This op-ed in the Kyiv Post is a bizarre mixture of truth and utter BS. For what it’s worth, I’m willing to believe that the author means everything she says. Unfortunately, half the time she says stuff that makes me feel like stuffing glass shards beneath my eyelids.
For example, this:
I won’t tell you anything new if I say that Slavic women are less emancipated and more feminine than Europeans or Americans. And by less emancipated, I don’t mean uneducated or illiterate. I just mean they depend on men much more than women in the West. Men take advantage of this dependence as much as they can.
Is 100% spot-on, I think
Unfortunately, she then follows up with this:
And when a woman says that appearance is not important, I bet that she is not attractive. I mean, please, have you ever seen a good-looking feminist? I haven’t. Oh, actually I did. But he was a man. And gay.
Now, I’m no Angelina Jolie (Rudya makes the point that more men fantasize about Jolie than, say, Angela Merkel), but I, at the very least, am able to take a decent picture.
I resent Rudya’s assertion that all feminists are unattractive, just as much as I resent the implication that lack of conventional attractiveness somehow makes a woman irrelevant. This viewpoint is particularly popular in Ukraine, in part due to poverty and misogynist traditions, and to see Rudya defend it on the basis of “realism” makes me think that she is missing the point.
Yes, we will never get anywhere unless we admit the problem of sexism. But Rudya, it seems, wants to stop there. I’d love it if she were to correct me on this point. But I am not holding my breath.
In reading Rudya’s piece, I have to question why a blanket statement on “all Ukrainian women” is even needed. Say what you want about culture, stereotypes don’t do us any favours. Rudya herself has experienced stereotypes – she relates a particularly disgusting episode in Germany – so why perpetuate them?
Why is an obviously intelligent woman engaing in this? Why is the Kyiv Post enabling her?
Friends who have commented unfavourably on the article have reported that their responses were deleted. The only strongly negative response that has been published quickly comes under fire – apparently the author if said response is just an uppity Western woman, who’s probably overweight or whatever, so clearly, we can write her off.
I’d like to start a dialogue with both Rudya and the editors at the Kyiv Post as to what is actually going on here, and why some of us find the article extremely problematic. Will keep you posted as to whether or not I am successful in my efforts.