Being Eastern European – first-hand experience of the stereotype

Eastern EuropeanWe 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?

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43 comments

  1. bklynboy59 · September 22, 2015

    I can’t say that I am familiar with EE stereo types but with all races there are stereotypes. Being of African American desent I often hear remarks like you don’t sound black, you don’t speak … you know like a black guy…or you’re real smart for a …Black guy. So I get the stereotypes too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • zlotybaby · September 22, 2015

      Yes, I guess we all get them. Sometimes they’re a source of funny situations sometimes they’re just annoying and offensive. I’m quite surprised to hear that Eastern European stereotypes don’t stand strong in the US and A, as Borat would say. What about Russians? Do you know any stereotypes about them?

      Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 22, 2015

        Only what I heard others say. My experience is limited with Russians but I treat them the same way I want to be treated…with respect.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 23, 2015

        Great attitude 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 23, 2015

        My parents always taught me how to deal with people, not black people white people or Russian or jewish or Puerto rican or…but how to get along with people period. I learned over the years regardless of race we all have the same basic needs to love be loved and be respected for who we are and what we stand for. How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 23, 2015

        I entirely agree with what your grandparents taught you. Unfortunately it’s not a common attitude and people often use race, religion or nationality as a dividing point. I can see how maybe we want to date someone similar to us (not all of us of course) but when it comes to friends, acquaintances and colleagues these things really don’t matter.

        Like

      • bklynboy59 · September 23, 2015

        My parents not grand parents

        Like

      • bklynboy59 · September 23, 2015

        My wife is Puerto rican we are a bilingual couple English and Spanish, and before I met her I was asked once did it matter what race I dated and my
        reply was is and will always be …the human race. It never matter to me what race a woman who I dated was as long as she and I loved each other and respected each other. That turned out to be the case with my wife and I.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 24, 2015

        I think that race isn’t ever a problem, it’s the culture that often comes with it. For instance, I dated a black guy briefly and we had a very similar background. We just didn’t work out because we weren’t that much into each other to fight for the relationship. On the other hand, earlier in life I was engaged to an Arabic guy and as much as I loved him I just couldn’t cope with his sexism. He thought that women were like children and all men were their fathers… I couldn’t change him and eventually I gave up. I don’t think race should ever be an issue, but culture/religion can cause huge disagreements.

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      • bklynboy59 · September 24, 2015

        Race is a issue … to those outside the relationship and they influence the parties in the relationship… you’re not going to marry that Black Guy are you? You seeing that white girl what we black women aren’t good enough for you? Don’t be naïve race does matter . Not to you not to me but if you’re on the outside looking in sadly it matters.

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      • zlotybaby · September 25, 2015

        I think race in America has less to do with culture than it does here in South Africa. Being American seems to be identity in itself why South Africans tend to be primary Afrikaans or Zulu or Xhosa. It’ll take a whole before it changes.

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      • bklynboy59 · September 25, 2015

        Race in America is about culture and it runs deep. Which is why I often say racism is always a breath away. It doesn’t take much to start a fire when it comes to race. Which is why when I do see interacial and biannual couples I am pleasantly surprised to see them overcome alot to be together

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 25, 2015

        The more couples like this they are, the more people get used to the idea. The worst is that it’s often their families that are the biggest problem.

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      • bklynboy59 · September 25, 2015

        Yes which is why racism is always just below the surface. If you want to find out who your family is date someone of a different race and they will show you who they are. Sadly we don’t seem to be ad comfortable with it as we like to believe we are as a society regardless of where we live.

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      • zlotybaby · September 25, 2015

        Ja, my mom went absolutely crazy when I started to date an Arabic guy. I never trusted her after that. She should be concerned about my happiness and not give up to some silly stereotypes and be mostly concerned about what other people think.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 25, 2015

        I hear that. If the relationship had led to marriage what would mother have done?

        Like

      • zlotybaby · September 25, 2015

        Probably secretly or not so secretly thought she’d think it was wrong and waited it to fail and if it had she would say “I told you so”. Or maybe she’d stop talking to me. I’m not sure actually.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 25, 2015

        That’s sp sad. You expect better than that from your own mother.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 29, 2015

        I think expecting more from parents is a problem that makes people take their mistakes personally. Parents as everyone else are flawed and sometimes behave silly. It’s our job to recognize it and try not to be affected.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 29, 2015

        Fair enough but sadly we copy what they do even when we know it’s not the smartest thing to do which is part of why racism continues to rage on from generation to generation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 29, 2015

        I think as long as we’re aware of the fact that we’re copying and trying not to and improve ourselves in general it’s okay. We can only do so much about how we are.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 29, 2015

        I used to feel that way however I realized that we choose what we become

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      • zlotybaby · September 29, 2015

        To certain extent 😉 If I choose to become a professional dancer I won’t become one because I don’t have a talent for that.

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      • bklynboy59 · September 29, 2015

        Not true you do choose to be whatever you want to be and you choose how to behave, for example you can not control how someone treats you whether they call you names or be cruel to you but you choose how you react to what is being done, either you retaliate in kind or you choose to handle yourself with class and dignity and rise above it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 29, 2015

        I agree here. However, there are things that we have little control over because of our biological make up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 29, 2015

        most of our behaviors are learned not because we have little control. Most we learn we can unlearn especially the wrong behaviors.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 30, 2015

        Yes. Most 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 29, 2015

        Always happy to inspire! Thank you! A great read 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 29, 2015

        i can’t stress it enough how much we as men need to stop making excuses or have excuses made for us as to why we are failing to live up to our responsibility…

        Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby · September 30, 2015

        We all need to stop making excise – men AND women

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 30, 2015

        Agreed

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 25, 2015

        By the way isn’t that botaoshi the craziest thing you ever saw?

        Like

      • zlotybaby · September 25, 2015

        Nope, I’ve seen crazier Japanese sports actually 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • bklynboy59 · September 25, 2015

        Really???share with the rest of the class lol

        Like

      • bklynboy59 · September 25, 2015
      • zlotybaby · September 25, 2015

        It’s crazy! Japanese people are famous for organizing weird games.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. EnglishRosiee · September 22, 2015

    In the words of #alfieboo : ‘How many zloty? one zloty or two zloty?’.

    Sorry #zlotybaby I shouldn’t laugh. Stereotypes are NOT nice and I think EE’s have it pretty bad. But at least you are not living in the UK where the media would accuse you of eating swans (#saveourswans – sorry, I just couldn’t help myself!).

    As bklynboy59 says there are stereotypes associated with every ethnic group (I will do a post on being a brown-skinned Brit in the rainbow nation – it is a very confusing concept for the fragile minds of some people here) but it is certainly tougher for some groups and others. I think its especially sad when people make assumptions about one’s sexual prowess, promiscuity and the like based solely on the type of passport you hold but what to do.

    Sad sad times in our Rainbow Nation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • zlotybaby · September 29, 2015

      One of the reasons why I don’t live in Europe is precisely that – I heard enough stereotypes around. I don’t want to live somewhere where I constantly have to remind people that stereotypes are stupid and not always true. Also, it’s such a responsibility to think you’re always a representative of your ethnicity and you should be at your best behavior at all times to make sure you don’t contribute to the perpetuation of the stereotype. Thank but no thank you. I’d rather stay in SA when ppl think I’m Russian, then I can misbehave 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. MG · January 9

    Hey, I randomly found your blog and I thought it was so honest and interesting, and I love your sense of humour (commentary on comedians, and how you say
    ‘Thanks Satan’ you didn’t pay for the English comedian’s show) — it’s rare to find a blog that’s authentic blog these days, and I honestly enjoyed reading yours

    I was shocked how you got EE stereotypes in SA, I mean, I know this happens in Europe but not so far in places like SA?
    How many of those people have traveled to Europe anyway?

    Whenever EE people try and live overseas they are usually exceptional and educated people, not to mention brave to leave their home and live overseas.
    They have to overcome so many hurdles, not to mention half-baked stereotypes. You are a strong person, and I’m glad you don’t put up with nonsense

    Take care ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · January 11

      Thank you for the lovely comment. I cannot attribute everything that’s on this blog to me as it has two authors 🙂 I’m glad you like my sense of humor. There are numerous strip clubs in South Africa that are full of Eastern Europeans and I think that’s where the stereotypes mostly come from. Of course there are lots of educated and hard-working Eastern Europeans too but somehow these people don’t serve as basis of stereotypes. I agree that it’s always difficult to leave one’s country. Unfortunately, many people lack empathy. I guess that’s why people react to the refugee crisis the way they do.

      Like

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