Cold, Dry, Secretive, Boring German Women: The View from Almaty

just flew in from almaty

One of my favorite movie lines comes from the overlooked gem Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. My hazy memory of the set-up: Some rich socialite declares her intention to raze all the trees on a stretch of the Amazon rainforest she owns and build a giant mall. Her sycophantic gay amanuensis (hairdresser? interior designer?), cradling a yapping Pekingese in his arms, lisps excitedly: "What a horrible, fabulous thing to say!"

Roissy in DC, a blogger who applies the pitiless revelations of evolutionary psychology to the contemporary dating world*, is an excellent source for horrible, fabulous things. His blog's motto, "Where Pretty Lies Perish", pretty much says it all. Don't say you haven't been warned.

One Roissy find is a study conducted by a Kazakh gender studies researcher on Kazakh womens' views of women of other nationalities. That is, what stereotypes do Kazakh women associate with chicks from other countries? I'm not really sure why this study was conducted, but why nitpick when we can learn such things about Uigurettes as "she is a hospitable cook, a good hand in cooking lagman; lagman and manty are her best cooked dishes and she can cook economically from everything she has under her hand." "Dungan woman", however, "is associated with national dish – Dungan noodles, lagman, as well as djussai herb, carrot salad, funchesa salad." Good to know!

But there's more. Much, much more. Here are the traits Kazakh women associated with German women:

Probably, the most typical ethnographic image of German woman, known from textbooks, is a blonde in white flounced apron, with plump hands, shaking off flour.

German woman usually is bright-eyed blonde, often stout, plump, sometimes wan, awkward, plain. Often respondents present German woman as unattractive, thin, without make-up, manlike. Undoubtedly, she is a good housewife and spouse, she has a strong united family. One can easily guess which features are typical for German woman in the most concentrated way, serving as a national attribute. They are accuracy, cleanliness and pedantry. This is supplemented by practicality, prudence, diligence, strictness, discipline, thrift, solid sense, honesty, punctuality and we have a business portrait of German woman. However she is characterized with poor spiritual qualities: coldness, dryness, cruelty, secretiveness, boring.

Physically, these Kazakhs are all over the place. Some are thinking of Ulrike Meinhoff, while others are thinking of an Oktoberfest beer-tent maiden. But there seems to be uncanny unanimity on the 'spiritual' qualities. But wait, what about the Americans?

American woman is described in quite contradictory way. Most amazing is a negative estimation of her appearance. There are many variations on this topic: not well-groomed, not stylish, does not dress well, not fashionable clothes, not ironed shorts and T-shirt, sleepers, put on bare feet, elderly woman in shorts, emancipated woman, for whom it is not important how she looks, a girl without make-up, happy fatty woman, stout and shapeless person, a short hair-cut, a knapsack, waddling walk, tennis shoes, dentures, plain, manlike, unisex. Positive estimations are given less frequently: smiling, loudly speaking, stylish blonde, jeans, jeep, cowboy hat, cigarette, uncommonness.

Knowing a kind of our sampling (activists of female organizations and researchers of gender issues), we are not surprised, that most people relate image of American woman with achievements of the female movement in the USA: feminist, independent, free, self-sufficient, uninhibited, emancipated, enjoying equal rights, wealthy, hater of men.

Besides, American women are emotional, uninhibited so much, that they look ill-mannered, snobs, arrogant, hypocritical, empty, with complexes, cold, dry, egoists, superficial, non-constant and impudent.  Their actions are often characterized with regulated character, black and colored women are distinguished with a habit to rely on social support and not to undertake anything to change their life.

Despite this, business qualities of the majority of American women – intellect, professionalism, activeness, self-confidence, discipline pragmatism, career-mindness – are worth of great respect.

I could go on, but I'd just end up copying the entire study, which you can and should read for yourself. To find out, among other things, which women are "not attractive, nothing extraordinary, a grey bird in everyday life, but she can show off with her night beauty; often she is bow-legged and has a voice of smoking person. She is free and not alien to feminism, but prefers to remain within proprieties and good manners. The main thing, of course, that she is light-minded, frivolous, uninhibited, romantic, inspired, very popular with men and she has no equals, full of love."

