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Tight bikini of Ukrainian news. Research on sexism in online media

20.09.2021, 19:20

It seems that the Ukrainian media has a challenge: to invent the most stubborn headline with elements of sexism, hyperbole and an absolute nonsense.

Politeka and TSN are usually winning this race every year. Other media are used to slightly change their positions in the anti-rating.

25 Ukrainian online media, the most popular according to various ratings, and those that are included in the regular monitoring of IMI as members of the Media Movement, were selected for IMI monitoring. The aim was to find out how many sexist and discriminatory messages, as well as disgusting stereotypes, are promoted by the popular media about women and men.

Spoiler: 28% of the media included in the monitoring had sexist and degrading discriminatory messages.

By percentage of discriminatory stereotypes and reports about women, this year's anti-rating was led by: " Politeka" - 37.7%, TSN - 26.3%, "Channel 24" - 12.1% (of the total number of materials included in the monitoring) . Last year , Politeka and TSN also were found out to be at the top position in the sexism rankings, but with slightly lower rates (Politeka - 31.7%, TSN - 13.4%). Most often, the media published humiliating reports about women. For men, discriminatory stereotypes about them are almost 80 times less common than for women. In the Ukrainian media, only 1.2% of articles had sexist stereotypes about men. 

What is sexism and what is wrong with it?

Sexism, this is the messages, news, phrases and tokens which devalue and discriminate people according to gender.

Sexist news that catches the eye of the audience has nothing to do with reality. This is only a subjective opinion of the author (legally it is the responsibility of the media), which has nothing to do with the heroines mentioned in the text, or with the real atmosphere. If you look at the texts published by the media, it is clear that the text was written on the principle of "seen on Instagram - let's add something by ourselves." Famous women post one’s photos on their personal social media accounts. Women can wear dresses, chador or even be nude. Because it's their body, their choice of which photos to publish. But the media is already sculpting sexism to these photos and publishing news concotted out of thin air. At the same time, women do not expect sexist media authors to erotically describe the details of their bodies and use some derogatory phrases.

In addition, media outlets that publish discriminatory news violate journalistic standards, journalistic ethics, and humiliate women. 

How do the media have fun?

It seems that sexists have gamblers and connoisseurs of Russian rogue songs. The question arises: "What is the point of gambling and rogue songs?" There is an assumption that in some media there is a random wheel and before inventing humiliating nonsense, the editorial office spins a wheel to drop a key word: bikini, mini, minibikini, bosom, buttocks , saddle, tight, wet, seductive, topless, pussy, deep, swimsuit, nipples, elastic, panties, playful.

And how else can you justify writing the following headlines:

Grigory Chapkis's granddaughter wearing transparent mini dazzled with luxurious curves near the pool: Wonderful and seductive / Politeka

Nastya Kamenskykh got an unusual diagnosis after new photos in a bikini: There is nothing to argue about here / Politeka

Olya Polyakova sparkled with a shape in a spicy bikini - photo / Obozrevatel

48-year-old Heidi Klum fully bared breasts posing for husband on a yacht (photo) / Segodnya

Wearing a dress with a spectacular low neck : stylish Nicole Scherzinger went to a restaurant / TSN

As for the Russian rogues songs, everything is simple. Employees in the editorial office were probably obliged to listen to rogues songs to tune in to a though guy tone, in particular Allegrova's song "Let yourself go, crazy empress", and then the already familiar phrase fit into the title: 

Vladimir Ostapchuk's wife pulled up her dress and was impressed by her look on the walk: let yourself go, crazy empress

Otherwise, it’s just impossible to justify such nonsense.

Mini-bikini for what edition and how do they devalue women in the media landscape?

One third of the media (28%) included in the monitoring had sexist and degrading discriminatory messages. During the monitoring period, the largest number of discriminatory messages was published by employees of the site Politieka (37.7%), in second place, this was TSN (26.3%), in third place, this was "Channel 24" (12.1%), in fourth place, this was Korrespondent (10.1%). There were fewer sexist texts on Segodnya (5.3%), Obozrevatel (4.9%), and NV (3.6%).

98.8% of sexist strories have discriminatory narratives about women. Only 1.2% of the stories of this kind are about men. Most often, the media promote some stereotypical messages. Here are some examples:

"Boys (men) don’t cry" with elements of ageism: Ukrainian got upset over the bronze final at the Olympics. And this is 38 years old! / Segodnya

Classic ageism with details of appearance: Since Glushko did not use any filters or Photoshop, fans' special attention was drawn to the artist's flabby skin and pigment spots on it ."  Natasha Korolyova's husband Tarzan basked in the sun, surprised by his old look: It's time to quit the scene… / Politeka

Sexualization of body and appearance:  After his infidelity scandal, artist Serhiy Babkin impressed with a nude photo: Apollo / Politeka

Regarding the stereotypes, discrimination and sexism, the front-runner of this anti-rating is Politeka with 37.7%. It seems that the content plan of this media consists only of jeansa and sexist news items. As for sexism, the edition can be rewarded as an anti-leader, as all possible variants of derogatory stereotypes and messages are used in this news.

