feminism-in-russiaWhen I asked my husband what he thinks about feminism, he said, ”You mean men-hating?” He tried to tell me something else and understood what I wanted from him, but it was unnecessary. His short answer was enough and described perfectly how feminism is perceived in Russia. Most people don’t know what it is, others think it is something negative, and only a few are aware of its attainments.

Definition of feminism

In Russia, the meaning of the word feminism is distorted. In most cases, it is perceived as something negative implying men-hating or an extremely masculine behavior.

Russian women who pose themselves as feminine and beautiful creatures grimace when hear about it. It is hard to find a lady who would proudly and openly state that she is a feminist. Even if you find such a woman, she may still have a wrong understanding of this movement.

To check that, I decided to conduct a mini-research among my female friends. I questioned them about their attitude towards feministic ideas and this women’s movement.

Mini-research: What Russian girls think of feminism

Most Russian women have no idea what feminism is. They think it is somehow associated with men-hating, which is almost impossible in a men-centered society.

Mini-research: What Russian girls think of feminism

  • Yuliya, 27, said she doesn’t quite understand what feminism is. “To tell the truth I never thought about it.”
  • Irina, who is also 27 and married, has a negative attitude towards it. The lady doesn’t particularly know its history but she feels “sometimes this movement goes too far and state that men are nothing or even belittles men.” Thus, Irina is feeling sorry for men rather than females who have struggled for equal rights for centuries.

From one side, her opinion shows how warm-natured Russian women are. But from the other side, such position is quite common for a male-dominated society.

Then I asked Irina whether husbands should help wives with housework. Isn’t it unfair that working women still do far more household chores than their husbands? Irina’s view, “If women want to work and earn money, let them do it. But men on female duties?” That’s not even discussed in the country.

This is true. Unfortunately, Russian society never embraced feministic ideas that would encourage men to get involved in home life. During the Soviet times, women were required to work but they were also expected to be homemakers. Females had this double burden and most of them still “enjoy” such situation.

Finally, we reached an understanding. She agreed that men should help their wives. Now that she’s pregnant she has more reasons to appreciate it.

The following respondent, my sister, surprised me. She is an educated person and reads a lot. She told me that we have to be thankful to feminists for many achievements. Today we “enjoy the fruits of feminism such as the right to work or drive a car.”

Another girl, a mother of two wonderful kids, was puzzled by the question. She said that she had no idea what it means.

Feminists in Russia

The longstanding male dominated culture has little room for rapid improvements.

Feministic ideas have been always distorted in the local mass media. The feminists were described as “mannish” women with “unshaven underarms” who are ugly and hate men.

As many Russians believe, there are 3 reasons why a woman becomes a feminist, according to Gazeta.ru:

  1. The absence of a husband caused by her external ugliness, bad temper, or bad luck of a different kind of life.
  2. Laziness, which makes a woman search for an “excuse” why she doesn’t want to perform female duties like washing, cooking food, cleaning, and raising children.
  3. Sexual orientation. She’s a lesbian. Some people in Russia still confuse feminists with lesbians.

Consequently, a Russian man cannot legitimately have feministic views, if he’s not a complete idiot.

On the whole, the feministic movement is not popular in Russia. The issue is not discussed on TV or in press. Even women themselves do not raise such questions.

In fact, local views dismiss feministic values as a kind of extremism. The approval-stamped societal consensus holds, “Yes, I am all for equality, but feminism went too far.”

Feminism in Russia

Gender equality is definitely not a thing the public is concerned about in Russia. Modern Russian families tend to stick to traditional values, where a man is supposed to be the head of a family. Photo: Baptism ceremony in a Russian Orthodox Church.

Back to patriarchal ideal

Today’s society turns to conservative ideas, which are being heavily propagated by the media.

It is believed that a man should work and provide for the family. His wife is supposed to be busy with children and housework. When children grow up a bit (the age of 3+), the mother can start working. But her salary is usually lower. This patriarchal ideal that is being promoted as the “right” way of life.

There is also a serious problem of domestic abuse in Russian families. A huge number of women die every year because of family violence. However, the problem is not covered in public and people do not know that women who face such a situation are not properly protected. But no one associates the issue with the absence of feminism and its fight for women’s rights.

Instead, people are talking about the necessity to revive traditional values, ban abortions, have more kids, etc.

It is even believed by some that the problem of women’s rights is completely solved in Russia. This idea is strongly supported by Irina Alksnis, a political analyst. She believes that “Russia forgot about women’s emancipation more than the West will ever learn about it,” Nalin.ru reports. Alksnis states that problems that western countries currently struggle with what have been “solved by our grandmothers 70-90 years ago.”

“Russian society had long ago overgrown the western attitude towards women’s emancipation—which in our eyes looks [like] not a very smart teenage maximalism.”

That’s all you need to know about feminism in Russia.

