Heather Hennig Russian Women vs. American There are many similarities as well as differences between Russian and American women. Both groups of women consider the family as the basic social unit. However, the composition of the family differs. In Russia, the women are expected to marry and have children. Urban couples usually only have one child, whereas rural families sometimes have more (“Russia”). In America there is traditionally a mother, father, and two or more children.
Recently the number of married couples without children, single-parent households, and un-married couples has greatly increased. One out of every three children born in the USA is born from unmarried parents; they might even possibly be cared for by the grandparents exclusively (“United States of America”). Parents in both countries usually care for the child until adulthood, however in Russia the child is expected to financially support the parents after he is grown as a result of insufficient pensions (“Russia”).
In Russia and America women may lead the household, but in Russia the male in considered the head of the family where it varies in American families. Another similarity is that the male and female both work, but in contrast to America, Russian males rarely help in chores of the home (“Russia”). In the United States men not only help with chores, but with childcare as well. In Russia the grandparents help with taking care of the children and grocery shopping. America is trendy in that males are not always the bread-winners; women are often the money maker in the family.
It would be unheard of for Russian men to be stay at home dads, which is becoming more common in the states. Working couples and single parents in the USA often rely on child-care services. In Russia, such facilities are available, but rarely utilized because of the high cost (“Russia”). There are different customs for women of both countries with pregnancies and babies. In the USA the women usually wait until the second trimester to announce pregnancy, because the first three months are those that are most likely to lose a child.
Russian women delay informing people of their pregnancy as long as possible, because of the evil eye, a curse which is caused by envy or praise (“Russia”). Russian families keep away all visitors of the infant for the first month, while in America visitors are often welcome at the hospital and household, but often the families refrain from bringing the baby out of the home for an average of six weeks (“United States of America”). It is a Russian tradition to hold a party four weeks after the baby’s birth, where the infant is presented and given money as well as gifts (“Russia).
Such a party is called a baby shower in the United States, and held typically during the seventh month of pregnancy. The stance on sexual promiscuity has significantly changed in both countries. Under the early Soviet policy sexual freedom was unheard of (Young), and traditional courtship rituals in the United States also discouraged pre-marital relations. Today it is rarer in the States for a woman to wait until marriage to have sex, than it is for her to engage in sexual activities before marriage.
In the modern Soviet society, sexual pleasure is a more common theme than it used to be (Young). On the specific topic of premarital sexual attitudes in the Soviet Union, the information available suggests that the Soviet people support a fairly high level of permissiveness in premarital sexuality (Young). Even though it is difficult to make valid international comparisons on attitudes toward premarital and extramarital sexuality, it is speculated the Soviets are still behind U. S. society in premarital sex.
More recently, a few studies conducted among Soviets concluded that a majority of Russian students approve of premarital sex, although there was also considerable diversity in their views (Young). Women in both countries view infidelity in marriage with disdain. In conclusion, traditions and practices of Russian and American women have significantly changed over the years. Both groups of women have more in common than one may think, and the differences seem to stem from culture more than anything else. Family is important in both countries, as is women playing a more equal role.
The USA seems to be more ahead in that area. Sexual freedom has become more prominent, but again America seems to be more progressive in that aspect. The social structures of both countries continue to change and strive for equality between the sexes. Works Cited "Russia. " CultureGrams Online Edition. ProQuest, 2011. Web. 9 Aug 2011. "United States of America. " CultureGrams Online Edition. ProQuest, 2011. Web. 9 Aug 2011. Young, Katherine E. "Loyal wives, virtuous mothers. " Russian Life. Mar. 1996: 4+. General Reference Center Gold. Web. 20 July 2011.