Scary Experience

I just had a really scary experience. I’m reading a lot about the Franco-era propaganda for my research right now. (A new article is in the works, and the subject will fascinate you when I share it.) My brain works best when there are several sources of information coming at it at the same time. This is why a Russian TV show is on while I’m reading.

So I’m reading about the way the fascist propaganda in Franco’s Spain defined women’s role in society: women are secondary to men, their role is to serve, women are incapable of producing any original thought, they are weak, they need a strong male guidance, women are incomplete human beings, women are inferior to men in terms of intellect and the basic human worth, a woman’s only role is to be an object of male pleasure, etc.

As I read, however, I get the uncanny feeling that the words in front of me are being repeated aloud. I raise my eyes and realize that the host of the Russian TV show is repeating the same things, word for word, and everybody in the audience is agreeing passionately.

The really weird part of this situation is that the female TV star who delivers this fascist anti-women garbage and the absolute majority of her all-female audience are women who have worked their entire lives, who have been the primary bread-winners for their families, who have fed and clothed their non-working or barely-ever-working husbands, who rule their families with an iron fist, and whom you wouldn’t dare to contradict in real life for fear of being chewed down alive and spit out. I saw this very TV host being interviewed with her husband, and the poor guy lives in holy terror of this woman. She obviously doesn’t practice what she preaches but she honestly thinks she does.

When a bunch of fundamentalist housewives gets together and chirps out this stuff, it at least makes some sort of a practical sense. They sell their agency for being fed and clothed, for having an identity they didn’t work to achieve, for being spared the unwelcome need to grow up. It is not the kind of bargain I can understand or approve of, but at least it makes some sort of sense.

What I don’t get about the women in my (Russian-speaking) culture, though, is the sheer impracticality of their willing self-debasement. It is mind-boggling that in the XXIst century women who have have grown up in a society where for the past 95 years all women worked (by all I mean 100%), have been strong, powerful, and active, women would spout the Franco-era garbage of their own free will and for absolutely no discernible reason whatsoever.

P.S. These Russian TV shows I watch have traumatized N.’s feminist soul to such an extent that he started having nightmares. I now have to turn them off whenever he comes home from work because the poor man suffers too badly when he hears all this anti-women crap. I will continue watching, however, because this is an ethnographic phenomenon that needs to be studied.

11 thoughts on “Scary Experience”

  1. So I was …not exactly trolling…on an evolutionary psychology YouTube video or three recently. It’s been brill.

    I don’t mean to troll, but they, all of them, force me into that mode with their bizarre assumptions about women.

    I tend to treat these kinds of situations like I do sparring. I just relax and wait for them to walk into one of my punches.

    So, the one guy comes to my blog to lead with the assertion that as a female I can’t possibly know anything about male status games. I do what I normally do when somebody makes a stupid assertion. I repeat it in my own words, so that if anybody sane is observing, they will understand that what is being said is clearly mad or nonsensical. So, I said, “Oh, so according to you, I’m out of the loop when it comes to male aggression and status seeking?” He then goes on to make further assertions and I say, “There’s no point in responding to that, because, in terms of your own theory, it’s just status-seeking for the sake of a temporary high.” He then goes on to refer to me as “Ms Armstrong” and I say, “that’s okay — you can refer to me with my title, Dr Armstrong.” He became quite offended then, about “people demanding to be addressed by their titles” (because of his emotional projection of insecurity — an emotional state he had already acknowledged).

    I guess he walked into that punch, because he hasn’t been back yet.

    Then, last night, some of the guys on a Men’s Right’s video comment section were asserting that men and women were essentially different, right down to their 10,000 year old genes. One of them said that I shouldn’t be so silly as to imagine that girls wanted to be princesses just because they watched Disney cartoons. There’s nothing cultural about gender roles. I said, “Fine. I’m sure that’s true. Just show me the books that demonstrate that girls wanted to be princesses 10,000 years ago, and I will believe you that there’s no cultural element to all this.”

    So the fellow scrambled and recommended me some general books on evolution, based on his assumption that I’d never encountered evolutionary theory before.

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    1. You just gave them what they deserve. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really love it when the congenitally stupid proudly roll out their childish ‘arguments” that they copy=pasted from some stupid website run by another infantile idiot who is just like them. Poor freaks. But they deserve whatever is coming to them because they have had plenty of time to become less stupid yet chose not to. In the meanwhile, we can use them to entertain ourselves.

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        1. I have a tradition of not leaving the house at all on boxing day because shopping hordes are not very attractive. I don’t believe in the concept of sales and find it very suspect.

          As for low-level entertainment, see how I entertain myself in this post. Russian TV shows, what can be more low-level? ๐Ÿ™‚

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          1. I’ve never seen Russian TV, but I did spend some time in Zimbabwe about ten years ago, for a holiday. I stayed in a hotel by myself and listened to the national radio. You would probably be familiar with the idea of the national media as an arm of propaganda. I wasn’t so used to it, but I heard the national news broadcaster announce with glee that workers on a particular farm in a particular rural district had “feasted on mangoes” to celebrate the festive season.

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            1. ” I wasnโ€™t so used to it, but I heard the national news broadcaster announce with glee that workers on a particular farm in a particular rural district had โ€œfeasted on mangoesโ€ to celebrate the festive season.”

              – Substitute mangoes with cabbage, and we are back in USSR! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Do not expect the show-biz celebrities to speak what they really think… They are saying what they are saying to please the public. And among the general public the sentiment “let’s escape responsibility and play the princess” is quite widespread. Not only in Russia, by the way. However, in the West feminist public opinion is strong enough to confront any celebrity should such celebrity say something anti-feminist. So it is bad for PR to say such things. In Russia, apparently, it is good for PR.

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    1. There is a crowd of them. A veritable crowd.

      P.S. I initially thought this comment was for the most recent post about an idiot who posted a link to my blog on a forum. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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