Negotiating Femininity in Post-Communist Poland: Katarzyna Kozyra’s Olimpia Cover Image
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Negotiating Femininity in Post-Communist Poland: Katarzyna Kozyra’s Olimpia
Negotiating Femininity in Post-Communist Poland: Katarzyna Kozyra’s Olimpia

Author(s): Iva Popovičová
Subject(s): Gender Studies, Polish Literature
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Summary/Abstract: In this paper, I will argue that Kozyra’s Olimpia presents multiple sites of cultural critique in post-communist Poland. By casting herself into positions of social and cultural undesirability - as a naked, diseased, old, and ugly double of Manet’s Olympia, Kozyra exposed the normative parameters and taboos associated with femininity and nudity in Polish culture. Utilising the gaze as a strategy of resistance, Kozyra enacts ‘death’ as a symbol of cultural exclusion - i.e. living in public invisibility or social oblivion. Drawing attention to socially undesirable subjects, Olimpia's acts have created a forum for rethinking cultural difference and equal opportunity in Poland with regard to the situation of the disabled, the old and the sick, as well as women and men of colour. Finally, this paper insists that Kozyra’s travesty of Manet’s Olympia which challenged prevailing attitudes towards sex, commerce and race in the nineteenth-century Paris salon - further challenges the rise of western consumerism in the geopolitics of East/Central Europe.

  • Page Range: 161-182
  • Page Count: 22
  • Publication Year: 2006
  • Language: English