New Article: on the Economic Crisis & Domestic Violence in the Former USSR

Read all about Love, Money & Violence. As dutifully reported by yours truly.

In other news – I kind of like clubbing in Amman, but why do *scenes* always happen when I come out? To my night in shining armour, who valiantly defended me against a bunch of douchebags by yelling “would you treat your sister like that?” and doing a lot of shoving – I salute you.

I’m not a big fan of public spectacles that involve myself, but the truth of the matter is, I’m not a goddamn zoo animal, and no one should feel entitled to poke me with sticks. Sometimes, people need to be reminded that just because someone has “foreigner” stamped on their forehead, doesn’t mean that she’s fair game. No woman is fair game for harassment, as a matter of fact. And if you’re working as a valet outside one of these clubs? Here’s a tip – don’t pretend like it’s not happening when it happens

Sometimes, Manly Man Eruptions are the only antidote to blatant disrespect. Manly Man Language is the only language that the perpetrators will listen to anyway.

Blargh. As with the article up above – sometimes, all of this gendered “know your place, little lady” stuff gets more than tiring – it gets out of control. And that’s when you kinda wish that you were packing a chainsaw.

Seriously – MEN, here’s a clue – harassment is not cool, it’s not funny, it doesn’t make you seem attractive, it doesn’t make you seem intelligent, or even powerful. It makes you look like a dumbass and a loser with a LOT to prove. If you see your friends doing it, don’t laugh along, and don’t pretend like it’s OK because you’re worried about “killing the vibe” or whatever. And always remember -what goes around, comes around.

33 thoughts on “New Article: on the Economic Crisis & Domestic Violence in the Former USSR

  1. Hanh-Hanh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Still doing the writing thing, when is Natalias War and Peace gonna come…..I guess once ukraine joins russia, Hanh Hanh!

    As for your entry, ask your boyfriend(soon to be fiance and hopefully husband(you know commitment is good)) why does he bring a tree to a forest? Maybe if he didn’t do it so often, he’d have less to stress about. Ahhhh but it is more of Natalias idea than his and we all know very well whos the captain of this enterprise. The real problem is wanting to fit to into the narrative, in this case popular cultural American Narrative but know that you don’t and the only way to is to redefine the narrative. Think about that over some Russian Chai!

    Bye-bye my miss american-russian-arab-christian-muslim-femenist-smart-mad princess. Take Care!

  2. Dearie, get back to me in about ten years. When you’re all grown up. Maybe then we can have philosophical discussions on commitment, War and Peace, cultural narratives, and writing – over chai. Take care.

    P.S. Minor correction: the man who stood up for me outside the club was not my boyfriend. My boyfriend, thankfully, was not present.

  3. Last time I was harrassed I looked at him and asked why he needed to compensate like that. He didn’t get it and tried to grab my tits. I left before my husband could see, and rip him a new arsehole. I decided he was a Neaderthal and simply didn’t know better. :o/

  4. If you had a penny every time you heard this lol: you are fighting windmills there. You really need to move for your own sanity closer to women-friendlier cultures.

  5. Marina, I like Jordan, even if I consider it temporary. Leaving would be a very difficult choice for me right now. I know you don’t mean anything by comments like that, but reading them is difficult as well. Every single country has its pros and cons – and having to negotiate them as a foreigner can be very tough, and also beneficial. I don’t know how my life is going to go now, general uncertainty + harassment can make one feel very cold and sad and weird. So while I appreciate the advice, it doesn’t really help right now, no.

  6. @marina lol like it’s so simple to completely change one’s life /sarcasm

    I think it’s easy to comment on the net and say that someone should change but it’s very difficult to do. When one lives the life of an expat choice can be a luxury.

    I remember standing on a popular street in Phnom Penh at night surrounded by people and screaming “fuck off” at the man who had been following me all night (I had already had it with polite) and was threatening to kill himself. Well I couldn’t just pack my bags and head back to Europe. It’s just not that simple

  7. I didn’t say it is simple :), but it is not that much harder than moving a house. I personally changed countries few times and know lots of people who did too. I did try middle east at one point too (I graduated from AUS), and didn’t like the harassment and didn’t feel close to culture too so haven’t thought of it as home ether. I know what Natalia feels, now I feel much more comfortable walking streets calmly again and wish her the same 🙂

  8. The thing is, she really wasn’t asking for advice, and she just finished saying very specifically she doesn’t want or need to hear that right now, so maybe it’d be best not to argue with her about it.

  9. sorry for the suckiness, N, hope things pick up soon.

    there are truthfully few if any places where I’ve felt safe going out clubbing where there’s gonna be a bunch of straight men. some are admittedly worse than others.

  10. Marina, once again, you Miss The Point.

    I wasn’t looking for advice on which country to live in when I wrote the above post. I don’t mind anyone being flippant in the comments section of this blog – since I am usually flippant myself – but having already explained to you how I feel, I’m surprised to see you pressing the subject.

