Saturday, October 20, 2012

The cultural spectacle that is Dajto Sexy Sport

This is already kind of old news in Slovakia, but it's so amusing and silly that I couldn't not bring it up. TV network Dajto recently decided to spice up the world of sports news by airing a new nightly show called Dajto Sexy Sport, on which said sports news is delivered by young women while they gradually take off their clothes, piece by piece in a kind of strip tease, until the end when they're completely topless and wearing nothing but underwear. Talk about pegging your demographic.

The problem, however, is - surprise! surprise! - apparently the women are pretty lousy when it comes to actually delivering the news with any sort of authority or credibility. I obviously don't know Slovak well enough to tell the difference, but people who do assure me that these women come off like airheads. Professional news anchors or sports broadcasters they're obviously not. Instead, the execs at Dajto apparently picked several ladies from the local porn industry or their favorite strip clubs who were game enough to give it a try. Clearly, the content of the sports news is secondary. 

According to Wikipedia, Dajto, which launched just this past August, is the first channel in Slovakia to target "active, young" men. Its programming consists of various foreign and domestic shows and films that appeal to a predominantly young, male audience. No surprises there.

But this got me thinking, is Slovakia more tolerant of nudity than the US? While Slovakia is perhaps a bit more laid back with regard to the US in terms of its acceptance of nudity, I wouldn't want to give the impression that this place is some cool, progressive bastion of liberalness, because it's actually a pretty conservative country overall (and extremely catholic). And while nudity seems to be more prevalent in the media here, it doesn't usually seem to be presented in a particularly tasteful or enlightened way. 

For example, in the uber popular trashy tabloid Nový čas one can find a pointless array of photos of topless women in various contexts and situations, which may explain why the tabloid seems to be just as popular with men as with women. As far as these things go, it's fairly benign, albeit cringe-enducingly sleazy. Nový čas also happens to be the best selling daily in the country by a fairly wide margin which, sadly, says a lot about the average Slovak's thirst for real news.

Rather than promote a more progressive or enlightened take on nudity, I think publications like Nový čas are just trying to see what they can get away with - whatever sells more copies or (in the case of Dajto) attracts more viewers. So, it's exploitative and sleazy, rather than enlightened. (And from what I gather, gender equality here is in some ways stuck in the 1950s).

Of course in the US, such material would be branded pornography and banned from being sold in places where kids under 18 could purchase or peruse it. You'd also have religious wingnuts flipping out, decrying the moral decline of society or whatever. Yes, America is far too uptight about nudity and sex, particularly when you consider its longstanding love-affair with violence.  

However, here in Slovakia, minority parliamentary party OL'aNO recently announced its intention to pass a law that would ban mainstream publications like Nový čas from publishing nude photos. Given OL'aNO's minority in parliament, however, I'm not sure how much traction they'll get, but who knows. If such a law were to go through, would Slovaks be up in arms about it? Would OL'aNO still be getting their underwear in a knot if the photos were presented in an artistic non-sexist context, a la Man Ray?

Meanwhile, Slovak Culture Minister Marek Maďarič recently announced his incredibly delayed discovery of the garbage on prime time TV by singling out some of the popular reality shows as being responsible for the "barbarization" of the nation. What was funny about this is that even though these shows have been airing for years, he only just found out about them, demonstrating that he's really got his finger on the pulse of contemporary Slovak culture. However, he made no mention of Dajto Sexy Sport (that I'm aware of), but I wonder what he'll say several years down the road when he finally gets around to noticing it. 

So, I'm hesitant to make any claim that Slovakia is significantly more progressive over nudity. I get the impression that while some people here may not approve of it (particularly older adults), they tend to shrug their shoulders and get on with their lives, rather than make a stink about it. 

Ultimately, I think a lot of people in Slovakia have more pressing issues to deal with. The average national wage stands at around 
800 per month, while the cost of goods is not less expensive in proportion with that. Compared to countries like Germany or Sweden, making ends meet in Slovakia is quite a bit more challenging, and in the grand scheme of things, women baring their breasts on TV or in popular gutter tabloids probably doesn't seem like that huge of a concern to many. And while it's nice to know that Slovakia seems to be a bit less uptight about nudity, that doesn't mean it's always handled tastefully. 


  1. yes, its true. Nevertheless it should be noted that in Slovakia there is no real news anyway :) and i like this place for it, it is blissfully devoid of news or disruption. people get on with their lives and they are not very judgemental. As for these women they seem to exist in the whole wide world, most of them look tragic rather than sexy, but i think of that in any country i may see a tabloid, they are everywhere after all.

    1. It's true, the news media in Slovakia is a bit of a joke in some respects, but I do not see that as a good thing. On the contrary, Slovak citizens deserve much better. As for not being judgmental, well, I've been here long enough to know not to open that can of worms! And yes - these tragic women are everywhere, but Dajto Sexy Sport is not.