18 Feb 2019

A Ukrainian presidential candidate can't find a wife -- now it's everyone's problem

Ukrainian presidential candidate Igor Shevchenko will be making a reality show to find his “future first lady”. The first requirements on his list are -- “legs, boobs and ass”.

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A Ukrainian presidential candidate can't find a wife -- now it's everyone's problem - NewsMavens
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Igor Shevchenko is a former minister of the environment and a candidate for the Presidency -- although not a popular one according to current polls. He is not among the top 10 candidates.

There are many ways for a political campaign to reach out to voters, but Shevchenko has come up with a most outrageous one -- billboards all over the country reading “Do you want to be the president’s wife?”. His campaign strategy (and upcoming reality show) will focus on his search for a woman to marry.



One of the first articles that covered this situation was on the Ukrainian news website “Strana.ua” with the headline “Legs + Boobs + Ass”. How “candidate number 1” Igor Shevchenko will conquer voters, and from whom he will take away the votes”.  

The headline was taken from the comments of Shevchenko’s PR official Yaroslava Koba, who is responsible for this campaign. This is how she described the criteria for Shevchenko’s future wife:  

The criteria are clear: legs + boobs + ass + knowledge of etiquette + English + knowledge of the political situation in the country. It’s important that those vying for his hand and heart know Shevchenko’s platform throoughly. Those who do not know Shevchenko’s campaign slogans will not be allowed to participate! The reality show can be watched on YouTube.

Yaroslava Koba says that the show “The President is looking for a wife” is a key part of Shevchenko’s campaign strategy. Her personal motivation to participate in this project are as simple as the criteria for Shevchenko’s future wife.  

Because I love hype and want a red MINI Cooper which Shevchenko will give me if I help him get married before the elections. I was at the astrologist, and she said that Shevchenko is going to marry this year. So I have a chance. Not for the wedding -- for the car. I’m already collecting the contacts of all the young ladies who write to me on Instagram and Facebook. Soon I’ll announce an open casting call”, Koba commented to Strana.ua.

When speaking with other media outlets Koba says that this show was planned as a humorous project which will be broadcast on one of the Ukrainian TV channels or on YouTube. And again she recalls the requirements for the wife of the presidential candidate:

The first lady, and a politician’s wife in general, or the wife of a person with status is not just a woman [...] who has to cook borscht... Her duties will not be limited to cooking borscht and good sex.

Igor Shevchenko himself is not denying the statements put forth by his PR, stressing that she is simply a creative person.

Yes, I want to find my love, I want to create a family, I want children. I am very grateful to Yaroslava Koba for agreeing to help me with this. And although she is sometimes not very discerning in the words and methods she uses to achieve that goal, I do not blame her for it; she is a creative person”, he wrote on his Facebook page.

The show was supposed to start in January, but Koba said it was postponed, among other things, due to the large number of applications from aspiring “future wives”.

Source: Facebook page of Yaroslava Koba 


Generally, the Ukrainian media is focusing on the fact that the reality show is nothing more than a PR campaign to create enough hype to make Shevchenko stand out among the many other presidential candidates.

“Can it be argued that Shevchenko announced his candidacy because of a dissatisfaction with his  personal life? No, but it can be argued that this pre-election trick has already been seen by some as a manifestation of sexism”, radiosvoboda.org wrote.

“Another “hero of the day” who made the electoral public laugh is the first registered presidential candidate, former Minister of Ecology Igor Shevchenko. In order to improve his image, so that the voters could go for him, this lonely ex-official initiated a provocative interactive project “Wife for the President”. With the help of his PR manager , he is looking for beautiful girls who are willing to become his life companion”, wz.lviv.ua wrote.

There are a few articles that pay more attention to what this show is really is -- a promotion of sexism and outdated gender roles, where the presidential candidate will treat women as commodity.

“Firstly, this is an example of the humiliation of women -- equating them to a certain type of goods, to a horse or a pedigree dog. According to Yaroslava Koba, the pretenders must meet the criteria of “legs + boobs + ass”... Secondly, it is the transformation of the important process of electing a President of the country, the commander-in-chief, the guarantor of our constitutional rights to the circus, into a copy of the show “Bachelor”, the journalist Natalka Sokolenko stated in her blog at povaha.org.ua.


We rate the requirements that were put forward by Igor Shevchenko’s assistant for the “future first lady”, as well as the whole “wife search” as a campaign strategy to be a case of the sexual objectification of women.


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

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