This post may – at first – seem a bit disjointed, come along for a few minutes and let me see if I can make my point.
For the last month, an idea has been bouncing around in my head and I’ve been thinking of a way to write about it. Today, while channel surfing, I came across the Dr. Phil show and (again) I am amazed at the level of drama, especially female drama that we celebrate in this country.
If I had to write a thesis for this post it would be, “The biggest difference(s) between American and Russian society is the difference in a system of patriarchy and personal freedom .”
To be able to understand a Russian Woman, you really need to be able to understand Russian Culture. At the least, you should have some knowledge about it. I truly believe that most Americans are not only ignorant of Russian Culture, in general we are ignorant of most other cultures. This is (I believe) a result of little overseas travel; I’ve had the benefit of much international travel and I speak from my own experience(s).
Compared to Americans, Russians are much more private in their own lives. If a Russian has a Facebook account, don’t expect to see 3 or 4 posts a day: “This is what I had for lunch,” “I’m going to the gym,” etc. Alana has only a handful of FB friends and they rarely, if ever, post ANYTHING on her wall. It seems that my (250 or so) FB friends post everything from “Look at the beer I just drank” to “Look at these cute dolphins photo.” And my favorite is when people post their troubles and woes, “94 days of sobriety, slugging it out every day!” Why in the hell would you broadcast to everyone that you are a drunk? In Russia, you keep your business private, especially BAD news. It would be unthinkable for a Russian Woman to tell other Russian Woman about her husband’s shortcomings. It seems that American women have made a sport out of gossip about what goes on in their homes; Facebook is good proof of it.
I am not sure if Russians are more private because of their History ~ I suppose that if you don’t talk to strangers, there is less of a chance that you don’t give info to a KGB agent by mistake and end up in the Gulag. For whatever reason, Russians don’t talk about their private lives openly and they sure don’t post about them on Facebook.
The other huge difference that I see – and this is probably a bigger difference – is that Russia is a Patriarchal society. While America used to be more patriarchal, since the Revolution, we have adopted the philosophy that individual freedom extends to every facet of our lives. Over time, and through social evolutions (the feminist revolution comes first to mind), we have come to the point in our society where it is almost verbotten to exercise any form of supervision or leadership over any other person. In the corporate world, a boss can’t correct a worker. The boss has to have a “discussion” or a “counseling” and it is often done in committee fashion (in the form of some type of HR intervention).
Consider the last time you were in the grocery store and some little 5 year old monster (child) was acting as if they ran the place. Have you ever seen a spoiled child act as they wish and instead of straightening them out, the parent pleads with them to shape up? American society places such a high value on independence that parents (and teachers and other leaders) feel almost ashamed or embarrassed to take a leadership role and correct bad behavior.
Yesterday I was watching some home video show and a little girl hits another girl during a ballet recital. Her parents comment, “Oh, she’s so stubborn.” They justify this child’s bad behavior by calling her stubborn. When this young lady is 15, defiant, on drugs and/or pregnant they will probably say, “Oh, she’s always been so stubborn.” In reality, they never acted like parents and corrected their child. And our society supports them and looks down at parents who correct their children.
This inability to lead and correct bad behavior certainly extends Western Male-female relationships.
And so, I watched the Dr. Phil show, in absolute horror as this fat nagging bitch mercilessly rides her husband. She taunts him, belittles him and in general makes his life hell. After only 3 minutes I thought to myself, what this man needs to do is tell her to just shut up. He needs to act like a man and take control of his house. Instead, he lowers himself to her taunts and soon the two sounds like a pair of 11 year old girls arguing.
When Dr. Phil finally chimes in, does he chastise the woman for aggravating her husband, for disrespecting him or for acting in such an undignified manner? No. Dr. Phil tells the man that he has a problem controlling his emotions and recommends that he seek “professional help.” Wow. Really, if this woman just treated her husband with reverence and respect, 95% of their problems would be solved. But who’s fault is that really? As Alana always says, “Don’t be mad at someone standing on your neck if you put your neck out for them to stand on.” Should we be mad at the 5 year old screaming in the grocery store or at the parent?
