The Russian Femme Fatale – Truth vs Hollywood Stereotype

Russia is often portrayed in the Western World as a cold, hard place with majestic architecture, lots of vodka and a president who, for some mysterious reason, seems to dislike wearing a shirt. 

Russian people are portrayed in many Hollywood movies as either spies or members of gangs who keep referring to each other as comrade. Just look at all the James Bond movies with sexy Soviet field operatives or sexy nuclear scientists. 

You can take even more recent examples like Red Sparrow (2018) starring Jennifer Lawrence – innocent ballerina forced to become a KGB spy (the sexy kind, of course) so she can lure traitors or American spies with her womanly charms. 

Where Did This Movie Trope Come From?

Although the women of Russia do in fact tend to look quite attractive since beauty standards there are quite high (more about that later), before the Cold War they were depicted in cinema more like strong workhorses, capable of winning a fight against a bear. Nowadays, Hollywood combines American fear of Russian spies with the fear of attractive women and you get this very popular stereotype.  

They’re gorgeous but they can beat the living daylights out of you, and when they age, they turn into babushkas, grab a bottle of vodka and go drive their tractors. 

Hollywood movies are generally full of clichés, if a country or a population is not presented with the usual characteristics it’s not perceived as convincing and authentic, and that’s why we see the same things over and over again, whether it’s about Russians or Germans, French people, Brits, Italians and so on. 

What Are Russian Women Really Like?   

The stereotype is that they’re tall, slim, manipulative gold-diggers and they go weak in the knees for western men. In reality, their way of talking is quite blunt, much like their male counterparts, being a stay-at-home mon is rather frowned upon as they’re expected to go to work and take interest in building a successful career. Some love to cook and some don’t.

What does seem to be true is that they do tend to be more meticulous regarding their physical appearance since that is the norm. To them, Western ladies could be perceived as fairly plain. Their fashion sense is flashier with lots of jewelry, elaborate makeup, manicure and perfect hair.  

Of course, when every woman around you makes sure they never look “under the weather” including at work, it’s a little difficult to not feel pressured into rising up to the same standards. Russian society is still quite patriarchal, with women looking picture perfect and men opening doors, carrying not so heavy bags and helping the frail beauties out of cars or getting into their coats. 

Dating in Russia

Russian dating customs are actually more conservative than what you would imagine. Men are expected to be highly chivalrous, to dress formally for a date and take the conversation seriously. Qualities such as loyalty, ambition, honesty and being empathetic are in high regard, but isn’t that the case in the West as well?

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