We discussed the topic of interracial love in the rainbow nation in which #englishrosiee complains about the South African world not being as accepting of interracial relationships as it would like to pretend to be. Today, I’ll share my personal experience of how it is to be a representative of a group that’s believed to consist of prostitutes, strippers and kept women with looks but no brain.
I must say being Eastern European (EE) had its perks when I was single and on the lookout. Even if you’re just above average in your country, you get +10 for beauty when abroad. Your features are different and “exotic”, you naturally draw (initial) (male) attention to yourself. People (mostly men) will often approach you to ask you personal questions. Your accent is also considered to be quite cute and you may be asked to pronounce words for people (men) so that they can listen more to it. That pretty much sums up the advantages, especially that many people (women) often openly dislike you because of the abovementioned.
The biggest disadvantage of being an EE (an umbrella term for countries that are/were under Russia’s influence) is that there’s a very strong stereotype of EE women working as prostitutes and strippers (that isn’t coming from nowhere but it’s still just-a-sterotype!). There are certain facial features that we have but more importantly there’s the accent that very few of us lose entirely even after years of living in a different country. These characteristics, who knows why, let certain men feel entitled to be disrespectful. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a sex worker, but asking someone whether they have paid sex/get naked for money, is well, a bit forward. In South Africa I’ve been asked an uncountable number of times whether I’m a stripper, sometimes jokingly sometimes with a clear intent to annoy me, sometimes for real. For instance when I went to a strip club as a guest it was assumed that I was there for an interview. South Africa, however, is still much less driven by stereotypes than Italy, where during a short stay I was approached on the street and asked whether I’m Polish or Romanian and then whether I’d consider an escort position. Another time a waitress vacancy turned, in a blink of an eye, into a sex worker offer (for 50 euro per night! I’m worth more!). Of course, it’s good not to take life too seriously but a joke heard for the millionth time is just not funny.
The EE sterotype is a hinderance in dating as part of it is the “pretty but no brain” image. In other words, EEs can be considered trophies. I remember seeing a guy in my early days in South Africa whom I quite liked till I accidentally saw on his phone that he referred to me as “the Polish chick”. It didn’t take much longer to realize that this was his general attitude towards me, it’d be nice to show me around but actually to deal with me as a person turned out to be too much too him. The objectification is unfortunately a natural consequence of this strong sterotype.
To sum up, next time you meet a hot Eastern European chick remember that 1) she’s a human too 2) she must probably isn’t a prostitute or a stripper so don’t ask unless she offers you her services 3) show some respect to someone who speaks a foreign language fluently even with an accent.
Now to you, Dear Reader. Are you familiar with the EE stereotype? Do you know any EEs? Or maybe you’re one of them and you’d like to share your annoying stories?