It’s my turn on the Snow Job: The Great Game by Jenni Ferchenko, today and I have the author joining me with a great guest post.
Thoughts on the #metoo movement, by Natalia (the protagonist’s mom)
Ghostwritten by Jenni Ferchenko
It’s not that I wasn’t good-looking or attractive when I was younger – but I’ve never been sexually harassed, or kissed or grabbed against my will. Women like me, who were born in the USSR shortly after the Second World War, did not really know what it was to be paid less than men, have fewer rights or be unequally represented.
This is simply because there were no men. Most of them either were killed or went missing during the war, or were prisoners of the Soviet regime.
We were left to take care of a destroyed and dysfunctional country.
While many western women had no right to vote in elections, in our country we were often the only voters left. While most of them had to become housewives, often giving up any career ambitions, we were flying aircraft, driving trams and trains, running factories and state industries. In the early sixties we even sent the first woman into space.
Personally, I was in charge of a political organization for young people before they became full party members.
It was truly the best time of my life. We had a very clear structure with a top-down hierarchy, all united by the same idea – equality across borders. Naturally, there was no difference between men and women. Everybody was a comrade.
Yes, there were many things we did not have. More than 90% of the country’s GDP was spent on defence, and we were proud of it. However, things like designer clothes, health and beauty products, and even basic items like sanitary towels and nappies simply did not exist in our world. But we also did not have sexual harassment. In fact, the whole concept of sex was so taboo that it was considered shameful even to think about it. It would have been absolutely unthinkable for a colleague to grab me or stick his tongue down my throat, as women often accuse men of doing these days.
Hypothetically speaking, if such a thing had happened, I would have had him removed from his job, forced out of the Party and handed over to the police.
Yet such a situation was highly unlikely to occur, because the boys who worked for me were always diligent, hardworking and respectful. It could not have been any other way.
This was the product our nurseries and schools were tasked to produce. This is also the type of guy I married. Needless to say, I was the one wearing the trousers and making all the decisions in my marriage. I transferred my work management techniques to my household, and had it all under control – I would distribute tasks and expect them to be duly executed. Did I care how the others felt? What kind of question is that? We just needed to get the job done.
End of story.
But me, I felt the need to be loved. Really loved, not just out of duty. I wanted passion, and butterflies in my stomach. Someone who would really care about me, who could say “Don’t worry about anything. I’ll sort it out”, so I could feel like a little girl, vulnerable and insecure.
Instead, the vulnerable and insecure ones were the men around me. Most of them were afraid to even look at me. I used to yell at my husband in desperation, demanding that he become a little bit more ‘man’ – grab me, tame me, take at least some initiative …
As the years passed, I got worn out in the office. Times changed and so did our country’s leaders – our most valuable resources were now in the hands of a group of naughty overgrown schoolboys. Forbidden fruit being extra tasty, they got all-inclusive access to sex, luxury and power in all their forms. They often took women for granted, using and abusing them. For allowing all this to happen, Eastern European women gained a reputation as material girls.
At no point did women in the region have a chance to be feminine or allow themselves to be cherished by an emotionally mature, self-sufficient man. By intimidating men, we stifled the development of the strong, masculine character – and this is the risk I see with the #metoo movement.
Don’t get me wrong – I am in awe of the brave, strong women who stand up and speak their truth. But the thing is, we women can be so much stronger than men. We can overpower and scare them off before we even realise it. However, at the end of the day, we may be the ones regretting it. No matter how successful we are or how much money we have, at some point we will all want to be hugged by a strong, secure man who’ll say: “Don’t worry. I’ll sort it out”.
Clink Street Publishing (1 Feb. 2018)
When young associate Katya Kuznetsova loses her job at Lehman Brothers in London, she takes up a new investment banking role in Moscow, Russia. Determined to succeed, Katya finds herself trapped by her lifestyle. At the same time she tries to prove her self-worth but subconsciously engages in self-punishment, including ever more destructive sex, alcohol and drug abuse. Eventually, things get out of control, leading to the dreadful consequences Katya is trying to fix, humiliating herself and losing everything she owns; but she finds something, which was always there, she just couldn’t see it, something priceless… Snow Job: The Great Game is the first novel by Jenni Ferchenko.
About the author …
After growing up under Communist rule in the Ukraine Jenni Ferchenko established a career in the finance sector after achieving an internship with Lehman’s Brothers, London back in 2006. Her years within the sector working between London and Moscow has provided the inspiration behind her debut novel. Today Jenni Ferchenko lives in an undisclosed location enjoying a quieter life as a singer-songwriter and author. She has also written original songs to accompany the release of her debut novel.