When journalists mistake an economic congress for a fashion show

12,000 participants gathered for the annual European Economic Congress (EEC) in Katowice, Poland on May 13-15. As part of their coverage, the newspaper “Dziennik Zachodni” published a compilation of the best-dressed women participants. 

Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko NewsMavens, Poland
When journalists mistake an economic congress for a fashion show - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

If I had to write a satirical piece based on this list, I wouldn’t have to look far for the opening. I would quote the author of the compilation:

“Women are a minority among the participants and speakers of the 11th European Economic Congress, hence it is much harder to pick those with distinguishing outfits than with the gentlemen. However, we have succeeded in finding those who are not afraid of bold colors and cuts -- the trendsetters in business fashion.”

As for the consolation prizes, the author proceeds to assure that the congress was “obviously” full of beautiful, correctly dressed women who work in business, administration and politics. But ladies and gentlemen…

“We are not looking for 'correctness' here but for styles that are bold and 'have teeth', while at the same time highlighting the person’s character and bodily assets.”

The author, Katarzyna Pachelska, also compiled a separate best-dressed list of male participants. However, that list is devoid of sexist captions or remarks on the person’s body or taste (examples below). The men listed are introduced simply by their names and titles or positions.

In the conclusion, we read:

“One thing is certain -- if at least half of the participants were ladies, the congress would have been much more colorful. Men still tend to shield themselves in safe and nightmarishly boring business uniforms.”

Here are some takeaways from this short read:

1. If there were more women in the business world, the organizers of the EEC wouldn’t have to spend so much money on decorations.

2. AND it would be easier to compile best-dressed lists. The author wouldn’t have to wade through crowds of nightmarishly boring men.

Dziennik Zachodni followed the congress closely. Ironically, in two of the numerous articles devoted to the event, the authors discuss the panel “Women in business”, which highlighted the lack of parity in the industry. The authors note that “sadly” only 20% of this year’s EEC panelists are women. What seems to escape them, is that by publishing texts which strengthen gender roles and showcase women as objects to be looked at and judged, they are contributing to the problem. So next year, I am hoping to find the compilation of “The most interesting/successful/innovative women panelists of EEC” in Dziennik Zachodni. 

Excerpts from the story titled: “The Best Dressed Ladies at the European Economic Congress 2019. [PHOTOS]"

  • “Magdalena Radecka from Best Global Business. -- This could have been merely a correct business outfit, but the leopard-printed skirt adds a pinch of foxiness.”
  • “Karolina Kosowska-Raczek, chancellor of Silesia voivodeship, legal advisor. -- A serious civil servant in a serious uniform. But the white bow tie on the shirt adds lightness to this look, while the outfit lines up perfectly on the perfect silhouette of Ms. Chancellor.”
  • “Ewa Kołodziej, MP. -- It took Ms Ewa a long time to find the right style, but here it is. Classic white shirt, beautiful royal blue mid-length skirt and black boots with rave, transparent heels (...). All well-fitted, without trinkets and baubles.”
  • “Dr Wioleta Witczak-Smolnik, PR representative of the Katowice Special Economic Zone. -- Beautiful combination of colors. The foreground is dominated by a large, original vintage bag, which Ms Wioleta extracted from the depths of her wardrobe. It perfectly matches her dress, the color of which is unprecedented at this type of events, and her frame. Plus, a beautiful smile!”
  • “Krystyna Woźniak-Trzosek, president and editor-in-chief of “Polish Market” magazine. -- Beautiful violet female uniform. It is hard to overlook and forget Ms Krystyna, and the first impression is key in business.”
  • "Dziennik Zachodni" is a regional daily newspaper, on the market since 1945 with a circulation of 30,000.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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