In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, some of my Peace Corps and Armenian friends and I are working on a Domestic Violence series in our town this month. This week and next, we are going to schools and facilitating seminars on Gender Inequality and Domestic Violence. Hopefully, after the seminars are complete, we will be having a big event to give hard facts on Domestic Violence, present resources for help, show a film, and have art work and a speaker. We haven't really planned too much of that yet but hopefully, as things usually do in Armenia, it will quickly come together.
Now for any of you that really know me, you know this is right up my ally. I once bought a t-shirt off the internet that read, "This is What a Feminist Looks Like." And, I'm sure I've scared off a few guys in the past after insisting I open my own door or carry my own heavy box of whatever. But believe it or not, I have calmed down a bit here in Armenia. Or so I thought.
It wasn't until this week when I began watching my old time favorite sitcom, "I Love Lucy," that the bell in my headed started going off once again and my inner child folded her arms and squished her face while whining, "it's not fair!" I mostly watched this show (obsessively) at my Grandma's growing up and therefore was too young to pick up on the gender cues.
For instance, yesterday I watched the episode, "Sales Resistance," in Season two and this is what happened. Lucy bought a sales pitch on an infomercial and purchased a handy dandy kitchen tool. She attempted to show Ricky, Fred, and Ethel how it could be used to cut a potato into 16 identical slices for french fries. After it didn't work...
Ricky: "Lucy, either you call him and tell him to take it back or I'm going to use it to demonstrate how to cut a wife into 16 identical slices."
Lucy: "Really?" [picks up the phone to return it]
I couldn't believe it! Don't get me wrong, this is still one of my favorite shows; I absolutely love it. And, I know it is only a reflection of the culture of the time.
However, even if these strict gender roles don't exist [everywhere] in America anymore, it is very interesting to have a vision into America's past and know that these tidbits that were degrading to so many women are still real life scenarios all over the world, including right here in Armenia.
On a related theme, here is an interesting trailer I saw thanks to another PCV: