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. 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

  2. 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

    • 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

  3. 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

    • 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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