    You appear to know very little of my personal situation – your comments on my “Kasha & Caviar” story made it seem that way. You might know how I feel about harassment – but you certainly don’t know how I feel overall. I’ve been a country-hopper myself in this life, and will probably remain that way for a good while, but I certainly don’t presume to tell others whether their decisions to move should come easily or otherwise.

  11. natalia – smart people have no business going clubbing. it’s a pretentious and dangerous scene everywhere in the world. you knew the risks before you went to the club, so it makes sense to examine your choice in the matter instead of blaming the society in which you are a guest. though the same thing could have happened anywhere it is especially likely to happen in a country that does not support the clubbing lifestyle.

  12. Once again, obvious troll is obvious. Funnily enough, Cranky, the people who harassed me? They were in full support of the clubbing “lifestyle” (if going out a few nights a month to listen to a DJ you might like amounts to a “lifestyle”). They just happened to think that harassment was part of the menu.

    Anyway, you’re an idiot. Go away.

  13. natalia – i was only pointing out that you feel like you are entitled for protection from this annoyance. not in this environment.

  14. This is so 2008.

    “Women shouldn’t leave the house!” ” Arab men are ‘excited and confused’ – like monkeys in a zoo!” “You say self-important bigoted assbag like it’s a bad thing!”

    Bored now.

  15. Cranky, in my opinion problem is not in lifestyle, but the fact that Natalia seems not to realise how much she asks for considering the circumstances. What free white woman (sorry if it sounds racist) would get a way with and no one would bat an eyelid because of double standarts, local woman would often be murdered for by her family (this is not a jock). Natalia will not find much support because probably even those boys who harassed her have less freedom than her, let along their sisters. If she would talk to local women more and observe she would feel very lucky and privileged. Expecting a culture to bend even farther and accept her standards while she is there is illogical. This of cause doesn’t mean that she should accept situation.

  16. @ Marina

    Seriously? That is your argument? That’s really fucking ignorant. Do you know anything about Jordan? About the women or men there? About the cultural mores?

    It is not “expecting a culture to bend over backwards” to require not to be harassed. Sexual harassment is not a cultural or religious issue is a controlling, asshole issue. Basic human respect is the norm. Harassment is aberrant. Remove your head from your ass!

    It’s pretty arrogant of you to talk about what Natalia “seems to feel” on her blog without talking to her directly.

    Nat, is your patience endless lol?

  17. @ Cranky Liberal

    Natalia is entitled to basic human respect just like everybody else. You do not get to judge the environment

    I think your bridge is missing you

  18. Marina, you continue to display your ignorance. I don’t know if it’s willful. I am honestly beginning to lose my (not-so-infinite) patience with you, either way.

    Jordan is a stratified society. The people here who go clubbing ≠ people who get murdered by their families. The boys who harassed me? Just your average “I can do no wrong if it’s a woman by herself” idiots (they didn’t realize I was with someone, poor darlings). One of them actually happened to be from the former USSR – so he felt entitled in accosting me.

    Sexual harassment happens to women from all backgrounds here. There’s a dialogue that’s happening around this issue – one that you’re obviously unfamiliar with.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “standards.” The standard of going out in public and expecting people to behave themselves? Most women around here expect as much. Can you understand that?

    Do I stand out here? Yes. It doesn’t mean that I accept bad treatment. I get angry. When men see me get angry, they bugger off. This has nothing to do with asking anyone to bend over backwards – it’s simple self-defense. The women I know, both local and expatriate, believe in lashing out – it’s the only way to deal harassment when it happens.

    Believe it or not, there’s plenty of support when it comes to addressing the problem of harassment in Jordan. Jordanians don’t all think alike. The man who defended me that night was a Jordanian – I thought that was obvious from the post I wrote.

    Then again, I notice you don’t read my posts closely before commenting.

    I do think I’m really privileged – I’m also grateful for what I have in Jordan, which is one of the reasons why I find your flippant comments on this entire thing to be quite off-putting.

  19. WOW…I love how people think that can tell Natalia where she should live, where she should spend her free time. and that she has a senses of entitlement for expecting to be able to live her life free of harassment. Seriously check yourself. One you are a visitor in her space and two your commentary is the height of ignorance.

  20. Mor :), I thought I already pointed out that I have plenty of intercultural experience. I did not say Natalia should put up with this. I just pointed out that she is fighting windmills, which is true. Although, of cause you are entitled to a different opinion and I don’t expect everyone to think the same.

  21. Marina, so your intercultural experience allows you to judge my situation and make flippant, and frankly hurtful comments after I have asked you to stop? Some experience it must have been, then.

    You are not Every Woman.

