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Answering your letters

Date: 2005-11-15

In our previous issue of newsletter we published the letter of the Russian girl named Anna. She was reflecting on the topic: “Why Feminism isn’t popular in Russia?”

A lot of letters have come in response, thank you, guys, for the interesting and very helpful discussion!

Niels Bang:

What do I think about Anna's letter? You ask. I'll tell you my opinion.

Anna's thoughts and opinions, is the thoughts and opinions of the dream woman for me - she shows self-confidence and self-esteem, but at the same time frustration her sex isn't accepted as equal with men's position and privileged in society. Such woman is worth giving great attention.

If you have a "Anna" in the age 40 to 50 y.o. I would be very happy to learn her to know - but unfortunately "Your Anna" is a representative of the young 20 to 30 y.o. generation.

My search age is 40 to 50 y.o. ladies, and it's very seldom to meet women with Anna's attitude in this age group.

Main part FSU women in age from 35 y.o. see the ideal of a family, where the husband is the bread winner, the provider, the head of family, the King - such women do not feel themselves equal with men, or they just don't want to share responsibility and obligations with the husband, but rather stand at the side line, waiting for him to take care of everything.

Such women only have little opportunity to find decent and worthy husband in western Europe, because the west European society throughout almost 50 year have taught the population to see the women as equal, in family relations, in enterprise relations and in political relations.

If such "Old fashion woman" relocate to western society, she might be very attractive for a man at the beginning - she cares so much for him as he never experienced any woman did before, and he feels very comfortable.

But when honeymoon has finished, and everyday life shows it's face, the two will face serious problems, because they have opposite expectations to everyday life.

Anna is a very well-informed east lady, and I'll bet she have a high education behind, which give her this knowledge.

Western society is build on the fact, that both husband and wife have full time job to provide the family with all the more or less needed necessities, families in west expect is a part of daily life. But to achieve it, 2 income is needed.

Unfortunately, I have experienced, that a majority of FSU women believe, life in west is very easy, families live in big houses, they have housemaid, the wife is at home, going to beauty salon or preparing herself to look pretty and attractive, to care for husband when he come home from work, they go holiday abroad 2 or 3 times a year, and they change their car every third year to a new model.

Slava, tell FSU women, that only 5% of population in west can afford such living - 95% works hard and save on everyday expenses, to be able to luxury vacation 1 or 2 times a year, and another used car every 3 year.

Best regards

Niels Bang

Dear Niels,

Your letter is a letter of a very observant and thoughtful man. It was interesting for me to read it. I absolutely agree with you in many things. Really, many Russian women tend to dream about “dolce vita”, they dream that their life will change like in a fairy tale. But I can say that Russian people have strong character. If you read Russian literature you will notice that writers and poets are never tired of admiring Russian women. In the hardest years women always took a load beyond their strength upon themselves. During the Second World War, when all men went to the war, women went to work at plants and produced tanks and weapons!! Certainly these are extreme examples. But I want to say that capitalism can’t scare our women. It is inherent in human beings to hope for a better life, moreover when they have lived a half of life already! Besides for women over 40 it is more difficult to adjust and to learn again. So it is more difficult for them to find a job and become equal financial partners. Honestly speaking, it is practically impossible at any age. One has to grow up and get education in your country to be able to be financially equal. And it is difficult for a woman who is an immigrant with poor English and unrecognized education, isn’t it? So a man must be prepared to the fact that he will provide for his Russian wife from the very beginning. I know some married couples that met at our agency where women work, but it is rather like a hobby and an opportunity to broaden the circle of communication. They don’t make much profit.

Niels, by the way, in today’s article we touch exactly the problems of age!

Bob Horn:

I hope this will be posted as a response to Anna's brilliant and insightful letter regarding the current status of Russian women.

Anna is most correct on all her points. Which only leads me to wonder just HOW(!!) far Russian women seeking good husbands are willing to go to find them?

Anna notes that male chauvinism is currently as discredited as racism, notwithstanding the fact that BOTH(!!) beliefs were once held with an intensity normally reserved for religion!

As an American of African descent, with a tan complexion, who has long had a fascination for the women of Eastern Europe, but is also more than aware of the xenophobia, especially to non-whites, that has historically been intrinsic to that region, not to mention the same, shown in no small degree, by those of Eastern or Central European descent already living in the U.S., making their neighbourhoods absolute redoubts of anti-black sentiment, one has to wonder just what possible chances of success someone who is not ethnically similar to the women involved has in your group?

Candour much appreciated.

My last wife, who was Czech, incidentally, had no problem speaking her mind to me at all.

Bob Horn,

Euclind, Oh, USA

Dear Bob,

Thanks for your letter.

I wrote to Barry just about the attitude of Russian people to people with a different color of skin and living on distant continents.

As to your question about how far a Russian woman is willing to go, it is easy to reply. We have a couple that are in the process of getting a fiancée visa to Australia now, innumerable amount of couples live in America already, Russian women willingly marry men from Europe, few went to the South Africa and hardly anyone to East and Far East (including China and Japan). Now I speak only about our agency and only about our 10-years experience.

All questions concerning skin color are more complicated. As I said in my reply to Barry’s question, in Russia African people began to appear just in 60-s and they are still exotic. Russian people are friendly to people of other races and nationalities. But not every lady can imagine her life in such exotic country and most importantly surrounded by the people of a race different from hers. But still it’s not right to say that Russian ladies are not interested in men with dark skin, though in our agency there hasn’t been any marriages of this kind for 10 years.

Bob, you said that “Candour much appreciated”, so I hope you will get me right. My opinion is that each man has a chance, regardless of the colour of his skin.

Jim:

Equal rights not American feminism. Structure is a good thing.

Dear Slava, read your feminism in Russia piece. Let's hope that a nation of chess players can get it right. Let's hold no illusions, Americans don't even know what it is. It's like calling China an economic powerhouse thanks to American capitalism. American capitalism and Chinese capitalism are completely different systems. So if and when China lands on mars first I for one am not going to pat myself on the back and wonder where would they be without American influence? On the damn surface of mars, just where the hell they are! Slava, do know the similarities between a B52 bomber that flew in the great patriotic war and the one I' ll see overhead tomorrow? THERE ARE NONE. They share the same name. My point is this, yes there will be feminism in Russia, but it may not even come close the American social engineering mess. The statistics and casualties are staggering. It's like the Iraqi war. All I'm ever going to hear is what the popular culture tells me and that's from only the American perspective. The same people who will pat themselves on the back thinking America had something to do with China's hypothetical aforementioned success in space. Are we equal? At some things we are dear Slava. At others we're kilometres apart. And that's why you'd like me. I'm not your girlfriend.

We are a very transparent, go along to get along, if it feels good and it's popular do it nation. We're an hard working adolescent nation and it shows all over. Have prudence and logic with feminism. Junk the American model, it's anti logic. Show us how it's done.

Jim.

Dear Jim,

Your words “Show us how it's done” sound very American-like, and even Hollywood-like! :)) (joke)

And if seriously, I agree with both Anna and you that Russia will have its own way. And many years must pass, even decades, before we will be able to draw conclusions. There is only one definite thing: today Russia has neither American nor Russian feminism.

Thanks for the interesting discussion. I am grateful to all who wrote letters to me! I am always waiting for your letters impatiently.

Let me remind you that now you have a chance to express your opinion or argue with us or other guys on the subjects of our articles. Below each article there is a special form that you can fill with your opinion. If you’d like to learn something more precisely and in detail, feel free to ask the author and you will surely get a reply.





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