“Cross-cultural dissonance”: on March, 8 in Russia and in France

March 8 in Russia is considered Women’s day, and many today do not know the history of its origin and not feel the slightest connection with the subject of feminism and struggle for women’s rights. What is the perception of this date in Russia and in France, celebrated on 8 March in the two countries and how it affected the cultural and historical differences, RFI said the Russians living today in France.

In France this day women remind the public that their rights still need protection, and in Russia women remember that they are women, said the lawyer and environmentalist Nadezhda Kutepova, living in France for four years.

Nadezhda Kutepova: “of Course, the fundamental difference is, and, I think, it is connected with the history and original meaning of the holiday, which the French managed to save, and the Russians due to various turns of history had to transform. Initially, international women’s day was marked in history by women as a day of women’s struggle for their rights. The meaning of this date preserved in France so far.

Despite the fact that France is the country in which the rights of women, in General, respects and promotes, nevertheless the women of France had to fight for their rights. For example, the right to vote, they received only after the Second world war — in 1946. The right to sign own cheque book they got in the mid 70-ies. And still in French law remain certain atavisms, which show the subordinate position of women in relation to man. So the French at this day with the men remember that women’s rights need protection, you need to be vigilant and to take certain actions to ensure that protected rights are not qualified, and it’s also good that they added a new one. For example, to date in French society is a topical issue about the equality of wages for the same work. I looked at the statistics: women lawyers get about 30% less than for the same work men get.

In Russia international women’s day ceased to be day, when women are reminded of their rights. In Russia it is the date when women the society is like, and they remember that they are women. That they are beautiful, feminine, that they are worthy of attention, of courtship. And I think that this approach is incorrect from my point of view, the problem lies with the position of women in our society. The problem with violence, that in Russian families continues, especially in the provinces, women remain in a subordinate position, and also the problem associated with competition of women among themselves, because it is not a secret that in the Russian society women feel demand first in the marriage market. If in the marriage market they find themselves, it gives them an additional sense of inferiority. And, of course, of any rights.

RFI: So compared to the French, the Russians indifferent to their rights?

The peculiarity of Frenchmen and Frenchwomen is that they always believe that law is such a substance, which must be very firmly. And that if you with the preventive purpose is not to insist that you have rights and need to remember, they may disappear. And any infringement on them is necessary to take action to this assault did not happen.

In contrast, we, Russians, very long time to endure the violation of any of our rights. This is generally legal nihilism, when we think: well, what can we do?! Although I must say that women are now aktiviziruyutsya. There are many social initiatives that are associated with the fight against domestic violence. For example, there are initiatives when women achieve exclusion of forbidden professions. I admire the occasion when the woman wanted to be the captain of the river fleet, but it turned out that it’s a profession prohibited to women’s work. And now she achieves this together with the defenders they came to the UN Committee. In General, Russia has pledged that she will eliminate this discrimination.

But it seems to me that the Russians in the first place should pay attention not to some rights that are associated with the society and the rights of that individual: is the right to freedom and personal inviolability, the right to choose with whom you will reside, how you spend your time. Because Russians are not ready to protect their personal rights, and it is for me, of course, sad.

I look at French women. Last week we had a study visit to one of the highest French courts, the state Council. And there’s a woman at the post is very serious, the Secretary of the Supreme court, but she was dressed quite lightly, from my point of view. On her head was a headband with a red large bow, she was wearing polka dot tights, gold boots, a mini skirt that was the dress code that it did not fit, from my point of view, to work in court. But I immediately caught myself thinking that this is my view, Russian women, about how women should look in court. And, from my point of view, discordant with the situation, but the French themselves responded to it quite naturally. I knew that from the French point of view it is an ordinary woman who feels comfortable in the clothes in which it came. But it is French women, that is, they are able to look feminine and at the same time to have full rights to which they are able to qualify for today’s historical moment in France.

Journalist, opposition leader and political refugee Nadia Petrova in France only six months. She believes that the celebration of March 8 has long lost its original political meaning. But a separate day dedicated to the protection of women’s rights, Russia needs.

RFI: Hope, what do you think of French women?

Nadia Petrova: They are confident, self-sufficient. Their eyes light up and they smile more often. These are women who love themselves and it’s very noticeable. I would like to wish all Russian women also start to love yourself, respect yourself.

For you on March 8? How, in your opinion, today is an important the history of this date?

March 8, of course, it’s in our blood, we expect some surprise, some attention. I think it’s the fact that nature in Russia wakes up, spring is felt, and if, for example, children will do the same, I, of course, sponge puff. Of course, I believe that we no longer know the reasons for this holiday, and about Clara and Rose, of course, make sense to say no, but the Russian woman is so rarely even feels the holiday, so traditionally, on that 8th of March every Russian woman in any situation is waiting. Pamper yourself a little, give yourself a day of doing nothing. I think this day needed, it can be named anything, it should be just women, that’s all. And anyway, what woman in the world will refuse additional day when she will smile at all the men around when she will say all the nice words, compliments, felicitations, give small gifts? Well, what woman would refuse?

