In the Former Soviet Union, beauty is a MUST for women. The multitude of reasons have History, Survival and Dignity in their common denominator.
There’s an observation that best genes come up when different races match. (So do less viable genes, to be sifted away more quickly.) For ages, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus (to some degree) and Eastern regions of the Former Soviet Union have been witnessing different peoples’ migrations, invasions, forced relocations, as well as massive missions for trade, work and education.
What hasn’t worked with the New World? Well, it took unwomanly courage to abandon well-established dwellings for conquering and cultivating some wild lands across the ocean – a tough challenge to families and no option for “good” single ladies of the colonial times. Then, who would take the pains of such a daring relocation to accompany adventurers to the Wild America, if successful enough with local men? What worthy woman would be let to join exiled criminals to Ruthless Australia?
But what has left the whole West a body behind the Slavic world in the beauty contest, was the medieval Europe’s Holy Inquisition. As it labelled a woman “the vessel of filth and sin”, responsible for men’s lust (which couldn’t but torment them for its ultimate suppression by the priesthood exploiting guilt to exert the power of condemning and absolving), beauty was a crime in itself. Putting all beautiful women to death for diabolism and sorcery by groundless delations (“Why is she attracting men while I am not, eh?” “Why does she make me lust her while I shan’t? – “Why won’t she get drowned like a decent woman should?” “Just listen to her confessions under torture!” – “Burn the witch!”) was a genocide comparable only to the extinguishment of bright, strong and enterprising men in the USSR.
Well, “Russian men” ™ deserve a special post. And lingering on the “Russian-women-jumping-out-of-their-skins-to-win-and-hold-a-decent-man” stereotype, we’ll play into the hands of “frigid Feminazi”.) It’s puzzling how could they forget that sexuality is an essential part of human self, whatever sex, that is “produced to give” not “asked for”?
Sexiness as Such
In the Orthodox Christian countries of the Slavonic part of Eastern Europe, still cherishing their ancient pagan ancestors’ affinity with Mother Nature, sex was treated rather leniently. It pervaded folklore (filled with a life-asserting attitude, more good-humored in Ukraine to more brutal in Russia), and even a part of clergy were allowed to have families.
By the way, a Witch has been a popular character in our folklore and literature, usually depicted with much comical and positive strokes, as a wise and energetic woman, generally helpful however tricky. A Ukrainian witch is a mature youngish woman, popular with men, mischievous to especially randy ones and to “witch hunters” trying uselessly to corner her. A witch from Russian tales is an old beldam symbolizing Mother Nature; she threatens to eat the hero, puts him/her through trials, and eventually rewards with some essential artefacts and knowledge.
Things have changed in the Soviet Union. Like the Western Inquisition, the State took a grip on its subjects’ genitals in a style perfectly epitomized by George Orwell, in order to channel libidous energy into underpaid labor, and dissatisfaction into hatred for “the outer enemies” and spying for “the internal enemies”. Love was reduced to “class-correct” procreation and control, families to “cells of the society”, women to “comrades workers”, beauty to chastity, arts and design to propaganda. Cosmetics, fashion clothes and viable footwear, lingerie… what lingerie, just purely functional underwear and tights were deficit (the Country needed tanks!)
No wonder, on a TV live space bridge between the Soviet and US youth, a Russian girl coined a historical saying, “Sex? There is no sex in the USSR!” No wonder, women have been struggling to look beautiful by any means available (couture dresses and knitwear hand-made of nothing; horrid-looking mash of berries to apply instead of face creams; shampooing with rye bread or egg yolk recommended by movie stars), and, with the consumer market filled, they rushed avidly to compensate for years of harness on their femininity.
Whereas their Western sisters find humiliation in improving their appearance, “Russian” women take pride in looking different from men (translated: feminine, understood: sexy), and think a woman is oppressed when something does not let her go as beautiful as she can be. Even convicts of shabbiest female prisons (destitute of ANYTHING but food and shelter) try to tart up their clothings and to make up. What for? Just for the art of it, beauty for the beauty’s sake. To feel themselves, to feel complete, to feel civilized human beings.
It’s notable that L’Oréal cosmetics are best-selling to our womenfolk, with that slogan “Because You’re Worth It”.
Our newsmarket is occupied with women’s magazines, books and websites where beauty is the dominating topic (thanks a lot to fashion & beauty global corporations), and the motto can be voiced like, “Born to be a woman? Then enjoy yourself!”
(If it were purely for attracting men, we wouldn’t “die” to look this slim. It’s our girls’ complot and feat, instigated by the media images of perfection. While most loudly moaning “Russian” men are craving for “where are the good old Russian-style” plump bodies…)
More on Russian Beauty Secrets in “Stereotypes, Myths, Prejudice”
Life & Business
A beautiful Russian woman finds it hard to make her professional and entrepreneurial qualities seen through her youthful looks, to overcome the prejudice that “brain and beauty never go together”, and to defend herself against [real] harassment that at times may go outrageous. But, having spent an evening complaining to her friends on all those clients, bosses, colleagues and counterparts, she wakes up earlier to pick a “nicest outfit for the agenda” and paint another masterpiece of her daily “makeup of respect” to people she would meet, and to the surrounding world at large, which it’s her duty to improve with every little thing that does depend on her.
She knows that, in our Age of Video, Design and Advertising, beauty is what adds most value and lets sustain Competition (which is drastic at the “Russian” job market, with its notorious sexism). She is aware of what “American Researchers have estimated” as for how much more the beautiful people succeed in getting jobs and promotions, selling goods and services, building teams and their companies’ image. Sometimes she consciously flirts to get the deal, or even is charged with an unwritten corporate responsibility to do so. (Leave aside sexual espionage, our “Russian men” often say: “How can one resist the pleasure of helping a beautiful lady!”)
She knows that people tend to interpret looks as a manifestation of human qualities, and she’s learnt by heart what some Western actress said, “If by her 30 a woman is not a beauty, then she is an utter fool.”
And this is why our streets are filled with women who have sworn the oath of beauty. Are there plain girls? Of course, like elsewhere. Either they are well made up, poised with confidence and dressed to kill, or you just cannot notice them against the shine of the surrounding stars…
Still more of psychology and economics in
Beauty, the Russian Women’s Cult: A Moral Category and Value Added
Enjoy yourselves! )
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© Comrade Natalia
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