When the Soviet bloc collapsed, men massively became depressed, planted themselves on their couches, and pouted about the injustice done to them. Women, on the other hand, got over it fast, picked up extra jobs, put food on the table, and ploughed on.
My family was exceptional in that my father started a business three seconds after it became allowed and my mother quit her job. Every friend I had in high school would ask, “wait, you said your Dad works? And your Mom doesn’t? How weird.”
I’m talking about normal people, not bandits, of course. Those had very traditional gender roles always.
The families that emigrated went through the same process. An unemployed, resentful Dad on the couch in an eternal tracksuit that was never used for working out and a Mom working three jobs. Many are still at it 30 years later, even when they are retired.
I have no explanation for this. This was a generation of men who never experienced any purges, genocide, wars, or any repression different from that of the women. So you can’t say that they were traumatized by that and gave up when the upheaval of capitalism came.
I thought it was a post-Soviet phenomenon but I’m seeing the same dynamic described in Lea Ypi’s memoir about life in post-1991 Albania. Her parents both suffered during socialism because of having a bad family history. But once capitalism came, Lea’s Dad became an unemployed pouter in a tracksuit moaning about his nostalgia for socialism and her Mom became a pro-capitalist politician.