With many thanks to Konstantin for opening up the discussion on the overtly saccharine view of International Women's Day with his post March, 8 and Equality, (in its entirety at the bottom of the post.) I thought I had made it past the need to post on the most ridiculous holiday; but the itch would not pass. Whether American women (or Americans full stop) study enough science is beyond the point. March 8th is a game. It starts on February 23rd (or the day you get your first hormonal itches whichever comes sooner) and culminates in a 5-year-old-waiting-for-santa-to-arrive-fest on March 8th. It involves the same moral corruption and implicit bribery that Christmas does, but between adults. And it finishes in a haze of domestic violence fueled by grain and potato (I have the stats) and an unusual familiarity with the kitchen.
But beyond the obvious questionable notions of March 8th there are for foreigners some questions of etiquette that need to be answered. We've been here long enough to have escalated through chocolates and flowers to mobile phones and, according to BBC Radio4 Today Program, sex toys. We've learnt enough to know that the GAI also have to buy presents the week before so be on best behavior when driving. But how do you apportion your time between your wife and mistress?
The guess was that the evening of the 7th was for the mistress/girlfriend and the day of the 8th for the wife and family. Answers on a postcard......
I know that most of American and European women view the way Russians celebrate the 8th of March as machismo and anti-feminism. Why on earth human species with ovaries get gifts from human species without them? Before sneering at Russian women (and men) being so retrograde and so far behind from modern gender equality I would note that Russian women came to this “inequality” voluntarily and the hard way.
In the 1930’s the Soviet Union was far “ahead” in gender equality than any other country on earth. Being a housewife was almost a felony. Three months before birth of a child, three months after – and back to work. Salaries were strictly equal for men and women. Women were CEO’s, pilots, drivers, construction workers and heavy machinery operators. The 8th of March actually was a Soviet holiday to promote feminism and to glorify working women. Such capitalistic things as makeup, perfume or fashionable clothes – intended to keep women in imperialistic kitchen slavery – were frowned upon.
One of the things that surprised me greatly at American universities was that so few women (almost all of them foreigners) study engineering, accounting or medicine. I thought that American women, being so feministic, would love to study engineering. At school we were always told by our teachers that girls are better at mathematics and chemistry than boys.
Understanding that traditional gender roles were not capitalistic or imperialistic started in the USSR in the 1960’s and soon the 8th of March became, first, a kind of Mothers’ day and then as a holiday for every woman. Soviet women didn’t like the idea of being just human species with ovaries.
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