Something for the Drive Home

What you have to understand is that Russia is a very conservative country that never got around to a proper, linear sexual revolution with more things gradually becoming more acceptable. There also weren't any "waves" of feminism, as women were granted all rights and responsibilities right after the revolution and there wasn't the sort of gradual acceptance like there was in the West. Those things are related. Homosexuality was only decriminalized very recently, and taken off the list of mental illnesses very begrudgingly without much public debate around the issue. When the Soviet Union started falling apart, pretty much everything was instantly allowed, porn, prostitution, all at once were out in the open like a shock wave, so the sexuality of a typical Russian is a really weird thing.

You're expected to get married and have kids, the younger the better. There is a lot more involvement of your parents and grandparents in a traditional Russian family, many people even live with their parents after getting married and having kids, because realty is very expensive. At the same time, there is a sort of neurotic sexuality everywhere. Russians are very promiscuous. Infidelity is excepted, divorce is almost guaranteed. Sex is supposed to be that thing men do to women, too, which is a remnant of the former, more conservative times. Sex is somehow both a taboo humiliating act done to another person and a normal thing. You're expected to be sexually active, but at the same time, you're also shamed for it quite a lot. The image of any sexual deviation from a certain norm is pretty much a caricature. People confuse transsexuals, homosexuals and pedophiles, too. And this is in a country where you're not even supposed to look weird.

The prison culture also has a very strong influence. Lots of people, even educated people, know prison slang and basic laws and rules of prison life. One of those laws is that, basically, the guy who's at the end of the food chain is supposed to take it up the ass. That is a very shameful thing.

Then there is the concept of "tolerance" which is almost a swear word in the media. Basically, to distance us from the west, we are told that the West is on decline, because they allow various minorities more rights than "normal people", and they allow women too many rights, so their birth rates are down and they'll all be replaced with Arabs soon. Demographics is a very important issue here, because the population is aging and dying out. There is a derogatory term "tolerast" which is a combination of tolerant + pederast, that describes someone who would allow themselves to be dominated by all those "lesser" beings. The remnant of the idea of an outside enemy who wants to destroy mother Russia by making it weak is pretty strong, too, and a strong Russia is something people want. Then there is the issue that this is a poor country and people have a lot of bigger problems than simple social acceptance. Basically, if you can't afford to raise your children, you still have to live with your mom at 30, and your hospital has rats and no central heating, you don't have the capacity to worry about someone's feelings. Human rights activists are viewed as rich, sheltered fools like those people you might see on /r/TumblrInAction. There isn't much of an open discourse.

A whole series of laws appeared at approximately the same time, and I personally think they're a reaction to a strong forming opposition: any organization with foreign funding is supposed to register as a "Foreign agent", which does pretty much nothing, mostly affects charities and makes them seem like CIA spies; you may no longer "offend people's religious feelings", which was written specifically after the Pussy Riot thing; and then there's the law forbidding "propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia to minors" which was later changed to "denying traditional values". Basically, it's a pretty strong ideological attack on people who aren't happy with the current government. You don't like something? You're an American spy and you want to molest children and you also take it up the ass.

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Direct download: ftdh108.mp3
Category:Comedy -- posted at: 12:00am EST