e-Book on Russian Women (Part 5)

Additional Reading

Russian Women and their free time

The Russian woman often complains that she cannot squeeze all her numerous house tasks and everyday problems into a 24-hours day. Nevertheless, the life in Russia is arranged according to the old proverb, which can literally be translated as 'Devote you whole time to the business and only an hour of it to rest'. After hard work the Russian woman can relax and have a good rest. Though the weekends are usually full of washing, cleaning, ironing and linen mending and summer vacations to tending the dacha, weeding and gathering the harvest and making as much as possible preserves for winter. But the moment comes and the Russian woman flatly states: "Stop, it's high time to get my breath!"

And where does a Russian woman rest?

In banya (Russian sauna). The banya is not only a ceremony of getting clean but rather a means of getting rid of a stress, a relaxation. It clears the organism, rejuvenates it and trains the heart muscle.

Treating her female friends to tea or a glass of wine or sometimes, to tell the truth, to a thimble of vodka, accompanied by pickles, fish, meat, Russian pelmeni (meat-filled dumplings).

On the sofa reading a book or a magazine.

At the theatre, an exhibition or a concert.

Going shopping to fashion stores.

At various amateur societies.

Going in for sports or hiking in the forest.

And, of course, at her favorite needlework: dressmaking, embroidery, knitting, for the Russian woman is very good at different kinds of handwork; there is nothing she cannot do. You wouldn't frequently come across a woman that didn't know knitting or crochet-work. They allow Russian women to have a bit of rest and, at the same time, to relieve the strain, to exercise her creative powers, to improve the family well-being by producing nice and cheap clothes for the children, husband and herself. I daresay, knitting takes the top position in the list of the Russian woman's hobbies.

The second position in the said list belongs to cooking. Many women collect the recipes of pipes and cakes for years, they experiment and crate new dishes which become specialty in the house.

It is obvious that the Russian woman's hobbies are not mere passions but always have practical implications for the home and the family.

Thus, each Russian woman chooses a hobby which suits her. Some take up painting, others write poetry, still others devote their spare minute to reading or their pets. A woman may not have a hobby as such, but almost everybody prefers some employment to all others which both her soul and body enjoy.

Russian Women and Nature

In Russian literature a woman, a mother has always identified with nature, natural element. It is no mere chance that Russian literature and folklore abound with images and symbols of nature: mother-nature, Mother-land, 'mother birch grove'. As for the birch tree, a symbol of Russia, it has always been the personification of the maid or the bride.

It is not only nature that has been compared to the woman. A woman's life and fate have also been described by the images taken from nature: in a popular folk song which is often sung at table on holidays, a mountain ash (a woman) laments her fate, for she is not able to cross the river and lean against an oak (a man).

The family life calendar is also closely connected with nature. There was a tradition in ancient Russia to celebrate weddings in winter, after the crops had been reaped. A woman's life was directly determined by natural order. Nowadays, the connection is much looser.

But even now most Russian women cannot remain indifferent to nature and its beauty. It is the spiritual affinity with nature, a subconscious desire for beauty and harmony that cause a Russian woman to wander in the forest, a public garden or a park. Nature gives a Russian woman at least a short rest from daily troubles and concerns, restores her energy and improves her health.

Russian woman's love for nature is manifest in her care for house pets: cats, dogs, fish, tortoises, parrots, canaries. Any animated being cap take the post of a pet in a Russian woman's house, because a devoted living soul by her side is essential for her, while her man is often too busy. Animals, sharing her joys and sorrows, become bosom friends for a Russian woman; sometimes they are the only ones who have patience and tact enough to listen through their mistress's effusions without giving silly and unsolicited advice. At times, a favorite cat or a dog, with the eyes expressing utter devotion make the best psychologist for a Russian woman. Pets help Russian women control stress, calm down, improve the mood, and this is not a mere trifle in our restless community. This may well be the reason for the growing popularity of pets among the Russians.

It is obvious that the attitude to the living nature - plants and animals - is one of the criteria to assess the morals and spiritual wealth of a Russian woman. So if you want to know the soul of a Russian woman, look whether she is able to apprehend the beauty of the nature.

Russian Women and technology

How is the Russian woman related to electric appliances? Like anywhere in the world their relations differ. Some women are on friendly terms with electric appliances, others on very formal and stringent. Some can fix a faucet and carry put minor repairs in irons or washing machines, the technical skills of others are limited to pressing a TV remote control button and the forced replacement of the burnt out bulb is equal to heroic deed for them. And still how does a modern Russian woman manage household electric appliances, a computer, a motorcar?

Russian woman and electric appliances. Russia has been swarmed with various types of electric appliances lately, and the woman has no other way out than to get accustomed to it. Now we can't even notice how we switch on an electric kettle or a vacuum cleaner, but more complex equipment is still inspiring the Russian woman with fear and profound veneration.

Perhaps behind the Russian woman's shunning of the products of the latest technology lies her desire to involve man in household duties, because in Russia, notwithstanding the fact that the woman operated combines, designed military material, carried out other historically masculine jobs, the household equipment has been considered the domain of man. And the woman is not welcome there. Russian women, not excessively interested in feminism, are quite satisfied with the said distribution of duties. Especially because they CAN operate any household electric appliances, if they wish, but will never admit to it before their husband does it. It is quite another thing when these appliances get out of order or malfunction. Of course, service centers and repair shops are always at the woman's disposal, but even then she would prefer to have it fixed by her man.

Russian woman and computer, Internet. Although are becoming an integral part of everyday life of Russian people and women in particular, very often many facilities they provide are not exploited. Many Russian families use it as an expensive toy or a clever typewriter. Internet is not widely spread yet. It is confined to big cities mostly. In other towns and villages it meets powerful obstacles to its proliferation, such as poor means and quality of communications, considerable fares for the use of Internet, the lack of necessary knowledge and technical skills. But the progress is inevitable and more and more Russian women join the legion of Internet users. Sociological polls show that 70% of Russian Internet users are men, that is the remaining 30% are women.

Russian woman and motorcar. Hardly anybody is surprised nowadays to see a woman drive a car. She uses the car to take her children to school or a sports club, make a shopping round, call upon her hairdresser, and be at work in time. Most Russian women who take up driving a car seek for a comfort and considerable cuts in time wasting. However not all Russian women have a car. A woman can have thousands of reason to buy it, a powerful strong desire to learn to drive it, but has no money to buy it The statement 'A car is not a luxury but a means of transportation' sounds a bit mocking to a Russian woman. It is clear that the rhythm of modern life makes a car indispensable but the economic situation prevents most women from the commodity.

The achievements of the latest technology are introduced into the Russian woman's life on a larger scale. The household electric appliances take much of house labor off women's shoulders, that's why Russian women have been quick to appreciate it. The computer and the motorcar are less available and more complex, but life makes Russian women master even such equipment. But in most cases Russian women are satisfies with being just users: elimination of any faults and repair work, even minor, are still the domain of man.

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