Why women are posting 'sit like a girl' photos to support Olena Zelenska after Vogue controversy

Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska poses for the digital cover of Vogue magazine. Credit: Vogue

Ukrainian women are posing for photographs seated with their legs apart in support of the wartorn country's First Lady, after she was targeted with misogynistic criticism.

Olena Zelenska came under fire for a photoshoot in Vogue magazine, with husband and Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The pair posed for noted photographer Annie Leibowitz, as Ukraine continues to fight Russia's invasion.

The photoshoot was met with mixed feedback. Some praised the pair for continuing to raise the profile of the conflict as Mr Zelenskyy pleads for global support for Ukraine.

Others criticised them for posing for the fashion magazine during wartime.

However Mrs Zelenska was singled out for criticism for a photograph depicting her sitting on a step with her legs apart and leaning with her elbows on her knees, as detractors branded it 'unfeminine.'

The backlash has since inspired a social media trend, as Ukrainian women imitated her pose on social media alongside the hashtag 'sitlikeagirl'.

According to the Kyiv Post, Ukrainian police officers, artists and journalists were among women around the world who posted photos of themselves striking the pose, in support of Mrs Zelenska after she was targeted by 'hate'.

Players from Ukrainian women's football club FC Kryvbas also shared pictures mirroring the First Lady's pose.

In a rare public outing since the war began, the First Lady spoke to the magazine of what drove Ukrainians to fight for the nation's survival, and of her hopes and dreams for its future as Vladimir Putin's bloody conflict rages on.

Mrs Zelenska, 44, an architecture graduate, who went on to work as a comedy sketch-writer, met her future husband, also 44, while they were at school.

The couple have two young children.

During the interview, Mrs Zelenska revealed her husband had not been able to see their children for security reasons since the conflict began.

Mrs Zelenska told Vogue the war had been "the most horrible months of my life, and the lives of every Ukrainian.” However, she added, optimistically: “We’re looking forward to victory. We have no doubt we will prevail. And this is what keeps us going.”

She shared images from the photoshoot on her official Instagram page, describing it as a great honour and a dream" for any successful or prominent figure.

"The only thing I wish for all of them is that it is not because of war in their countries," Mrs Zelenska wrote."And now I would like you to see every Ukrainian woman here, in my place. Who fights, volunteers, settles in a refugee camp, does her job under the sound of a siren, holds on under the occupation.

"She has the right and deserves to be on the covers of the whole world. Each of you, fellow Ukrainian women, is now the face and cover of our country."

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