In 2015, the Polish government backtracked on plans to introduce sex education into the nation’s schools after thousands of parents gathered in the nation’s capital to protest the proposed changes to the very conservative “Family Life Education” curriculum, which lacks any coverage of contraception or sexually transmitted diseases. Now, two years later, and in light of the government’s increasingly restrictive agenda with regards to female reproductive rights (including a ban on abortions after 12 weeks), Anja Rubik is stepping in.
The Polish supermodel – and longstanding muse to Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello – says that she was motivated by “the current situation in Poland in regards to the lack of sexual education and the government’s ongoing plans to restrict access to contraception.”
“We all speak about the importance of education,” says Rubik, “but we do not address sexual education.” With that in mind, she teamed up with Dziewuchy Dziewuchom, a Polish women’s rights organization, to create #SexEdPl, what she calls “an educational campaign consisting of 60 second short films that address lessons on sexual education.”
The videos, each of which “addresses one topic of sexual education based on a personal story, observation, experience, sometimes a sketch,” per Rubik, will live – where else? – on YouTube and Instagram, fitting homes for short videos aimed at impacting the nation’s youth.
Rubik says that she “approached a selected group of well recognized Polish public figures, both women and men, coming from different fields of art, music, film, and fashion, to use their voices to spread knowledge about [sexual education], and make a difference.” Among then: Robert Biedroń, an LGBT activist and politician; singer Monika Brodka; actors Mateusz Bansiuk, Sebastian Fabijański, and Maciej Stuhr; actress Magda Cielecka; director Małgorzata Szumowska; and blogger Julia K., among others.
Rubik says that “with the guidance of professionals and the support of Dziewuchy Dziewuchow,” she formed a list of “main lessons on sexual education. Each lesson was assigned to one person, who than connected their personal story to the lesson and told it on film.”
The budding movement towards increasing awareness, particularly when it comes to women’s rights, is in line with what Dorota Kawęcka, a Polish women’s rights activist, says is a “growing awareness,” particularly among women, who “while they might not call themselves feminists, are thinking about women’s rights.”
Eliza Rutynowska, who works for the Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law, echoed this notion, saying: “More and more girls and women are becoming aware of their rights. They are not moving abroad, but staying and fighting for those rights.”
As for Rubik, she simply, “wants the subject of sexual education to become less taboo in Poland, more popular and the information regarding it to be more accessible.”