Without Comment (Russians Lament: The Women Are Not What They Used to Be)

by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui

The Light (Pakistan), 16th December 1976 Issue (Vol. 56, Nos. 46–47, pp. 17)

The following is reproduced from the Daily “Sun” of Lahore dated 29-11-76, without comment, but with the explanatory remark that the Russian women were the first to be “emancipated” in the West when Russia went communist:

“Russians Lament: The Women Are Not What They Used to Be

Some men here are complaining that “emancipated” Soviet women are losing their femininity—by smoking, drinking, cursing and indulging in free love.

The weekly newspaper “Literaturnay a Gazeta” reported this week that it has received dozens of letters from men who say that the Soviet Union’s new breed of working women have forgotten how to be feminine.

“Every man dreams of a woman who is soft, loving, expressive, affectionate, modest and shy—of a feminine woman,” wrote Grigory Molodtsov from the town of Volzhsky. “But they’re much harder to find.”

“Men are getting fed up with crude women who have the manners of cowboys,” he continued. “Their bossy shouts around the house, their shabby way of dressing and their swaggering way of drinking bottoms-up like a man turns the home into a crude barrack.”

I. Zimin of Leningrad agreed that “every man would like to see in the house an atmosphere of softness, warmth, and, if you will, of purity.”

But instead, he said, women these days try to act like men “smoking, drinking, cursing and engaging in free love.”

Even at the front in World War II, wrote A. Arkilov from Nikolayev, girls in their boots and greatcoats managed to keep their femininity.

But now, he said, “it’s hard to distinguish the girls from the guys [because of] their vulgar laugh, swaggering walk, cigarettes.”

And their language, not just on construction sites but in offices, he said, “makes even strong men blush.”

Since the War, women have assumed an ever greater share of the Soviet workload, making up about 52 per cent of the total of collective farm employees and 48 per cent of the factory workers, according to recent statistics.

Other figures show that they continue to carry the burden of running Soviet homes and raising children, adding another four or five hours to each workday.

The Soviet press has acknowledged the problems involved in reconciling the two roles of women, and social planners try to ease the burden with play schools for children and takeout meals for quick dinners.

But it is the attitude of both men and women toward the woman’s role that are changing most slowly.

Said one Moscow mother who works as a doctor: “For the woman, the home and the children must always come first, and the job second.”

A man from Tbilisi once described the model wife as “an able and hospitable housewife, clever adviser and non-pestering satellite.”