(Re)Contextualizing Gender-Related Public Discourse with Satire

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

Speakers: Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska, Brigita Zemen

Moderator: Milica Pesic

Organized in cooperation with Heinrich Böll Stiftung e.V.


December 4th, 2020, 18:00-18:35 CET


Written by Martina Kroa


Key words: Satire, Women Rights, Feminism, Media, Gender


Short annotation, summary

The genre of news satire has found its way into gender-related issues. Two feminist shows in central Europe, Polish “Przy Kawie o Sprawie” and Czech “Branky, Body, Kokoti”, are using satire to defend women rights. They manage to highlight pressing topics through a new perspective.


The project or approach to be discussed in the session

The speakers introduced their satirical shows, the Polish “Przy Kawie o Sprawie” and the Czech “Branky, Body, Kokoti”, defending women rights and demonstrated how satire can be used to communicate serious issues and break taboos. They use this satirical way to convey their message, highlight chauvinistic actions in society and make women and the LGBT+ community feel heard. It is an especially relevant topic in the context of the current political and social situation in Poland.


Evidence of impact

The evidence of impact can be measured by the number of views on the shows or number of people that have subscribed to the particular program or show. It is harder to measure the impact it has on society and social change. The Polish “Przy Kawie o Sprawie” has been impactful as thousands of people watch it on Youtube and once it came out, mainstream Polish media wrote about it. It has been a topic of discussion also because it paraphrased some of the statements made my politicians and other officials and directly approached their statements and the currently discussed issues relating to abortion and the use of morning-after pills. Although the Czech Republic is much smaller population wise, the show “Branky, Body, Kokoti” is also viewed by thousands.


Limitations, risks of the approach provided by the speaker

Brigita Zemen pointed out that it will have a bigger reach and therefore also impact, if it appears on a platform accessible to everyone without pay rather than being on a news outlet that one needs to pay for in order to watch. The limitation mentioned by Brigita was also the language. The Czech show doesn’t offer English subtitles and the Czech population in the country is only ten million, while in Poland it is 40 million with another twenty million living outside of its borders, so it has a possibly wider audience. The lesson learnt is to include English subtitles if you want it to reach a broader audience.


Takeaways

1. In Poland the political situation, women rights and media coverage have gone to such ends that Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska from Krytyka Polityczna decided only satire and taking the gender-related topic to absurd measures could break taboos and show the events in a different way.

2. Feminist satire or satire in gender-related topics exists in central Europe and strives to outbalance chauvinism and denying women rights.

3. “It [satire] is a very, very useful tool for journalism. It takes people in a way they don’t expect to be treated. It puts them out of the box that they sit in which is very important in life.” - Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska


Other considerations

“European Commission is deciding on the potential sanctions on Poland, Hungary and maybe Slovenia which will be a historic act. It has never happened in the history of the European Commission.” - Milica Pesic


“The right wingers use the national media to cheat on people. They are giving them a different picture of reality that is very far from the reality. The only way to show that this is cheating, the false picture is by not giving them money to do it.” [Poland] - Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska