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July 14, 2010

Czech Them Out! European Politicos Strike a Pose

Public Affairs Party
Public Affairs Party

Although these photos would be standard fare in Maxim magazine, their appearance in the typically staid Wall Street Journal is rather surprising—apparently the WSJ  is just doing its due diligence covering the latest political trend.

The photos represent the efforts of the Czech Republic’s Public Affairs Party to garner attention (and maybe a few votes) with a 2011 parliamentarian-of-the-month calendar. These political pin-ups feature female members of the upstart Public Affairs Party, whose positive showing in the May elections helped women win more seats in the Czech parliament than ever before.

Visually, the photos enact a version of feminism, sometimes called “power feminism,” that assumes that women’s political and sexual agency can comfortably coexist in public. As explained in the WSJ article by Marketa Reedova (Prague city council member, mayoral candidate, and the calendar’s “April’ and “October” model), “women’s political influence is growing. Why not show we are women who aren’t afraid of being sexy?”

Of course feminists of another type (and generation, perhaps) would point out the ways in which the images trade on age-old stereotypes about gender and power. Three of the four women featured above are gazing up at the camera, a perspective that casts the observer as the “subject” and the woman as the “object” of the gaze. Even the photo of Kristyna Koci (top right), who is touted as “the party’s chief negotiator,” signals her availability—with her legs open and her top literally falling off, Koci is primed to be consumed with very little negotiation required.

The photos also picture women as sexual agents rather than as political ones. The top two are staged in the “public spheres” of an office and a window seat—there the women are all play and no work, invoking the familiar story of a powerful woman who sleeps her way to the top. The images in the lower panel, however, remind us of the politicos’ “true” female natures as they recline longingly in bathtubs and beds.

Only time will tell whether the Public Affairs Party’s new method of servicing, er . . . serving their constituency will catch on.

Photo credit: Public Affairs Party via styleite.com

  • pws

    All political parties use image to win elections. European women don’t buy into America’s Puritan hatred of women, and are more comfortable doing whatever they want.

    I’m more concerned about their positions on the issues than their positions in pictures.

    They seem to be an austerity bunch, so they can all go to Hell. (Makes sense that the pictures were published in the Wall Street Journal, Evil finds its own level.)

    Yes, the pretty ladies want Czech kids to starve in the streets.

    Cute pictures though.

    • pws

      Centre-right wins Czech election on austerity plan: “Public Affairs is a new party that agrees with the rightist groupings’ fiscal stance, but one that analysts say could be unpredictable in coalition talks.

      Public Affairs leader Radek John, a popular former TV host, said he would support the center-right on fiscal reforms.

      But his party has almost no record in policymaking, a small membership and a reputation for a populist streak that could make it a volatile partner.”

  • ivyleaves

    No, “cute pictures” don’t help women. They perpetuate the idea that no matter what you accomplish, your sexual attraction to men is equally important. No wonder they are right-wing in philosophy, as these contribute to hatred of women.

  • tinwoman

    Conservatives always use women as sex objects, so their conservatism comes as no surprise.

    Given the rate at which broads in bikinis sell beer, though, it’s a little worrisome that conservatives the world over have decided to sell their policies with sex appeal, e.g. Sarah Palin, etc.

    It just might work for them….

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