and it is not necessarily limited by the boundaries of the nation-state (Dahlgren & Sparks, 1991). Therefore FEMEN activism fulfils certain ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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