You can watch the video here:
You hear her complaining, “He’s competing with my kids.” If she treated her husband with respect and demanded that her children did the same, he wouldn’t have to compete. But, this is the biggest failure of feminism: it teaches that women have to compete with men. This woman should be teaching her children their proper place in the family, to honor and respect their step-father, not to compete with him.
I looked at a list of the Dr. Phil programs (top photo) this week and each one is some sort of woman drama and almost everyone can be attributed to feminism and the breakdown of our traditional society.
I watched with (literal) disgust as this man sheepishly tried to defend his position. “My wife doesn’t respect me. If she would listen to me, we wouldn’t fight.” Dr. Phil arrogantly and rudely chastised the man saying, “Oh, she should listen to you huh? You’re not even smart enough to solve your own problems.”
If this man had acted like a Man, he wouldn’t be in this boat to begin with.
Back to the differences between Russian and American societes; specifically, our (Westerners) desire to “share” everything we do with everyone else. Our society promotes it and ANYTIME there is any disagreement in the family, we are encouraged to seek “professional help.”
What is “professional help?” It is (almost always PAID) advice from a Psycologist or Psychiatrist. These people have NO vested interest in solving your problems. If they solve your problems, you won’t come back. They need to “help you along,” sometimes for years at end, to keep their paycheck going. Our fascination with head-shrinkers is a complete mystery to Alana. She asks with incredulity, “Why would anyone tell their problems to a stranger?”
I asked her, if a married couple in Russia had a problem, how would they handle it? She said, “Well, they wouldn’t post it on Facebook!” Then she explained to me that they would try to work it out between them. If they were at an impasse, they would go to a senior & trusted family member (usually the Patriarch of the family: Grandpa, Dad or an old Uncle). If a solution couldn’t be found, they would go to their Church Priest – but NEVER to a stranger (her emphasis, not mine).
And so, when we have husband/wife feuds, we don’t talk to a Father figure or a Priest. We talk to a feminist-trained “expert” who will tell us that husband/wife equality is normal. And of course, you’ll be expected to pay the bill for the shrink’s bill.
In the West, we celebrate individuality and personal freedom. In Russia, the thought of everyone “doing what they want’ is akin to anarchy. Wives are expected to follow their husbands, citizens obey the government and people respect and honor institutions; in America, we march in protest, curse our officials and ignore our parents. Alana and I often debate the merits of Russian and American societies. Each has its merits but in the West we have lost some of the sense of subservience that still exists in the East. When I look at what has become of Western Society, I have to agree with some of Alana’s points that personal freedom above all else sounds good but doesn’t always work in theory. Stupid people do stupid things and people who are genetically destined to be followers are told that they should lead. In the end, you have organization and leadership by committee. This doesn’t work in business, it doesn’t work in the military and it won’t work in a family.
Watch the TV show “The Dog Whisperer.” He never asks the dogs if they want to follow: he leads and they naturally follow.
When you select your life-mate, you really have to think in the long term. How will she act towards me in 2 years, 5 years, 20 years? Much of how she will act is how she was raised. And this presents a huge problem for you if you want to marry a Western woman. If she wants to post your problems on Facebook and run to a feminist trained psychiatrist, you don’t have much hope of long-term success. How an Eastern European Woman is brought up – based only on the “norms” of Russian Society – will have huge consequences on how your marriage turns out over time.
It is always a surprise to me that Western Men marry Western women and expect them to act in a “traditional” way. If you’re going to make apple pie, you shouldn’t cook with cherries. If you want a traditional wife, you should select a woman who was raised in a traditional (patriarchal) society.
As I watched the Dr. Phil show, I tried to imagine how this show would sound if Dr. Phil was Russian and the show was aired in Russia?
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