Even if it turns into a pure Convention and formality?

You know, in my life, it happened, and I’m happy — I think never in my life I will not be congratulated formally. Therefore, I am very sad now to hear from the man who, it turns out, there are moments of formal greetings. I don’t think it’s bad when we have an official day and we call each other and say some nice words. The girls call their girlfriends, their mothers, the sons remember their mothers, their girlfriends, girlfriends, sisters. It’s great! It seems to me that this day, no political motive has long not be perfect. It’s just a day when any man can smile to any woman. Nasty he she to this day cannot and does not want. We become kinder to this day, all together, it’s great!

And 9-go back to normal life?

Anything can happen in life, some, you know, and March 8 in the evening return to your normal lifestyle. But still this feeling of waiting for something such a bright, winter is over. Anyway, after 8 March, all different. True.

In your opinion, do Russian women day, which would be dedicated to protecting the rights of women?

In General, this day has meaning. The Russian woman is in need of support. Still on its shoulders is family, the welfare of her children and husband. The woman is a stud, and needs to be supported. If the government will carry everything you need for women, at least in the eve of March 8, as it should be — to strengthen the rights of women, to protect her, it would have been nice. I think that the policy of the government is necessary.

And do women in Russia ready to defend their rights?

Not only Russian women are not ready, all the Russian society. Unfortunately, historically. One brutal regime was replaced by another, many, many generations were destroyed identity, national pride, destroyed the courage flouted all sorts of human qualities. On the contrary, the more low-lying quality piperales out. And so I think that people do not one day, not one a century broken. And so to accuse the women that they protect their rights is the same as to blame men that they do not protect women.

Journalist Anastasia Kirilenko lives in France for five years. She believes that not all Russian women will be comfortable in the West. And not just because it is not accepted to celebrate international women’s day.

Anastasia Kirilenko: For me, in Russia 8 March really was required to congratulate the mother and grandmother, otherwise offended. Well, now it’s just all disappeared, and I’m very glad.

What is the perception of this date in Russia and in France? The French, too, know and remember about her?

In fact, almost no one remembers. Maybe some Communists say, and so… In Russia — it is just reinforcement of gender roles, that is, it is believed that a man should give flowers and woman to put on makeup, somewhere to go together, to the theatre or to a restaurant. Man there pay, and the woman will be manicures and makeup — that’s the whole holiday, actually. And that someone otherwise in Russia notes?

In France a similar “celebration” with clear roles today are not accepted?

Everything here goes to the fact that gender roles are erased. Of course, it’s nothing like in Russia: women’s road — from the plate to the threshold. The woman in the first place. This, incidentally, imposes obligations. Many of the women who went to France, then unhappy. They have, for example, ask: what is your profession? The woman says: and here I am baby-sitting. And already here there is cross-cultural dissonance. What? And then what? This is not an explanation. Here if someone child was born, three months and it is time to pursue a career, it’s all absolutely normally perceived. There are no recriminations. For example, I have in France the child was born, and I have heard enough accusations. When he was a month, I addressed the PACE is still there somewhere, continued active life. Thanks to modern methods the child is not suffering, it is possible to care at this time. In General, I have heard the reproach and surprise, this is all in France, it is simply impossible to imagine.

And which side’s accusations?

From the Russian colleagues. And as the child a month who is he? Well, he stayed for one day with dad-what a nightmare! When the child is still a baby, you can still make it so that I can give him breast milk from the freezer. I had internship in Germany scholarships for journalists, while he was a baby, and I’ve studied German the whole vocabulary. Continuing to feed the child and go to the newspaper, to the editor. Well, someone surprising. In short, many is not suitable, so it is better to stay in Russia.

What, in your opinion, the brighter and more pronounced are the differences in the psychology of women of Russia and France?

The Russian women stressed how they should look to please men. Can be seen in the planes of the Russians on the heels or on the train in full dress with makeup. But what can you do French? For example, five hours of train rides. She in the last five minutes make-up before going out.

In Russia, a woman without a man often feels inferior, it is usually to spare-such is the pressure of society. In France there is something similar?

No pressure in France. Many marry closer to 30. There’s even a joke is the best time for marriage or marriage, when their own children to invite to the wedding. Many really do, because the most important thing is to avoid the unhappy situation of the family. In Russia I remember my own experience — I had seen very many unhappy families. In France very well think, so this one is not in a hurry. There is some really derogatory status, if a woman is single.

Do you think it would catch on in France, such a holiday as March 8, in the Russian tradition?

I just don’t know who would have it celebrated. We are talking about what a man or a woman — is primarily a personality, and then suddenly let’s celebrate women’s day. I think a holiday of feminism, rather, possible, but a holiday when you just flowers gave a sign that you’re a woman, I imagine. Definitely it would not be a day off holiday. Maybe someone would be allowed to do this as such a private occasion. But all impose is unlikely.
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