Many compatriots today declare their adherence to the traditional family values of the Russian people. What exactly they mean by family values and traditions is not a fully explained question, because each of us has our own family experience, depending on age and social status.
The seemingly unchanging role of a woman as guardian of the family hearth in the last century has been greatly shaken by the modernization of the hearth. Archaic peasant life very strictly determined labor duties, but in the 20s, when a mass migration from villages to cities began, the situation changed, and at first – not for the better for the woman. Now, men and women mostly both worked, but housework was still (traditionally) entirely down to the woman.
And life required a great deal of strength. There was no refrigerator, so food had to be cooked every day and also provisions had to be purchased (taking into account the inevitable queues in the 30s, food shortages). With all the simplicity of eating habits: soup, porridge, jelly, potatoes, herring, pickled cucumbers, it was still necessary to take meat, butter, milk, eggs with the fight. It is not enough to buy – it is necessary to process, store. Glass bottles and jars were insufficient. There are no plastic bags, the products are wrapped in newspapers, fabric bags are sewn, each tin is worth its weight in gold!
When the children and husband returned, a pot of hot potatoes wrapped in layers of newspaper was kept under the pillow. Butter, if it was, was saved in water. In winter, meat can be hung on a string bag outside the window.
It is cooked on kerosene or kerosene. I tried, long. Just boil the milk, but you also had to boil the flax. Bed linen, underwear, etc. large digestion tanks in which it is bleached. Linen was also starched. Clothes at that time were mostly white, with dyes it was not so safe, remember in the movies – everyone is in white pants and jackets, girls are in white stockings and light dresses … What is washed must be ironed. Iron is heated on coals, heavy, cast iron. Of course, they did not wash so often, they put protective devices in separate dirty places – aprons, sleeves, collars, washed separately …
And cleaning – no vacuum cleaner, bucket and rag. If it is parquet, it is necessary to rub the floors twice a year. At the same time, there is no hot water in the house, if there is running water, thank you. They went to the river to do laundry in small towns.
Women in the city had to dress, not in the country style, which you can get by with a shirt and skirt in the summer. Townspeople are required to wear socks with belts, shorts (and warm trousers in winter), a bra made by a tailor, a hat or at least a beret. There were a few things, they needed to be fixed, and a woman does that – she needs to be able to put on a suit, put patches on her elbows, knit wooden cork socks, have knit mittens and scarves. What about shoes? Curling yourself or wearing shoes for a shoemaker, wearing heels, knocking out heels that fall all the time.
All this is the norm for a prosperous, happy life without war and oppression (and there were wars, arrests, exiles, resettlement of entire peoples).
And yet – there are no contraceptives, there is only a shower and a shared bathroom, and they live in the same room in a shared apartment, where their mother-in-law and children sleep nearby. From good memories – a vacation spent with relatives not in the village, but in a sanatorium in Yalta, for this a dress with a sailor collar was specially sewn, and a straw hat was purchased. And on the way back, the hard pears were packed in a fiber suitcase (they ripened over time).
The generation born in the 30s and matured in the 60s lived differently. There was a qualitative change in the way of life. Citizens began to move to new apartments, albeit small, and to buy household appliances.
The refrigerator solved the food problem, the soup was cooked for three days. Cutlets could be bought for cooking, sausages and meatballs appeared, linen was put on clothes, numbers were sewn on sheets, a TV came out, and under their programs it was possible to iron with an electric iron. Yes, and what to iron – new fabrics with the exotic names “cripmlen”, “jersey”, “nylon” did not require ironing. Comfortable knitwear became common and bologna raincoats began to be worn. In some homes, washing machines also appear, which are not yet automatic: it was necessary to place and spin the laundry manually, but you could not boil it or rinse it. The first vacuum cleaners to resemble space rockets. Long live progress!
Coffee in coffee cups, sofas, tape recorders. First trips to socialist countries. Hiking, canoeing, men cook, women wash dishes. Children are born in maternity hospitals and understand that they need to be educated, not just fed, hello Doctor Spock…
By the end of the century, women could feel even more free. Even the eternal curse of mothers – diapers – was gradually replaced by diapers. Milk formulas, fruit and vegetable puree jars, plastic bottles and aprons made the feeding process easier.
And kangaroo bags! And washing machines! And goodbye iron, you don’t need to iron anything. Women have a miracle: they have their own car, with which they can go to the first supermarkets … Foreign vaccines, vaccinations with vitamins, you can have a glass of wine and chips in the evening, in winter we eat strawberries and cucumbers , children should not be beaten, pampered, sleep next to them, not with her husband, and the nanny is better than a mother-in-law is a helper.
In the 21st century, the generation of our adult children lives in a completely different way: they have the Internet at their service, ready-to-eat groceries and food for pets. Clothes are thrown away intact, they travel with carry-on luggage – we buy everything you need on the spot. For guests – disposable tableware. Conscious – smoothies, healthy eating, environmental awareness, separate waste collection.
Family life, where the woman was the main workforce, was reduced to a minimum, freeing up her time to think about her personal destiny. He had a choice, options, freedom. Many of the reasons for living in a traditional family, where the husband is paid for hard physical work and the woman is more slender but also physically easier to work at home, have vanished. Economically, such a division is no longer based on anything.
Only the cultural, i.e. mental, constraints remained. But they’re also losing ground, staying only in the most dormant minds.
Village women surrounding the truck shop share with the saleswoman: “Same but blue or black? My blue (yellow, red) will not wear. Our male color is khaki. War and hunting are truly male occupations. But you know, recently I saw a family on the Volga with fishing rods: mother, daughter and grandmother enthusiastically threw fishing rods, changed bait, exchanged observations and seemed completely happy.
The author expresses his personal opinion, which may not coincide with the editors’ position.