Russian Word of the Day: бесплодие-infertility
November 15, 2012
This week’s words are coming from old posters. Well, infertility is not necessarily a common theme on these posters but this poster portrays a very firmly held belief in Russian culture. So I had to include it.
You don’t have to be in Russia long before you start getting yelled at by бабушки for the various culturally unacceptable things that you are doing, like going outside with wet hair, not wearing a hat, not wearing a warm enough hat, not wearing a scarf, not wearing a warm enough scarf, not using an umbrella and so on.
One of the first things you might get scorned for is sitting on the ground. RUSSIANS DO NOT SIT ON THE GROUND, they think your reproductive organs will freeze and cause infertility. I’ve tried to figure this one out. I can see how maybe sitting on the concrete in the middle of winter(especially a winter in Russia) could maybe give your bum cheeks frost bite but I don’t understand how it could freeze your ovaries.
My first week in Moscow I was with a group of American girls and we were waiting in a long line to see Lenin. So we sat on the ground while we were waiting (This was in August). Immediately a crowd of people started shouting at us not to do that, that we wouldn’t be able to have children and so on.
So that is why I love this poster. It reminds me of all of the times I was told I wouldn’t be able to have children because of something I was doing.
This poster is from 2007. Right about the time when the younger generation was becoming more and more westernized in their way of dressing and in their disregard for their elders’ opinions. Now you see girls in mini-skirts all the time in Moscow, even in the winter. All the while Babushki look on in disgust.
I’ve never been one to wear belly shirts or mini skirts but I have sat on the ground a lot in my life. But those Babushki who shouted at us with such concern to not sit on the ground there in Red Square as we waited to see Lenin will be relieved to know that I have two healthy children, both of whom were conceived with ease.