In this article, we investigate how FEMEN employs female nudity to raise public attention in their mediatized strategies and how this form of naked protest is represented and interpreted in German media discourse. We will show that the significant media presence of FEMEN’s naked protest actions and its self-portrayal as the new feminism of our days have become increasingly ambivalent over time. As this is of great importance with regards to public perceptions of feminism, feminist activists, and feminist agency in general, our analysis provides a detailed investigation of the processes of appreciation and devaluation of FEMEN as an expression of contemporary feminists and feminism. Employing a qualitative discourse analysis, the article highlights the interwoven processes of contextualization and decontextualization in FEMEN’s self-mediation and news coverage in Germany. It is shown that FEMEN’s protests from 2008 to 2013 materialize in “local” actions, but are increasingly constructed and interpreted on a transcultural level. In this analysis, we identify the core interpretative scheme of decontextualization that becomes apparent in three forms of detachments. As we show, these forms of detachment are a core issue in the media’s devaluation and depolitization of FEMEN and feminism in general.
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