Traditional Russia: what are we celebrating, comrades?

Boys – to the right, girls – to the left. © Photo by David Frenkel

The onset of spring for many Russians is still associated with two gender holidays – Defender of the Fatherland Day and International Women’s Day.

At a time when gender lines are more and more blurred in the West, and self-determination is becoming the exclusive right of the individual, our compatriots still follow the herd mentality and massively buy socks, shaving foam, flowers and sweets. The marketing industry certainly benefits from this obsolete tradition and is holding on to it with both hands. And citizens are willing to fork out for public approval and extra days off.

But if you think about it – who needs these dates and why now, which have completely lost their historical meaning? February 23 was originally celebrated as the Day of the Red Army, after the collapse of the USSR, the holiday was renamed, and today the average person perceives it as an abstract “men’s day”. And 8 March – once the day of women’s solidarity in the struggle for their rights – has become a stronghold of sexism.

Russian society, on the one hand, is trying to keep up with Western mass culture, but on the other, it cannot get rid of old habits and complexes.

Perhaps the custom of organizing holiday programs for boys and girls in schools still makes some sense – it unites, diversifies leisure and even helps to reveal creative talents. But, judging by the parental reviews, the stereotypical gender binding begins to strain even in such a harmless framework. Fortunately, fewer and fewer parents perceive it as an anomaly that the girl wants to play football, and the boy is interested in trying his hand at embroidery – and more and more are proceeding from the child’s talent and inclinations, and not postulates in the spirit of they will say. “

However, the adult entourage of “male” and “female” holidays is tightly tied to gender stereotypes. What is wrong with them and why do they signal that our society is still very far from harmony?

We will not even remind you that giving socks or hygiene items is the highest degree of bad taste: too intimate for strangers and too soulless for loved ones.

It is much worse that February 23 has a bright militaristic color. Screening of old and new war films, military historical reconstructions, concerts of military bands, artillery salutes and dressing up in an army uniform – all this brings some confusion into the question of who the holiday is addressed to. But most importantly, he supports harmful attitudes that do not allow a man to give slack, be affectionate, share with loved ones what is painful, have unusual hobbies, take care of their health (and most men, contrary to jokes about dying from a temperature of 37 degrees, this neglected precisely out of fear of appearing not strong enough). In addition, the painful attachment to the military victories of past years causes skepticism among people of the new formation.

The same bias is imbued with Women’s Day, which, as is typical, is a national holiday in those countries of Asia and Africa, where the situation with the rights and freedoms of women is very mediocre (in the West, it is celebrated only in Germany). In fact, we are talking about states in which the “right of the strong” prevails, so it would be more accurate to talk about the infringement of civil liberties as such – and it was for them that the founders of the holiday fought.

The gift item on March 8 mainly comes down to flowers, candy, cosmetics and kitchen utensils. People see that the prices for bouquets and sweets are shamelessly high, but reluctantly buy tons of them – for wives, girlfriends, mothers, work colleagues. Well, without the duty compliments – also nowhere. Of course, there is nothing wrong with tokens and gifts – but they should not be done at the behest and smelled of mothballs with ruffles. The saddest thing is that men, who consider March 8 an unbreakable tradition, often do not even think to study the interests of their beloved women, let alone please them some other day.

It is no wonder that the Russian “tight-knit” society aggressively rejects global trends and cherishes its conservatism like the Holy Grail. Even if things are getting worse in education, healthcare and other social spheres, the traditional values ​​are unshakable.

And while Sodom and Gomorrah flourish in the West, in the minds of Russian “patriots”, everyone knows his place in our country. Men are supposed to drink beer while playing football, women – to cook borscht; girls should be dressed in pink, boys – in blue. Alas, many people in all seriousness consider this to be the key to healthy relationships, fearing that any deviation from the mythical “destiny” entails the most terrible troubles.

Lyudmila Semyonova

Source: Росбалт by

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