Thousands of Ukrainian women are posing for photographs seated with their legs apart in support of the wartorn country’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska, after she was targeted with criticism following her divisive Vogue photoshoot with Annie Leibowitz.
Zelenska’s photoshoot with her husband and Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky came under fire with many feeling the glossy Vogue cover was inappropriate during the Russian invasion.
However, Zelenska was particularly singled out for criticism in regards to a photograph showing her sitting on a step with her legs apart and leaning with her elbows on her knees — with critics describing the First Lady’s pose as “unfeminine” and “too manly.”
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Ukrainian journalist, Zoya Zvynyatskivska called out the misogynistic backlash against Zelenska and started the #SitLikeAGirl hashtag on Instagram — encouraging other women to sit in the same pose in support of the First Lady.
In a matter of days, thousands of women joined the initiative — including Leibovitz, who shared her support for it by posting the hashtag on her Instagram stories. Ukrainian police officers, artists, journalists and players from the country’s women’s football club FC Kryvbas, were among the individuals who posed in solidarity with Zelenska, reports the Kyiv Post.
“Many Ukrainian women were appalled by society’s attempt to tell women which pose they are allowed to take,” Zvynyatskivska tells the Kyiv Post.
She says that the #SitLikeAGirl hashtag is intended “to ridicule the stereotypes girls and women are subjected to.”
Say goodbye to stereotypes. In response to the hate that Olena Zelenska received after her recent Vogue photoshoot, Ukrainian women launched a flash mob dubbed #sitlikeagirl, ridiculing the norms that girls and women are subjected to. Ukrainian artists, journalists, policewomen. pic.twitter.com/L9Fz0PxG8H
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Zelenska and Zelensky featured in a digital edition of Vogue, which focused mainly on Olena, titled “Portrait of Bravery: Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska.” The images were shot by famed photographer Lebowitz who traveled to Ukraine to photograph the presidential couple inside their compound in Mariinsky Palace on the outskirts of Kyiv.
The photoshoot was met with mixed feedback. Some praised the pair for continuing to raise the profile of the conflict as Mr Zelenskyy pleads for global support for Ukraine. Others criticized them for posing for the fashion magazine during wartime.
To read Vogue’s feature, illustrated with Lebowitz’s images, visit the link.