Monday, July 18, 2011

What Makes Putin so Sexy?

Politics in Russia are a seriously sexy affair. From topless pictures of Vladimir Putin fly-fishing waist-high in a river looking ever the sexy outdoorsman, to journalism students posing in lingerie for a calendar for Putin's 58th birthday, to a racy ad campaign urging women to strip their clothes off in support of a presidential bid, it's safe to say that Putin just may be the sexiest Russian politician of all time. As a matter of fact, he may be the sexiest politician of all time all by himself.

This is something of an achievement, unless you've recently walked down a hall of oil paintings and stone busts where the greyheads of the world run things. Sexy and politics tend to not go together very well, although a trend of increasingly younger world leaders seems to disproving that theory. And history has shown that there are exceptions to every rule. The USA had their JFK, Canada had their Trudeaumania, and it seems that Russia's got us beat hands down with Putin or Putinmania. Take that, Cold War naysayers!

Modern Russia is definitely making up for lost time by getting their sexy back. But it appears that Russian feminists are outraged by this type of behavior. Sure, a more open Russia now allows for the kind of freedom of expression that allows half-naked women to posture themselves for the sake of advertising dollars. God Bless Western values. And sure, Putin may have that rugged manliness about him that makes him look like Daniel Craig when taken from a very specific angle. But is that any good reason to trivialize politics down to a level of Hot or Not?

This may be an indication of how media and politics simply don't mix well. Instead of getting a handle on Putin's foreign policy or economic record, the media seems happy to feed us with the image of Putin flyfishing sans shirt. And to be perfectly honest, most of us are more interested in seeing that picture than reading a bunch of dry policy papers. But a presidential debate shouldn't end with a swimsuit competition.

So a lot of Russian women want to get naked for Putin. That's great. A real ego booster to the world to show that he's still got it. But what's his position on Afghanistan? What does he think is Russia's role in protecting the environment? How will the European Union affect decisions for the Russian people as they move ahead with their country's agenda? What does he think of China?

Maybe it's time to strip down to their issues and bare their strategies for dealing with them.

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