    You don’t get to discuss my life in this manner – or anyone’s life, for that matter. If you don’t understand why I’m bristling right now – I ask you to stop and think. As with my previous essay, you don’t seem to consider what it is I’m actually saying before hitting the “submit” button. It’s disrespectful.

  22. Marina, they’re not “extremely” hurtful – they’re just bloody rude, and guess what? Rudeness does in fact hurt.

    I’m not a delicate flower, but this “here’s where you should live,” “here’s how you should think and feel” thing is both tiresome and ignorant.

    Do you get why I’m hurt? I hope you do, but I am not entirely sure.

  23. Marina, what exactly is it that you think you are accomplishing here? Because, whatever it is, unless it’s aggravating and alienating the shit out of the person(s) you’re supposedly trying to “help,” it’s not working. Was the point. That people were trying to explain to you.

    The fact that you’re now taking the same line as CL The Misogynist Troll might be a notice in itself that insisting that -you’re right- despite other peoples’ expressed wishes and feelings is a Bad Idea. Just seriously, back off. Your Opinion Has Been Noted, I’m pretty sure by now, and will no doubt be filed in the appropriate place.

  24. slip. Um, yeah, I hope what Natalia hopes, but I mean, Jesus. can you not just apologize without the sarcasm/inference that Natalia is overly sensitive? She’s not. She’s right. You’ve been over the line.

  25. 🙂 Yep, I get it why you feel hart. Like a said before you are more used to guarding your personal boundaries, which is kind of weird then when you put your personal life in a blog. I thought you wanted to stop the conversation?

  26. No, you don’t get it, Marina. You don’t understand why telling someone where to live, and, most importantly, how to feel – while displaying a staggering amount of ignorance no less – is rude. As per our earlier conversation, this has nothing to do with “culture” or being “westernized” either.

    Quite frankly, I think you’ve employed a number of broad stereotypes and assumptions on my blog – which is why I’m pissed.

    I expect courtesy, even when discussing my personal life, and courtesy is what both you and Cranky refuse to give me. Think about it.

  27. Marina, unlike Cranky, you’re not a troll. But, once again, this “here’s where you should live, act, feel, think” is a very tired meme on this blog – which comes up (surprise!) especially often when my relationships/where I live is discussed. And believe me, it’s the very opposite of caring. It’s stereotype upon stereotype and assumption upon assumption.

    Trying to “save” a person “from themselves” in this manner is completely inappropriate. It’s demeaning, it’s a denial of agency, it’s barging in on someone’s difficult situation and setting yourself up as the wise guru who has the Answer.

    How many different ways do I need to explain it here?

  28. “Sometimes, people need to be reminded that just because someone has “foreigner” stamped on their forehead, doesn’t mean that she’s fair game. ”

    Natalia, good on you for pushing back against this harassment. Sounds like these guys had made some sweeping assumptions about you based on nothing but stereotypes. You gave them a little lesson in not judging a book by its cover and that may make them think again the next time they are in the same situation. Or not. Still I’m glad you held your ground in a difficult situation. It’s small steps like this that, person by person, can make a real difference in the world.


  29. natalia – i know that you think that i hate women, so i don’t expect you to take my question seriously but if you do, answer me this: would you like it if your daughter was in this situation? would you like it if your daughter was leading the life you lead now? if she going out like this and having to deal with men who have no respect – because they are not required to show respect for women in clubs – and having an indiscriminate sex life on top of that…? i think that feminists support a life of excess, until they have children. maybe your perception of the world will change once you have a child. more so if your child is half-arab. i could not imagine an arab husband and father putting up with this.

  30. natalia – also, what if your child was involved in the bdsm lifestyle that you strongly defend here?

  31. Haaaaa hahahaha! Cranky, you’re back to being entertaining. “Life of excess”? “Indiscriminate sex”? Do you think I’m a rock star? ‘Cause it’s a pretty big compliment.

    I don’t have a child, but I do have a younger brother whom I care for and I think that anything anyone wants for the children in their life is for them to be in a safe and sane environment.

    I don’t think clubs are necessarily unsafe or insane. I think if you’re of age, going over with trusted friends, and making sure you don’t get sloshed beyond all help – what’s the problem? Shit happens, but shit can happen to you in the diaper aisle of a supermarket too.

    I don’t know where you got this idea that no feminist would allow her child to have a life. This isn’t to say that parents should let their kids do whatever – but you certainly can’t keep them under lock and key after a certain age. Knowing what I know – I was a teenager fairly recently – it only makes them more rebellious.

    If my adult daughter came to me one day and said – “guess what, mom? I’m a pro-domme” or something like that, I honestly don’t think I’d have a problem with it, assuming she was happy with what she did.

    I don’t know what it is you’re trying to achieve with these questions – catch me in some sort of hypocrisy? I guess we’re all hypocritical to a degree.

    But honestly – I’d probably be way more worried about my children joining a violent cult or something.

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