Happy Woman’s Day (and a perception correction)March 8, 2012
Firstly, and especially for my Ukrainian and Russian female readers, but also for any other female readers, I wish you all a very special Woman’s Day.
I hope you are pampered to within an inch of your lives and placed firmly on the pedestals your deserve if only for the day.
As many men will be repeatedly and very poorly trying to inform the women in their lives today……
…….and we are probably quite right (for once).
Now, having wished all my female readers a genuinely sincere Woman’s Day greeting, it is time I feel, to set a few perceptions straight.
Woman’s Day is not Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day or a combination of both with a smattering of birthday thrown in. It has particular relevance in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova and more.
It is the recognition of the body feminine be it your mother, wife, sister, daughter, female boss, female colleagues, female subordinates, female friends, nieces, aunts and any other female who is influential in a mans life. It is particularly relevant in this part of the world and its recent history.
Over the years I have been writing this blog there have been far too numerous to mention (literally hundreds if not thousands of unpublished) comments from western men asking where they can find a “traditional Russian or Ukrainian wife.”
Having replied out of sheer curiosity what “traditional wife” means, it would appear to have a definition which covers a large and diverse spectrum. To list a few; good cook, good mother, stay at home, not look at another man, not have male friends, pretty, high heels or jeans looks sexy enough to stop traffic, and above all, recognise the man of the house is the boss etc. – You get the idea.
After years of reading such fantasies, and that is certainly what they are when it comes to Russian and Ukrainian women, I think Woman’s Day is a suitable day to set those perceptions straight.
Firstly, the book Domostroy was written in the 16th century when describing the life and requirements of a Slavic wife and women in Slavic society. That book and those rules became null and void in Russia and Ukraine by the time the Bolsheviks restructured and re-engineered society, if not quite some time before .
Any remnant, real or imagined, that may have lingered disappeared when 25 million USSR Slavs died in WWII, the majority being male.
Just who do you traditional wife hunters think rebuilt the USSR when a high percentage of the male population was dead? Who laid miles and miles of rail track by hand, who worked the fields, who drove trucks, who worked in the factories, who, when all is said and done, did almost everything and every job, when so much of the male population was dead for the next generation or two?
Next, most Russian and Ukrainian women are very well educated indeed. They are probably at least as well educated if not better educated than you are.
The vast majority of Russian and Ukrainian school teachers, doctors and similar professions are female. They work, they work hard and they work shifts. They do not sit at home and pop out children at your demand and insulate themselves from friends be they male or female whether you like it or not.
Whilst there may not be genuine equality when it comes to pay and other areas in life, Russian and Ukrainian woman have enjoyed emancipation for a very long time. Now they are emancipated and well educated.
They are also free to travel and have access to unregulated television and the Internet. They are fully aware of just how green (or not) the grass is on the other side of the fence.
You will not impress them but waving wads of cash about or owning your own company, being a CEO or having your own small aircraft. They will happily spend your money and let you take them shopping but that, unless they actually like you, is all you will get.
A traditional Russian or Ukrainian woman comes from a family where babushka rules the roost. It is a matriarchy and not, contrary to western belief, a patriarchy when it comes to domestic life. When I say domestic life that also includes when she (or you, or both) are going out, where, why and to do what, or see whom.
If your perception of a “traditional Russian/Ukrainian wife” is to stay at home, look drop dead gorgeous but only for you, spit out children on demand, wash, cook, clean, bake bread, be happy to sit at home all day, go to church on Sunday, have you choose her friends for her and say who she can and cannot be friends with, then it is a perception that is more than 500 years out of date, if that reality ever truly existed at all.
Trust me when I say there aren’t that many 500 year old women left knocking about in Russia and Ukraine that will meet those “traditional values”.
In over a decade of living permanently in Moscow and latterly Odessa I have never met a Russian or Ukrainian woman that fits the “traditional wife” mythology of the western male.
Woman’s Day in the former USSR and Warsaw Pact nations is particularly revered for a reason and that reason is that they (and not men) literally built the nations that exist today. That did not happen by them staying home and darning socks longingly looking out of the window for a time-warped zealot returning home.
I hope this entry manages to register with some male readers who incessantly ask for help finding some western myth propagated by marriage agencies with the sole purpose of taking your money in search of a “traditional woman” that doesn’t exist.
Now if you want a beautiful, intelligent, practical, hard working, opinionated, determined, emancipated but feminine to her toenails wife, should you be lucky enough to find one interested in you from Russia or Ukraine, then you will be a happy man and you will be loved as you have never been loved before – as long as you don’t try to change her and have her become something she traditionally is not!