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Russians: they get it their own way

Oftentimes Russian people like to say that Russia is a place like no other and that nothing that works in the West and East will be working here.  Well, it's a no, and a yes. A no, because many things, in business or in life, are bench-marked from abroad and implemented. But surely, almost anything gets a unique twist.

Take, for instance, International Women's Day on the 8th of March. Widely acknowledged and celebrated, it is a national holiday, which (as of now) declares some sort of appreciation and love towards women in form of endless flowers, chocolates from men to women, or boys to girls - at work, at school, and at home. It is a social ritual. Generally, man are rather more polite towards women, but most of the times, the party ends up with them (men) being wasted or drunk, or both. I would not be surprised if the survey among the Russians, asking if this day is celebrated anywhere, or comes other than from Russia, would have a negative response.

Not surprisingly, the International Women's Day has its origins in the US. It was something of a feminist movement's milestone, at that time standing for the equality in political and social rights in men and women. At the beginning of its acknowledgment in 1913-1920 it had similar connotations in Russia and later in Soviet Russia. But then something happened. And now women in Russia want to be “women” on this day: to be feminine, to be beautiful, to be weak, to be with a man with whom they feel like behind the wall.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I do not acknowledge this day: it is nice to have a special fare on the airline because you are booking the ticket to fly on the 9th March and you are a woman, though that happened in India (and perhaps, a gender scientist could call that a positive sexism?). The flowers are great too. But c'mon, gentlemen, do you really need a special day to give all that flowers or chocolates, or to be polite with the ladies? And ladies, why you want to be feminine, weak, and beautiful on this occasion so much. And why do you put an equation between “feminine” and “weak” at first place? I recon asking these kind of questions myself when I was at school, and when the boys had to line up, and present the flowers that they had bought for us. I was wondering why they had to do that - not that we were women yet, and isn't that thing was called an international women's day? Year by year, this social construct is put on you and you stop asking the questions and take it as a given. Until you come into other people's experiences and perspectives, mostly abroad. And I am so glad it happens.

Regardless, let the sun shine and the flowers bloom: on the International Women's Day and after it!

source: shutterstock