The blood-red lightning illuminating the banners of the protesters against the abortion ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal solidified the Polish women who took to the streets in large numbers. The lightning bolt, widely used in pop culture, became salt in the eye for “Wiadomości” TVP, which announced that the sign refers to … Nazi ideology.
What does this symbol actually mean?
Although lightning strikes last less than a fraction of a second, it is impossible not to notice them and not to respect the untamed, destructive force that can instantly destroy what is most important to us and deprive us of our lives.
Lightning bolts are one of the greatest phenomena of nature since the dawn of time. So far, mankind has not managed to fully understand the secret of their formation. They have always fascinated and aroused fear, marking the border between what is divine and holy and what is hellish and sinful, which appears as a punishment for our evil transgressions.
The ancient Greeks saw them as the main attribute of the ruler of the heavens – Zeus, for whom they were forged by giant, one-eyed Cyclopes, so that the Lord of Heaven would have something to throw from Olympus at disobedient subjects.
The lightning symbol has penetrated the general consciousness as a warning sign of impending danger (the aftermath of which are simple graphics, e.g. on information boards in places where there is a risk of electric shock).
It was to this meaning that the famous red lightning, which appeared on the banners of the National Women’s Strike, was to allude to. The author of this sign is a Warsaw graphic artist, illustrator and feminist – Ola Jasionowska.
In an interview for ” Newsweek “, the artist revealed that when creating the first posters for the Women’s Strike, she did not have “too much time to look for extensive meanings”. She was also not interested in referring to mythology or religion. However, she decided that the warning nature of the lightning bolt would be readable to all people in the world, regardless of the country or language they speak.
According to Jasionowska, the lightning appearing on the posters was supposed to say directly: “Be careful, we warn you. We do not agree to deprive women of their basic rights.”- I believe that I managed to achieve my goal.
I wanted to create something universal that women can identify with regardless of their place of residence, character or expression – emphasizes the author of the symbol, which quickly became perfectly noticeable not only on the streets, but also in social media, even on the official city profiles.
Protests against tightening abortion laws across Poland are gaining momentum. Polish women who throw lightning bolts at the government do not leave a thread to deprive them of basic human rights and the ability to decide about their own body. Will indignant women manage to change something? Only time will tell.