“The principal forms of our physical and social environment are fixed in representations…and we ourselves are fashioned in relation to them.” - Serge Moscovici

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Comment about Sexism in Eastern Europe vs. America

I recently had a discussion with a close friend who grew up in Eastern Europe and has spent about equal time there and in America. He said something mildly sexist and I called him out and drew a connection between where he was raised and his actions. He then pointed out to me that he thinks Eastern Europeans are significantly less sexist than Americans. He attributes this to the fact that, during the Soviet Union, everyone was forced to have a job. Men and women worked equal hours for equal pay as men- it was the law. Thus, there aren't the same ideas there about men being breadwinners and women "staying in the kitchen". I found this to be very interesting. As an American, especially one that's spent considerable time in Eastern Europe, it's easy to think that women are highly objectified there because they put a much greater emphasis on looks and high heels and things like that, in general, than in the US. This was explained to me to be simply due to a mass increase in consumerism after the Soviet Union, but that the ideas of equality remain true- the men spend way more time on their looks there than in the US as well, so it's not just the females. In education and in the working world, men and women are considerably more equal there. There are also more progressive laws concerning paternity leave and things like that, which help as well to promote equality, I think.

1 comment:

  1. I am from Eastern Europe and the reason we care more about our looks is because we like to look elegant and wearing high heels and fancy outfits is just a part of culture. Upon arriving in US I was quite shocked to see how underdressed Americans are, it's not just women but everyone. Just as an example, flip flops are only for the beach or pool, they are not a fashion statement. As far as sexism goes, I agree, we all had same paid jobs. This however might have changed now.