After Alienating Europe, FEMEN Looks to the US “We’re a bunch of angry women.”


Given FEMEN’s criminality, the group gets surprisingly good press here in the US. Consider that FEMEN vandals targeted Notre Dame Cathedral, took a chainsaw to a cross in Ukraine, and desecrated altars throughout France. I wonder how many Christian American men could get away with doing the same to mosques, or Muslims to synagogues. Not a one, I’d wager. Merely disrupting a service while shouting militant slogans would earn the “activist” years in prison for terrorism with a hate crime enhancement.

But some animals are more equal than others, and anti-religious vandals have a way of escaping consequences for their actions, especially if they cloak themselves in fashionable causes such as feminism. However, after a certain point, even they can wear out their welcome:

She quickly seduced French officialdom after arriving from Ukraine, winning political asylum within a year of her application. Her visage, framed in blond hair crowned with flowers, helped inspire France’s latest postage stamp.

Few French people knew back then that they were dealing with a radical soldier for the feminist cause, in town to organize the ranks of women for a radical insurgency with bare breasts as weapons.

The sweet start for 23-year-old Inna Shevchenko is souring. The defiant chief of the Ukraine-born Femen movement now risks up to five years in prison and a 75,000-euro ($103,000) fine for bashing brand new bells at Notre Dame Cathedral a year ago — and allegedly damaging one. Dressed only in pantyhose, she and eight others were celebrating the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

The trial for the nine was postponed from Wednesday to July 9. A second trial begins March 14 for a single Femen activist for simulating abortion in Paris’ famed church, Eglise de la Madeleine.

Femen has orchestrated a raft of bare-breasted protests with a range of targets: near the Vatican, in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, near the Grand Mosque of Paris and in several churches outside France, including at Christmas Mass at Cologne Cathedral. There, a single topless woman with “I am God” painted on her chest briefly jumped onto the altar.

Boldness is clearly in Shevchenko’s blood. She fled Ukraine in 2012 after taking a buzz saw to a huge wood cross, risking prison. Today, she is nonchalant about that risk.

“Of course, I was scared” after the Ukraine protest, she said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But this is not that fear that will make you stop your activity. We are scared to not be able to continue our activity.”

“We are not a political party who wants to find fans. We are not a rock band,” she said. “We’re a bunch of angry women.”

Shevchenko has announced plans to expand Femen’s footprint from nine countries mostly in Europe to the United States, most likely in New York or Washington, D.C. The group’s Ukraine headquarters has been shut down.

“We are this sort of detonator,” she said. “We go where the problem is.”

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You’d think that if Shevchenko were really such a hero who always headed for action, she’d have been in Kiev for the last couple of weeks. Instead, the group vanished after a few were arrested last month in Maidan Square, and it doesn’t look like they have any plans to return. No, she wants to go to real “problem” areas, like Washington and New York.

However, in the US, perhaps she can carry her aggressive strain of anti-Christian activism to the next level, and this is why I’m not entirely opposed to her efforts. If she starts attacking Evangelical megachurches, maybe these institutions will finally get a clue about feminism. Perhaps their pastors will have to take sides on the issue, which they have skirted for years with the anti-patriarchal sermons and dogma that Dalrock so artfully exposes.

It could be quite a show.