-You are a woman, and so a wife, and finally a person.

" Ukrainian singer Kamalia, who is married to millionaire Mohammad Zahur, showed her favorite " ( Politeka ).

-You are a woman, so you have to be a fabulous beauty non-stop.

"Got fat Jay Lo and Jolie without makeup stunned with their flimsy look" ( Politeka).

-You are a woman, so we will divide everyone by stereotypes of hair color. And then we will remember who is who.

"Blonde Irina Soponaru from the" Women's Quarter "in a swimsuit teased with curves in the pool: the cherry on the cake" (Politeka).

"The brunette from the "Women's Quarter"Adamchuk excited by her look in a dress with a large neckline: Martusya, so beautiful" (Politeka).

-You are a woman, so we will condemn you because of your age.

"The bold poses of 62-year-old Madonna in too short shorts caused a furor: Do you have to spread your legs everywhere?" (Politreka).

-You are a woman, so we have the right to condemn you for your clothes.  

"The star of" X-Factor "and the new" VIA Gra" exaggerated it with low neck on vacation in Turkey: seductive photos" ( Politeka ).

-You are a woman, so you should wear a swimsuit only at home.

"Nikityuk in a tiny bikini threw the cap over the mill at a beach party:" Mom at home " (Politeka).

-You are a woman, and so, you are an add-on to your husband: they can use you to measure themselves, they can say that a man "failed to control" you.

“ Tanned Nastya Kamenskykh naked in the pool surprised fans: Where her husband is looking? ” 

Ben Affleck on a luxury yacht touched Jennifer Lopez’s buttocks: six of one didn’t change for half a dozen of another ."

“ Ex-bachelor Max Mykhailyuk and Grisha Reshetnyk gauged with their wives in short dresses: Just beautiful they are! 

In second place, TSN was found out to be with 26.3% out of the total number of news items included in the monitoring. In addition to the typical sexualized descriptions of the body, TSN paid attention to its individual parts. For example, in TSN the buttocks are called the sit-upon. The editors of TSN even launched a tag #sit-upon gathering the news items, which sexistly describe women's buttocks.

Boasting about her curves, Elsa Gosk emphasized sit-upon with a vintage dress from Gucci  / TSN

Flashed sit-uipon in lace lingerie: Lottie Moss wore a very spicy outfit for the party / TSN

Isabel Goular captivated subscribers: the model showed how to practice body-building of her sit-upon / TSN

Prior to International Breastfeeding Week, TSN editors also wrote about breastfeeding. Although the topic was not about motherhood and breastfeeding, but about a sexualized description of a woman's body with an emphasis on breasts and nipples. 

Emphasized lush breasts with a bra: Elsa Gosk on the beach 

Vera Brezhneva exposed a lush bust in a knitted top 

Ani Lorak excited with her lush breasts in a golden minibikini 

They also talked about the fact that Homo sapiens has nipples !  What shameless (sarcasm):

Holidays in Greece: Santa Dimopoulos in a milk dress flashed nipples / TSN

Britney Spears posed topless and lit up her nipples / TSN

The Channel 24 had 12.1% of the total number of news items included in the monitoring. The sexism wage has got into the section of crime news. The editorial office decided to illustrate the material about the road


accident with a woman in a swimsuit. The question may arise: "What is this, she is a model?" Okay, let's answer: why then do other cases of road accidents are illustrated with photos from the place of road accidents, and namely this case we see the heroine in a bathing suit? To balance it, the photos of other participants in the accident should be taken from a fishing trip or a karaoke bar.

It seems that Channel 24 has a fetish for women in lingerie and swimsuits. When journalists take photos from the open Instagram accounts of famous women, be sure to submit these photos with a sexualized description. Which, in turn, can be regarded as outright sexism.

Svitolina's rival in the semifinals of the Olympics impresses with her shape: hot photos by Marketa Vondroushova

Such a promising title and such a modest photo in the text? It seems that someone is hyperbolizing and doing clickbait. In addition, the journalists of Channel 24 did not particularly reckon about the headlines, they simply changed the names of famous women, and then added some clichés: 

Olivia Calpo in a swimsuit excited network users: spicy photos

Barbara Palvin in a bathing suit excited the network with a spicy photo

Ana Chery excited a network of seductive photos in a swimsuit

Tanya Brick starred topless, which excited network : spicy photos of the model

Alina Baikova starred topless: a spicy photo of the model excited the network

In fourth place in the anti-rating, this is Korrespondent (10.1% of the total number of materials included in the monitoring). There are three pillars in this media on which the news stands in terms of content: crime, emergencies, and the sexualization of women. Women are not very respected in this media. In the material about what happened during the day, they placed a nude image of a Ukrainian athlete on the main photo, and there was a place for sexism in the text itself.


Such news items about "what happened during the day" are usually illustrated with "sexy photos" on the top. It may seem that the content is intended for the audience of the early 2000s, when the first Internet appeared and with it unlimited porn.


