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Russia

Russia Today covers women like it covers politics

Robert Bridge, courtesy RT

Sloppily. And with lots of zhlobstvo. Actually, Russia Today’s “Russian Women Guide” much less autocratically slanted than the usual RT fare. It’s just sexist. It fetishizes sexist behavior, like it’s meta-ogling the article itself – which uses, as a lens, pricy mail-order date with a woman named “Natasha.” At the end, a genuine, authentic Russian woman is allowed to meekly respond. Were it not so inane, it would probably be a featured text in a class called “GEND V3302 Ridgidity Tourism: Sexism and Orientalism in Expatriate Communities.”

Ah, but the deepest irony is that the guy who wrote it, Robert Bridge is an American expat who has totally adopted the look of a stereotypical Russian bureaucrat, yellow shirt, dead eyes, and all. But the best joke is a ridiculous statement delivered eagerly, let’s let some choice cuts of of Mr. Bridge’s dainty prose stand and fall without intertitles and see if it lightens your morning:

Welcome, cowboy, to the Motherland, the legendary land of milk and honey. So what should a wide-eyed westerner expect from a Russian female? Well, first you must be absolutely willing to leave your big bag of stereotypes at the border. They won’t help you here.

Russian women somehow achieved, without the angst and anger of the western women’s man-eating philosophy, a sense of freedom, independence and, I dare say, happiness that their bra-burning sisters sacrificed a long time ago on the great battlefield of the sexes.

Indeed, the practical value of a Russian woman ranked somewhere between a good tractor and a surplus wheat harvest: extremely useful in the right situations (snowstorm, famine, revolution), but certainly not the most likely candidate to grace the cover of a glossy fashion magazine, for example, or win Playboy playmate of the year.

Thus, painful questions concerning the rightful place of western women in the early industrial system (exposed for its cruelty by progressive writers of the time, like Upton Sinclair, who wrote The Jungle in 1914) were being debated in the West while, half way around the world, Russian women were peacefully picking raspberries and milking goats in the idyllic countryside.

‘Natasha’ lets you open the door for her; in fact, she coolly expects it, and doesn’t even say ‘Spasibo’ as she sweeps past with a violent toss of her blonde locks.

The svelte Slav at your side expects you to help her with her fur coat, position the chair just right under her awaiting derriere, order the food, and yes, even pay the exorbitant bill without even so much as feigning to open her Gucci pocketbook.

All of the unnecessary guesswork between the males and females has been cleared away, or never existed in the first place. For the most part, everybody understands their role.

As it is, Russian women, who deftly use every inch of their femininity – high heels and mini skirts included – to their general advantage, have no desire to ‘lower themselves’ in an effort to obtain equality with men.

Nevertheless, the system did provide some attractive perks that helped to advance the condition of women without the need for unsightly marches and protests.

They are at the controls of their womanhood and the miniskirt and high heels only adds to the sense of their feminine powers that no man has been able to fully explain. Oppressed? Don’t bet on it.

Are Russian women materialistic? Yes, of course they are. After all, they are women, and I can’t think of a single place in the world where the sight of a mall does not cause heart palpitations in the female species.

The film was called “The Dark Knight.” Since it was a story about the superhero Batman, it was not the intellectual movie of the year.

(For any Russian woman who would like to exact some verbal revenge on Mr. Smirnoff, he is still alive and may be hunted down at www.yakov.com).

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Oh, but nothing can wholly bad. The article deserves some credit for including a photo of New Holland Island in the top left corner of the article. Ain’t she a beauty?