They say that sex sells, so there is no surprise that with an upcoming election, there would be a candidate or two willing to court controversy in order to gain attention for some votes. Katarzyna Lenart, a 23 year old political science student looking to be elected in Lublin, has raised some eyebrows this week thanks to her Youtube video, in which she partially strips off on camera. The video is only 40 seconds long , but had gathered 122,000 views on Youtube by last Thursday (October 6th) and since then has jumped to over 410,000 views today (Saturday October 8th).
To summarise the clip for those who may be uncomfortable with such viewing: the scene opens with Katarzyna Lenart sitting in a dark suit, white shirt and black tie combination while seated in a swivel chair. The phrase SLD Electoral Committee (Komitet Wyborczy SLD) appears in the bottom left of the screen. Next, she evokes the spirit of Sharon Stone by uncrossing her legs provocatively (but without the ‘extras’ on show in Basic Instinct). She drags off her tie and launches it towards the camera, and then begins caressing her hair seductively. Then, swinging the chair around, she stands up with her back to the viewers, pushing the chir backwards, and her mini-striptease begins. The jacket drops first to leave her glancing over her shoulder. Then she unbuttons her shirt and it too falls to reveal her pink bra underneath. (Some colour experts might even call it shocking pink). But the video does not finish there… She then unhooks her bra – at which point a big ‘Censored’ sign lands on screen to protect her ‘modesty’ – and she walks towards the screen. The scene darkens and finishes with a caption saying “Do you want more? Vote SLD! Together we can do more” – “Chcesz więcej? Głosuj na SLD. Tylko my możemy zrobić więcej” po polsku.
However, the reaction has been mixed at best. She has needed to defend the stunt saying in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza. “I thought it was time to cause a stir,” she said. “My campaign targets young people, and young people are only interested in controversial stuff, unfortunately,” according to the newspaper. “I don’t think it was vulgar or obscene. You can hardly see anything,” she added, not that it had taken guts to strip. However, if those externally are criticizing her it could be shrugged off, but further complaint came from within the SLD, with Tomasz Kalita, a spokesperson for the party, saying that it did not give the right image. It also makes you wonder if she gets elected – what happens next? And would this become a party policy. You would hope not, given as the majority of representatives would be middle aged men, and with them less skin on show would be plenty. Thus, they say that there is no such thing as bad publicity, but in this case it is hard to see how this shows Ms. Lenart in a positive way (apart from among the 18-30 male voting group).
It seems to show some naivety with regards to understanding the political system. In general, this Youtube video will be seen by those Internet-savvy individuals, generally aged below 40. However, ironically that will be the age group that tends to have least interest in politics and voting. Had Ms. Lenart more sense and focus on being elected, she would probably have spent more time shaking hands of babcias and dziadeks in Lublin and listening to their stories in order to gain votes. When they look at the electoral list, they will just see another name. If her photo would be seen by those around retirement age, they may think “Oh, she looks a bit like my grandaughter”, but it’s doubtful that would get her elected. Thus it would seem she would need to spend more time in her political studies class and appearing less on Youtube should she maintain hopes for a political career.