In addition to the sexualization of women's bodies in Korrespondent suffers from ageism. Senior ladies who are engaged in modeling are clearly not respected here. If the models are barely 60, they automatically go to the "elderly" category.

Spicy photos of the elderly model caused controversy online  / Korrespondent.

Men are treated much better. When 81-year-old Chuck Norris awards a woman a black belt in karate, she was named an 83-year-old woman, and he simply was Chuck Norris. The text does not say anything about the age of Norris and that he was an old grandfather, too. Double standards: because he is a man, and so “his age is his wisdom", and in women at once "her age is her old age". 

Chuck Norris awards 83-year-old woman with black karate belt / Korrespondent

The Korrespondent has some isolated cases of bodyshaming of motherhood and pregnancy . The idea is of the kind: you’ve given birth, so don’t be fat."

The stereotype is imposed in the media: if you have a few extra pounds, you should be ashamed and stay at home. Well, if it so happened that you have a slim body, show it.

"We will note that the model quickly came into shape after childbirth and without hesitation shows a perfect figure"  Korrespondent ).

In addition, the Korrespondent indiscreetly publishes materials about pregnant women, commenting on their appearance.

 "Naked" photo of a plump model posted on Instagram "(Korrespondent )

In the advertising material on laser hair removal services, women are forced to think that pregnancy is a period of feeling "wrong".

Laser hair removal during pregnancy: what you need to know? / Korrespondent

"One wish to feel oneself always beautiful, but being pregnant woman especially sharply feel any imperfection  of her look.."

Significantly less material with discriminatory and sexist messages were seen in Segodnya (5.3%), "Obozrevatel (4.9%) and Novoe Vremya (3.6%).

In the Segodnya news, a classic set of sexist greenhorn: they discuss a woman's body, reduce the size of a swimsuit and don't forget about "lush breasts":

Very hot: Ani Lorak in a tiny golden bikini on vacation in Turkey

Anastasia Volochkova impressed with a lush bust in a bikini in Greece (video)

Irena Karpa in a bikini seductively lay down on the beach and revealed the secret of her abs of steel (photo)

The Obozrevatel's editorial office often emphasizes in its headlines the nudity and sexualization of women's bodies. Also do not forget to add some notes of sexism:

62-year- old Madonna lit up in short shorts on vacation with her family - photo

Dasha Astafyeva boasted of a figure in a tight swimsuit

Curvy model Ashley Graham completely undressed in a new photo shoot

Obozrevatel employees are also practicing content copying from the yellow news site Daily Star. During the monitoring period, there were materials about women who earn on a streaming platform with paid content Only fans. In these materials the news about women is presented as repulsively and with condemnation as possible:

A woman with two vaginas earns $ 9,000 a month

Other material also contains words that discriminate and condemn women.

The woman quit her job at the church and became a millionaire stripper 

The text contains condemnatory assessments of motherhood and its work, as the text highlighted: "According to the stripper, to succeed, you need to take risks," "A woman considers herself the best mother In the text, the heroine is sometimes called by her name, instead the author emphasizes the word "stripper", as well as the fact that the heroine considers herself "the best mother."

NV has finally adopted an editorial code stating that the editorial board condemns gender stereotypes and discriminatory statements. However, this policy was adopted at the end of the month, ie after the monitoring period. So, whether the media adheres to these principles, this can only be said in subsequent monitoring, and we currently saw some discriminatory news about women. Let's understand in detail, for example, in the material " Nothing new". Nastya Kamensky was criticized again for explicit photos .

Well, "nothing like that" discriminatory in the title, but if you pay attention to what is written in the link itself, you understand that the devil in detail: / nastya-kamenskih-flashed-naked buttocks ("Nastya Kamenskikh flashed bare buttocks").

The same happens with other news: Kim Kardashian impressed with curves in a “naked” bikini: photo - / kim-kardashyan-vpechatlila-formami- v-golom-bikini (“Kim Kardashian impressed with shape in a naked bikini”).

In addition, NV spreads misogyny and hostility towards other women.

What about a manicure?" The wife of the former Dynamo footballer criticized Britney Spears

Such materials are the outright sexist and discriminatory messages against women. It remains to be seen, whether NV's editorial policy will help.

What to do if sexism, stereotypes and devaluation of women in the media are annoying?

The Commission on Journalism Ethics is a body of self-regulation of journalists and editorial offices, which allows to discuss and propose the ways to resolve the rows, based on the Code of Ethics of Ukrainian Journalists. 

Mediachek is an initiative organized by IMI and Detector Media. The complaint can be left in electronic form. The case will be considered in terms of violations of the law, as well as basic professional standards of journalism and journalistic ethics.

* Monitoring analysis was conducted in July 2020 in 25 national online media:,,,,,,,, Strana .ua,,,,,,, Espreso.TV,,,, ,,,,, During the monitoring day, 247 materials containing signs of sexism or discriminatory messages were analyzed. 

This study was made possible by the support of the American people through the USAID Media Program in Ukraine, implemented by the international organization Internews Network. The content is under the sole responsibility of the Institute for Mass Information and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the US Government or the Internews Network.

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