Self-Defense Is Sexy
Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine was not even a week old when there was a backlash against Western ladies who thought Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was sexy. “Enough With the Zelensky Thirst,” scolded the feminist website Jezebel. Added The Forward: “It’s weird.”
Weird, maybe; inexplicable, not at all.
Sure, the comedic-actor-turned-president is charismatic and easy on the eyes in his tight olive T-shirt, if a tad short for my taste. But the real reason the Ukrainian leader became an “unlikely sex symbol as photos defending Kyiv emerge[d],” per a Daily Mirror headline, is right there in the word defending. Defense is inherently sexy.
“We are here,” Zelenskyy said in the video that catapulted him to international celebrity. “We are in Kyiv. We are defending Ukraine.” This image was enhanced by a possibly apocryphal response to U.S. offers of evacuation: “I don’t need a ride; I need more ammunition.” Only an icy heart would fail to feel some warmth toward anyone brave enough to defend his home against heavily armed, openly murderous intruders.
The natural human sympathy for stoic self-defense is why the English-speaking world will never tire of Winston Churchill biographies, and why the countries overrun by Nazis and/or Soviets tend to venerate whatever “resistance” groups fought back. The fiercest and most respected acts of World War II resistance—Finns against Soviets, Yugoslavs against Germans, Poles and Ukrainians against both—continue to generate headlines today
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