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n 1946 a young, post-war Italian businessman from Valenza, Gino Amisano, began producing leather seats and motorcycle saddles. One year later he repurposed his skills to start AGV SpA (helmets) designing some of the earliest motorcycle protective leather helmets on the market in Italy. As safety testing and standards were not commonplace in this time of history, Amisano was one of the first to begin producing protective motorcycle racing helmets with his 1954 model 160 helmet. Fast forward sixty one years and worldwide the AGV name is living legend. After the production of the first leather “pudding bowl” shaped, crisscross inner lining and harnessed helmet, which would mold to the riders head, AGV had thus separated themselves from the competition, and Gino Amisano would soon be known as the “King of Helmets” in the European industry. To attain such a high status, a “King,” AGV had to establish their dominance in the helmet industry. They started with a riding helmet, but what was to follow? Their first step was by producing a protective jet helmet in 1956, later signing the best motorcyclist to ever participate in the sport in 1967, Giacomo Agostini, who would go on to win 14 World Championships while wearing AGV helmets. The first AGV full faced helmet worn in racing was in an Italian race, worn by Alberto Pagani, in 1969. And finally by creating and sponsoring the now famous “Clinica Mobile, this mobile clinic which would treat injured riders at the race track starting in 1977. It was clear that AGV had a commitment to excellence, both in safety of their products and the sport itself. It was right about this time that Michael Parrotte began riding motorcycles while attending the American School of Paris for three years. During this time AGV was the undisputed King of the helmet world in Europe while Bell Helmets reigned supreme in North America. During this time in Europe AGV Helmets were worn by many of the top Grand Prix Riders – Giacomo Agostini, Barry Sheene, Angel Nieto, Johnny Cecotto, Steve Baker, and Kenny Roberts. AGV was not just the sponsor of racers but of race series. The AGV World Cup consisted of 200 mile events at Daytona, Paul Ricard, and Imola. Shortly after returning to the US Mr. Parrotte wrote a letter to Mr. Amisano enquiring about the possibility of importing AGV Helmets into the US. Communications continued and in late 1976 AGV granted the exclusive rights for the AGV brand to Mr. Parrotte and his new company AGV USA. The first helmets arrived in the port of Baltimore in the spring of 1977. As an avid road racer Michael traveled the race circuit promoting and selling AGV as well as participating in races. During this first season AGV USA sponsored their first racer, an up and coming fourteen year old from Louisiana-named Freddie Spencer. After years of operating as the exclusive importer of AGV helmets, Parrotte saw yet another opportunity in the motorcycling market by producing safety apparel for riders, particularly club racers who needed very durable and safe products and who did not have unlimited budgets. In 1985 Mr. Amisano licensed the use of the AGV tradename to begin a joint venture with Mr. Parrotte in this new sector. In the first year American GP rider Randy Mamola began wearing AGV gloves, the CX-1. AGV road race suits and boots quickly followed, all handcrafted in Italy at the time. After only a couple of years of business in the US motorcycle apparel industry Yamaha Motor Canada became the first international importer of the AGV apparel. After the success of the AGV motorcycle safety apparel in the United States and Canadian markets, the decision was made to expand the name from AGV to AGVSPORT for cosmetic reasons particularity the Suits, Jackets, and pants. 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The reputation for durability spread throughout the club racing world and it is not uncommon to see AGVSPORT suits twenty years old or more still being used by club racers today. This ultimately led to a great and long-lasting partnership, now for more than 25 years, with Keith Code and the California Super Bike School, where all instructors would be suited up in AGVSPORT leather suits. The California Superbike Schools’ instructors and students have been using and abusing AGVSPORT leather suits for more than quarter century. These suits are put to a stress test like no other often being used for days on end, rain or shine year after year. These instructors and students often remain in their suits for the entirety of the day’s lessons, and essentially are living in our leathers. 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It was now time for AGV Sport Group Inc. to become an independent entity and all the shares of the company were purchased back from AGV SpA in Italy. But it was not until the fall of 2001 that AGVSPORT was officially recognized by the Italian helmet company as an independent brand, owned by entirely by AGV Sport Group Inc. Today AGV Helmets is owned by famed Italian apparel manufacturer Dainese. Since that time AGVSPORT has enjoyed a comfortable position in the apparel industry. By continuing their age old business model “Designed by Riders, for Riders,” and “The Science of Safety” which combined years of helmet industry knowledge. AGVSPORT has always been on the cutting edge of the safety apparel design and construction. AGV Sports Group has always been, and will always be, a company of avid riders and enthusiasts who are wearing and always developing AGVSPORT apparel. 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