Saturday, March 7, 2009

"Kariera czy rodzina?" / "Career or family?"

Disclaimer: I've been meaning to do a double Polish-English post but, obviously, that didn't happen till now. I don't like repeating myself and so, the following post will repeat certain things and then the parts will go wherever they want to go.

This is Marta Żmuda-Trzebiatowska, a Polish actress in her early twenties who just won Viva! magazine's ranking of the famous and beautiful.

Here's what I find striking about the cover:

the enormous letters dominating over Trzebiatowska's face and silhouette in both versions say KARIERA CZY RODZINA?," that is, CAREER OR FAMILY?"

Because, you know, as a woman, you are not allowed to have both. You work, maybe become popular, and one day you win this major beauty thing for celebs only to have huge letters sprawled over your frame like a court verdict.

Feminism's place in Polish culture is, unfortunately, still very much in the pipe dream territory.

The titillation of absurdly final choices takes center stage. Either you're "Mother Pole" whose fertile womb breeds whole parishes of kids, or you're "that woman who chose career and is now paying a high price for it." Or so the papers say.

Images are supposed to be worth more than thousands of words:

I suppose the main idea of this photo shoot was to speed-age her by means of make up so that she looks like a 40-something-year-old worn out by fame. In case she might have been thinking she could have it both ways, the photos serve as a reminder that being a woman is all about sacrifice.

Try to picture a photo of a successful man with the same threat in block letters. Impossible? Why of course. In Viva! offices in Warsaw the crowd that came up with this lame story and photo shoot are thinking that sexual equality would just steal all the drama. Feminism just doesn't sell. Remember.

Is there any chance someone will finally give Polish women a break?


Marta Żmuda-Trzebiatowska wygrała plebiscyt "Najpiękniejsi" pisma Viva! i w nagrodę dostała szyderczą okładkę w tymże piśmie. Polski feminizm, jak wiadomo, przez szersze społeczeństwo i towarzystwo wydające czasopisma uważany jest za twór bajkowy.

Jeśli już miałaś pecha urodzić się jako kobieta w Polsce, tak jak pani Trzebiatowska, twoje życie będzie pasmem ostatecznych i bolesnych wyborów. Gigantyczne litery na obydwu wersjach okładki krzyczą KARIERA CZY RODZINA? Jeśli łudziłaś się, droga niewiasto, że w XXI w. dane Ci będzie bezczelnie cieszyć się obydwiema opcjami, Viva! rozwieje twoje rojenia.

Trudno sobie wyobrazić zdjęcie mężczyzny opatrzone podobną groźbą. Jak wiadomo, facet może mieć wszystko w świecie kolorowych magazynów i prawicowej polityki. Ale kobiety należy straszyć.

Najlepiej za pomocą zdjęć, które postarzają je na oko o jakieś 20 lat. Specjalnie dla zwyciężczyni, styliści pisma stworzyli moralne ostrzeżenie: jak nie nakręcisz zaraz biologicznego budzika, obudzisz się samotna, zgorzkniała, z natapirowaną grzywą i wielkimi literami na piersi, obwieszczającymi światu, że zawiodłaś w twej kobiecej misji.

Warto pamiętać, że te egzystencjalne dramaty rzekomej "odwiecznej natury kobiecej" nakręcają kolorową prasę, dla której feminizm jest nieatrakcyjnym tematem.

[Zdjęcia pochodzą stąd.]


Kim said...

So the first thing I noticed before reading your entry was how old the lady looks! I've been procrastinating like crazy from filling out forms and an application with lots of essay questions, so have been watching movies and tv shows on the internet. I've been noticing how old people look, well older than their age (I look them up on wikipedia). And it's kind of freaky. This has nothing to do with what you wrote though :p

I haven't read a woman's magazine in a while (can't find any in English here and the Korean mags are huge like carrying around a dictionary! And I hate looking at sooooooooo many super skinny women and not knowing what the articles say. There's a website called Pandora TV, Korean tv website and they have a commercial before you can watch a streamed tv show (I watch things like CSI or Heroes at the moment) and one commercial drives me crazy! It's a woman talking about getting plastic surgery and she giggles and it's stupid, to me at least, end of tangent), but don't you think Cosmopolitain and Vogue and others are the same but in a kinda different way? That women can have it all but they need botox and laser peels and other crazy stuff to look young, glowing, and beautiful! And a hot, rich partner/husband makes life even better.

Misiula said...

Yes, they are pretty much the same and, as far as I'm concerned, Naomi Wolf nailed it in The Beauty Myth.

My problem isn't so much with how they styled the poor woman but with the death sentence across her frame. I think Cosmo is more invested in sex and Vogue in fashion rather than telling women they can't have full lives.

Polish mags, on the other hand, come across as utterly misanthropic.

How stupid: celebrating someone by threatening the person with an unrealistic life choice written all over her pictures... Today you win, tomorrow we tell you that you will be miserable. The make up just adds to the macabre.