 

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Bryan
Guest
Interesting article. Men, like myself in the west view feminism as the break down of society. Watching a TV show for example in the west. Men are portrayed as fools or for better words idiots. The roll of men in western society has changed over the past 40 years. Feminism is viewed more about making women equal to men, stating a women can do anything a man can do. This is in general terms of course. Pay is another topic, because there are many factors when viewing the numbers. Time off, hours worked in a given week or position of… Read more »
Eric
Guest

Brian,
It is true men are portrayed poorly in America media I do not watch those shows I don’t find them funny. Yes I agree on equal pay for equal work but it’s not what fenimism is about. Feminists here are about quantity not quality and push Affirmative Acton on employers to hire woman that are not qualified. I’m all giving some a chance but not because a government imposed gender or ethnicity quote needs to be met.
Eric

Fran
Guest

Feminism has nothing to do with “men hating”, “being lazy” or “being ugly”, for god’s sake. It is only believing than men and women have 99.99 % the same rights AND obligations (men, we cannot give birth to children -luckily, humans had extinguished long time ago in that case-, so it cannot be 100%).
This is feminism, any other definition is simply false.
And in my opinion, the lazy and cowards are the men -and women too-, who want to keep things the “traditional way”, so they don’t have to compete with half the population.

Eric
Guest

Fran,
Funny you should say fenimism is not about “man hating ” but yet you had no problem saying humanity would be extinguished if men could give birth.
You also have it wrong on “traditional ways” it is what has gotten society where it is now. Your opinion is rude and condescending just what I expect from a liberal that defends there point based on emotions not facts.
Eric

Henk
Guest

We are all humans and we all let our opinions be swayed by emotions. But generally it’s the more conservative part of the population that’s denying common sense and who’s views are more anti-scientific than that of the more liberal part.

And our ways have always changed, 100 years ago your ways would have probably been considered extremely liberal.

Eric
Guest
Feminism is reward with out responsibility. Let me take a line from the article “When children grow up a bit (the age of 3+), the mother can start working. But her salary is usually lower.”. First off the reward, as a mother your needs are provided for as in food, clothing, shelter, transportation and if you have a good provider entertainment for you maybe a movie or play. Now as you propose the provider not only has to supply the for mentioned but now has to come home to cook, clean and care for the child. Where is the responsibility… Read more »
Elena
Admin

Eric,
Thank you for your comment. The article was written by our Russian stuff author, Adilia S., who is married with 2 children, and lives with her Russian husband in Russia.

Eric
Guest

Elena,
This topic deserves more attention than what it has so far, let’s face it US men are abandoning women here because of feminism. There’s even a movement called MGTOW (Men Going There Own Way) that is gaining momentum here.

If you would like more information on this subject I suggest you look up Lauren Southern. She has a firm grasp on fenimism, what it is, what it is not and what it has become.
Eric

Carlos Palma
Guest
Hi Elena. I recently meet a really cute girl from Ukraine. Now she’s living in Atlanta but just few days ago she came back to Ukraine to visit her family. Today she uploaded a video to her Instagram Story where it seems she’s in a club with her friends having some fun (I believe she might know them really well because suddenly she turned around and kissed her friend in the mouth! (I’m Mexican so that’s definitely not seen as a right thing to do in my culture because only lesbian and gays do that. I’m really confused now because… Read more »
Elena
Admin

Carlos,
I am not sure what your question is about. There is difference between intimate and friendly kisses, it’s usually easy to see. Girls in Ukraine do give each other friendly kisses and hugs.

Steve Friend
Guest
This is a long post and at the end of it, someone reading it is going to write a one line post repudiating what I have written. That won’t matter because there are other people out there who are influenced by change leaders like me, so I’ll write this for you. You will also ask yourself the question why have I introduced political commentary into a blog designed to promote international love pursuit. The short answer is that all matters of any kind are intertwined, interdependent and you can thank the internet and www for that. I’m the Ukrainian born… Read more »
Maria
Guest
Well, I do support the idea of equal rights in general, but I think the problem is often exaggerated when it comes to the distribution of house chores. If I need help with my house chores I have my washing machine, dishwasher, and other useful appliances that have made the life of a modern woman much easier. I don’t want my husband to do cooking or cleaning. Neither do I want to carry heavy stuff, repair and maintain our car, or mend the roof of our cottage after the stormy weather. This is all up to my husband and there… Read more »
yaoionline
Guest

That’s just archetypes. A woman becomes a feminist because she’s got tired from differnt descriminations in the society and at work. Usually in Russia people think that a feminist woman is a freak, that she can’t find a boyfriend or husband, that she’s ugly or cruel, that she’s a lesbian, as you said already, but it’s not true in real life. My best female friend is a feminist. She doesn’t hate men, she isn’t lesbian, she just wants to have some rights like men have.

Anna
Guest

Only ill-educated people (unfortunately, it’s the major part of the country) can think that feminism is a bad thing. Of course, every medal has its reverse and feminism has its drawbacks. But I proudly can say that I’m a feminist. And, by the way, I’m not ugly and I like men (and they like me too).

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