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The cultural roles of women and accepted norms regarding women are different all over the world. Some nations have a specific and unique treatment of female culture, social acceptance and generational history. The Time: Night written by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya is a narration about the life and hardships of a woman in Russia. The story consists of a number of significant details and proves that women in Russia live through rough times as the majority of the society is demeaning and discriminatory towards females, their ways of expression and culture.
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Women in Russia have always played a specific role, which was determined by the society. Patriarchal system has shifted attention away from women, at the same time demanding that the family is properly cared for and fed. In the beginning of the 19th century, things were becoming somewhat better, but communism and World Wars have separated women from society and each other even further. As Lyudmila Petrushevskaya describes in her work, one woman is forced to raise grandchildren of her daughter who spends little time at home, but meets a lot with different men, the other woman is similarly promiscuous, and one more type of woman is the one who is happy with the unfortunates of others. This moment is illustrated in the beginning of The Time: Night, when “…Oksana comes straight into the kitchen knowing very well about my troubles…” and asks: “Does your mummy ever come and see you, Tima?” (Petrushevskaya 3). The situation described by the writer shows how the only outlet for women’s anger and a form of entertainment is a sarcastic and dark pleasure experienced at the misfortunes of others. The world has become very difficult for women who fight for their rights because the time of revolutions has passed and the question has become covered by the modern world and the fast paced environment.
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There is no doubt that the world is well aware of Russian women, their hardships, difficulties in surviving World Wars and their ability to keep beautiful even in the darkest time. The contribution that women provided during the conflict times was enormous, both at home and at the front, but there was little credit or appreciation given to women as a whole. This can be greatly seen in the The Time: Night because a woman with children and grandchildren has so little to get by with. It is critical that Anna is portrayed as a hard working woman who is trying to raise a family and instill some sort of honour and respect in her children, only to find that the family and system do not support her in the fight. There is no time and place for her personal life as everything she does is expected as theirs and criticized by others, so it comes as a form of shock when Anna does find time for herself and her pleasures (Petrushevskaya 22). The world and own feelings have become so devastating and low that there is no time to enjoy the moment, and the only result is increased depression and inability to find peace.
Even though the author describes a period which was some time ago, the regime and social norms, as well as policies, have been transferred over into the modern world. The prejudices and stereotypes that existed in the Soviet Union, during and after the World Wars, have not changed in the recent times. In reality, the rights and equality of women are a dark area with the accepted behavioral abuses and limitations. This leads to the fact that there is little room and time for women to find expression for their talents or skills. Writing and painting have become the dominant areas of the expression of women, but even when there is talent present, it is often limited by the system (Engel 13). The social norms have made women’s reputation in arts rather undermined, so there is no chance to develop and prosper. Due to this harsh reality, the whole culture is unable to shift its views and become more understanding and appreciative of women. The modern Russian woman has seen some changes in the areas of employment and self expression because the difference between sexes has become a worldwide phenomenon. It is well known that women in North America and other places in the world have been constantly fighting for their rights. This led to the changes in policies and institutional regulations, but the system of Russia has changed very little. Women face discrimination at work and home, and it has become so instilled in the social norms that it is almost “expected”. There are no specific laws that prohibit discrimination against women, so often their abilities are taken advantage of (Pushkareva 25).
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In conclusion, the work by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya and the reality have much in common because the laws and policies of the whole society have little to do with helping women in the current situation. Nothing is being done to change the status of women as mothers or means of entertainment, which reinforces the views that all the skills and talents which women have are limited. Those who strive to express themselves and make a better life for their families are seen as outsiders and above norms. This shows that very little has changed from the times of the Soviet Union until now. The resolutions that must be proposed include the policies and employment, discrimination laws and rights of women at home. The abuse that continues on all levels is recognized and even admitted, but there is no specific direction, which would designate a direct body of government or social group to change the order of things.
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