Friday, 23 March 2012

The Soviet Union might have collapsed. But the posing remains.

We were at a beach today and, sitting at the back of the truck, i decided it was a good photo opportunity. Take a picture of me, i commanded, shoving my phone into husband's hands. Take a good one, so i dont look too fat or too old. I tried sitting up straight, sucking everything in and gazing at the horizon.

Honestly, husband laughed, what is it with you, the Soviets, and the posing for photographs? The Soviet Union might have collapsed years ago, but the posing surely, remained!

Of course, he is, as usual, right. We, ex-soviets, love to pose for photographs. Especially the women.

Recently, i had a good laugh looking at a picture taken in the office of an oil company in Baku. In the photo, which was taken on the international womens' day, eight beautiful young women sat at the table with a huge bouquet of flowers each. And everything about this photo was so Soviet, you could easily think it was taken sometime in the 70es in a Krasniy Oktyabr factory, where a group of young Udarnitsas were celebrating the big day. You would have never thought these were the girls working for a modern western company. How is that possible, i was wondering to myself. Why is that? Why do our women pose so artificially, in such embarassingly silly way?

It is like in Zoolander-one of those fantastic silly movies that are just great. What look was that? The Magnum. In our case it is the Soviet look. Oh, what look was that? The Soviet one again. Here is me posing on the back of the truck today...gazing into the horizon like a soviet Komsomolka. And here is me posing in front of a tree...pozing like a Soviet Kompomolka, again.

It is something that unites us, women from the ex-Soviet countries. You can spot us posing anywhere in the world, in front of beaches, buildings and trees. There are various ways we pose. We can be smiling, gazing into the distance or looking dramatic...but whatever we do, however hard we try to look natural, we all have this unmistakable Soviet look that nobody else can get even if they tried.

Tonight, looking through the photos of today, i tried to choose one of me on the beach to put up on Facebook. There was one where i looked more natural, but with a silly hat on. There was another one where I looked pretty normal, too but I did not think i looked as slim in that one. So, in the end, the Soviet-gazing at the horizon- won. I know it looks fake and a bit pathetic, but the legs and the chest looked the best.

9 comments:

  1. You really made me laugh.
    I'm convinced that the only ones who look great in pictures are the children. Have you seen a child who isn't photogenic?

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  2. so true!!! you made me laugh :) please share some photos, i'm very curious to see

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  3. And what's up with Azeri men and the obligatory pictures of them at the office desk? With their pack of cigarettes next to the keyboard and a somber look on their faces?

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  4. Haha, Riad, you are right! Those guys think smiling on the pictures is unmanly. And a pack of cigarettes is another sign of 'manliness'.

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  5. Forgive my off-topic question, Scary, but as a person coming from a former Soviet and at the same time Muslim country, would you classify Azerbaijan as more secular or more religious? It'd be really interesting for me since I don't know much about the place. How did Soviet times influence you, guys? I know that different people would give different answers, but as I said, I'm genuinely interested in your perspective.
    Brit

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    1. I understand it is not as religious as many other muslim countries. this might be changing somewhat, as I have not lived there for a while. but the influence of the soviet times, and russian culture is still strong.

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  6. I may have an unrelated comment, but it also concerns appearances. I am on the Russian version of the classmates website, and have connected to some of my fellow students back from Baku. Some of them have put on a lot of weight since then. No judging here, just stating the facts. And I am puzzled that all their friends just gush about how fabulous they look on the pictures sporting short and tight outfits and size DDD bras, when they are clearly FAT. Is it a cultural thing? I know it is hard to tell your friend she is obese. But I am also thinking that perhaps my perceptions of what is beautiful have changed after years of living in the West. I know the supermodels we see in magazines is not what average women should look like. But being clearly obese is not pretty either.

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    1. Don't you live in the country with a huge percentage of obese people, including children?
      I dont think it is anything to do with your perception changing because of living in the west. Those guys just do what everyone does- "like" the photos while comparing to the way they look, thinking wow, this one look so fat these days! And feeling better about themselves.

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  7. I'm from Baku and wery nice blog thanks

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