Polish women’s suffrage coincided with Poland’s regaining of independence. Celebration of independence eclipsed the fact that Poland, as one of the first countries in the world, has acknowledged the political equality of its citizens regardless of their sex. These two undoubtedly important historical events do not have to compete with each other. The singing of patriotic songs is one of the most unifying and popular practices of remembering. We learn national songs as children, humming them often thoughtlessly. Rarely do we think about the meaning of the often-repeated lyrics: the lyrics that are full of gender stereotypes, fascination with war and violence, and that do not leave space for mourning, for emotions or for the ethos of community-building work.
We have decided to write (rewrite) the patriotic songs anew, so that we can enjoy the independence and tradition without turning a blind eye to misogyny, militarism, class discrimination and racism. The independence narration usually ignores the role of women, at the same time creating the mythologised image of a male-warrior fighting for his country. The dynamics of many of these songs is based on stereotypical gender roles: there are male-soldiers surrounded by females: the real ones (wives, girlfriends, mothers) and abstract fantasies of Polonia (the female personification of Poland) and war.
We have created a song book of “refreshed” patriotic songs, which, while preserving the well-known melodies, have become more inclusive. The New Patriotic Song Book comprises the original and the new song lyrics with our deconstructive comment.
We develop the project by presenting it at exhibitions and conferences as well as conducting karaoke events and workshops on critical reading of the national tradition. We provide the New Patriotic Song Book in the form of pdf file that can be downloaded and printed on a home printer.