I have a confession to make: I have always been slightly intimidated by Moscow. A native of Saint Petersburg, i.e. Russia’s intelligentsia hub, I was practically raised to look down upon ‘Moskvichi’ for their (presumed) gaucheness and cultural deficience. And yet I always suspected that my closed-mindedness was partially driven by my own sense of inadequacy. In Moscow, an oasis of concentrated wealth, beauty and corruption, I always felt too lumpy, too naïve, too low on the totem pole.. And so, as God and human nature intended, I judged.
Alas, there comes a time when everybody has to face their fears. Mine came when my brother proposed for me to temporarily abandon family duty in Saint-Petersburg and hop onto his weekend trip to Moscow, a decision he later came to regret. Not only did I come, but I annoyed the living daylight out of him in the process, earning myself a firm placement into the “unmarriable” category. Marriable or not, I also used it as an opportunity to do some qualitative research into the curious world of Moscow men, which I chronicled for you, my dear readers! With pictures!
As a Russian woman, International Women’s Day has always had an important place in my heart. After all, it is a national holiday when school is out and the entire country turns into a floral greenhouse and guys are nice to you for a full day – think Valentine’s day sans reciprocation of effort!
It is only when I moved to the US that I realized that, for the majority of the Western World, International Women’s Day actually serves as a day to not only celebrate the contribution of women to society but also push for important and relevant agendas, aiming to drive change towards a more gender inclusive world. (Little known fact: while Russia is hardly an example of gender equality, Russian women have officially had equal rights since the October Revolution. So let’s forgive them for skipping their routine tribulations for just one day to – literally – smell the roses.)
With the 2017 agenda being BE BOLD FOR CHANGE, I decided to ask 8 phenomenal women (and a slightly more mediocre moi) the following question:
What changes would you like to see for women in this world? How are you planning on contributing?
Here’s what they had to say!
Love makes the world go round. I’m not sure if I first heard these words in Madonna’s ’80s ode to do-gooding, or if it simply one of those saccharine clichés that is culturally ingrained in our brains, but I never gave said phrase much thought. Then I got older and life got messier, and suddenly clichés became the ultimate crutch for rose-tinted philosophical rhetoric. No matter where we hail from or how much of a cluster*ck this world becomes, I prefer to believe that we are all bound by something larger than us, something that gives us purpose and drives us to tap into our better selves, something that ultimately keeps the orbit spinning: love.
While I can clearly write like a Hallmark copywriter, my own relationship with the High Holiday that is Valentine’s Day is about as complex as the US-Russia conflict – cold, impassive, potentially unresolvable. And yet, this year I decided to take the high road and use this day to celebrate the idea of love as a universal phenomenon. How? By cajoling every international couple I know into fessing up to their innermost secrets, of course.
Couples are filtered in ascending order according to years spent in each others’ vicinity. Questions vary mildly, double as an excellent Valentine’s Day torture test / drinking game. Enjoy!
Five decades after the first women’s rights activists burned their bras in a brave statement against female oppression, a new feminist wave has risen. From comedians like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham creating bold female-centric content, to actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence and Emmy Rossum spearheading the fight for equal pay, to designers including Maria Grazia Chiuri and Miuccia Prada sending feminist-theme collections down the runway, this is a fight that has been brewing for years. Women have never been more resolved to equilibrate the ground we stand on once and for all, a quest that saw the fruits of its labor when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in November.
And yet the path to success is never linear. Despite all the attained growth, the recent Electoral College victory of an unabashed male chauvinist to America’s highest office of power has pivoted us back to a battlefield we thought we had left behind. “I think before the election, misogyny was very prevalent but it was more insidious. Now it’s in your face and blatant,” says Observer sex columnist Jasmine Lobe. “When [Donald] Trump said, ‘grab ’em by the pussy,’ he validated men’s bad behavior. I felt this new sense of danger and lawlessness.” In Trump’s America, misogyny is not only commonplace, it’s condoned.
Read on HERE!
Non-alternative fact: crazy people are trending.
While there is little to laugh about when reflecting on the reality show that has become America, there has been one evolution that I find semi-entertaining. Over the past few months, Donald Trump and his cronies have transformed the entire liberal media into a bunch of amateur psychiatrists, analyzing their every move in an effort to tap into their true motivations. (Personally, I think one needs to look no further than their bank accounts.) Is Trump a narcissist gone rogue? A bona fide sociopath? An orangutan possessed by a demon? (No, wait, that’s Bannon.) As a result, we are now aware of an entire portfolio of personality disorders previously reserved but for Wes Craven films.
From where I stand, few things are as visually stimulating as Men’s Fashion Week. While the women’s shows have been mildly tarnished by the creative assassins that are commercial and Instagram appeal, men’s fashion still appears to be a repercussion-free playground where the freak flags fly and the wearable sleeping bags blow in the wind. Today we will let our imagination soar right along with them by attempting to imagine what it would be like to, ahem, date some of the brighests characters from the FW17 runways! Read More