Text and photos: Woman and 40 Cats
The books on sexuality that have been published in Russia in recent years can be divided into two types. This is either still unfamiliar to the general reader of the basics of sex education, clarifying mainly the biological component of sexuality. Or, under the microscope, considered cases of conflicts and difficulties at the couple's level, flavored with the author's conclusions about the nature of relationships, which the reader is invited to apply in her own life.
In this context, the title of the book “Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism” evokes something scandalous and pretentious, as long as you do not pay attention to the postscript “arguments in favor of economic independence”. Kristen Godsey unexpectedly pleases with a macro-approach, considering the problem at the level of government, and the book finds itself in the third category, which touches on more global issues.
She says a very important thought: “Women should not get involved in romantic relationships just because this is their only opportunity to get a roof over their heads”. It remains to understand how to do this, and then the idea “to admit the bad is not to deny the good” comes to the rescue, which Godsey considers in the context of the history of the countries of the former USSR.
Not much has been written about sex in the book, but enough about what defines it. It is invaluable to look at the history of the countries of Eastern Europe with the eyes of an American woman: West and East Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic. On the other hand, the parallels between the conventionally socialist and capitalist countries also clearly show the author's personal experience of socialization. And sometimes Godsey's arguments generally remind me of the reasoning of residents of post-Soviet countries that the grass was greener before, and the sky was bluer – not even nostalgia for the past, but rather disappointment with the present.
Not that socialism is very good, says Godsey, but it has something useful for solving current problems. And yes, the problems are of a systemic nature, but women clearly have more difficulties – fr om the labor sphere to the bed.
Kristen offers specific solutions and even shows their non-ideality, but at least some kind of effectiveness in comparison with what we have now. For example, the idea of quotas for women in the management team of companies – it feels strange, but in order to change the perception of the structure of the world, we need more examples. I don't see – I don't think so. If we want to see women in leadership, we need to create more positive role models.
Kristen sets many vectors for assessing the situation we are facing today. How can maternity care be organized? How does racism exacerbate gender discrimination? What happens to men in a society with high socio-economic independence of women? Why is the political activity of women so important, and “political means personal”?
The book coped with its task - to invite the reader to further study the intersections of socialism and feminism. The text turned out to be less than two hundred pages, but this is enough to dive into the topic.
I sometimes lacked the ease of reflection, sometimes – specific examples, but this can be completely forgiven, since the book is not declared as a scientific work, and at the same time it still contains an impressive list of sources for those who are especially curious: here's a thought for you to think about, but here you can contact with questions.
What I disliked was the appallingly small number of feminitives in a feminist publication, and especially in places wh ere they would be appropriate from the point of view of conventional Russian. But this is a claim to translators, and you can make a discount for the year of publication, when the use of feminitives in print media was not yet an expression of a political position.
I suggest reading it with a pencil and meditating over it, as Godsey bequeathed. Who knows what else you can find interesting.
The book is provided by Alpina Non Fiction Publishing House with the assistance of sexshopers.ru.