* Briefly, Roissy's worldview is this: Almost everything men and women say about what they find attractive in partners is nonsense. It's rationalization driven by societal expectation, and has little or nothing to do with how most men and women actually behave. Men are attracted 95% by looks, and have been equipped by evolution with a drive to inseminate as many young, attractive females as they can get away with. All things being equal, the men who have the highest status and the most dominant personalities (alpha males) are always going to get the most nookie. The man's ideal position is to find a stable, reliable partner who will raise his children, while (as the wife ages) simultaneously enjoying occasional flings with young hotties. This is why so many cultures permit men to marry multiple wives, or unofficially recognize a responsible married man's 'right' to a mistress.

Women, on the other hand, are attracted mainly by a man's indicators of status. Cash, titles, dominance, physical size, respect shown him by other men, roguish charm. Women may claim to be attracted to sensitive, caring, honest wimps, but actually have sex with aloof, domineering bad boys. The ideal set up for most women is to find an meek, easily-dominated beta-male provider to marry. Then, have the occasional fling with the hot bass player/tennis pro/biker. Extra points if beta-male husband is willing to raise the offspring of the alpha males, who sure aren't going to stick around to do that themselves.

Not sure I agree 100% here, but the paradigm certainly does have some explanatory power.

9 thoughts on “Cold, Dry, Secretive, Boring German Women: The View from Almaty

  1. I just so happen to have read up on the subject of this worldview yesterday, and it appears that there is not much in the way of empirical proof for it. With social Darwinism and simplistic “biological explanations” of human behaviour being once again en vogue these days, it’s no wonder it’s popular, though.


  2. …the paradigm certainly does have some explanatory power.
    Sure, if you want to explain mainstream movie plots…

    I readily admit to liking “rough charm” and “dominance”, but there’s such a huge range of different interpretations for what constitutes those traits that it’s impossible to define them across all women, or even a small sample of women. I’m surprised sometimes by the guys I myself get crushes on (Toby Ziegler – really???).
    Sexual attraction is enormously complex and, as such, an easy target for all kinds of ideological nutjobs who just want to further their own aims.


  3. First, mawa, ev. psych. and social Darwinism are completely distinct. Social Darwinism implies a ‘devil take the hindmost’ attitude toward social organization — a bunch of normative prescriptions as to how society should operate. The most reputable ev. psych. scholars don’t do prescriptive, and even when they do, they almost never endorse anything like social Darwinism. Most ev. psych. scholars are, in fact, nice ordinary bourgeois-liberal college professors!

    Cohu — actually, many mainstream movie plots run contrary to the principles of mate selection. Besides, people such as you and I are not in a very good position to judge the behavior of the broad masses, since we’re part of an infinitesimally small fraction of the population who are highly educated and who have imbibed a set of cultural predispositions that leads us to downplay ‘primitive’ or ‘atavistic’ or ‘superficial’ social behaviors.

    When it comes to the behavior of more normal people, though, evolutionary psychology gives rise to hypotheses/predictions that are useful in explaining things such as cosmetic surgery, divorce rates by age and gender group, rates of child abuse among biologically-related and non-biologically related family members, gender-based differences in the rate of violent crime, the fact that something like 99.8% of women marry men who are taller than them, even though random selection would predict 15-20% of marriages in the opposite direction, etc.

    I find the better works of evolutionary psychology, such as “Homicide” by Wilson and Daly, to be tremendously eye-opening and stimulating. I also find curious and intriguing the irrational, reflexive hostility to ev. psych. that you encounter among many sections of the educated elite. All standards of reasoned argumentation fly out the window as soon as you suggest that evolution might explain some of humanity’s most obvious and universal behaviors!


  4. “…we’re part of an infinitesimally small fraction of the population who are highly educated and who have imbibed a set of cultural predispositions that leads us to downplay ‘primitive’ or ‘atavistic’ or ‘superficial’ social behaviors.”

    Downplay such behaviors, but not engage in them?

    Academic competition is renowned for its viciousness. Higher education is no guarantee of moral probity. Sayre’s Law, and so on.


  5. > and it appears that there is not much in
    > the way of empirical proof for it

    He just so happens to have read up on the subject–yesterday!–and gives us his word on his insights’ pertinence. Yay. So good to see that our learned friend gives ample, overwhelming substance to his argument–I’m particularly partial to the versed use of apostrophes; such a slick, quick thinker. Though ‘Deppenapostroph‘ (GWW?) means something different, it seems fitting here. Tax payer’s money was well spent on the education, sentimental and otherwise, of this member of the babbling classes. How much good will he do. Moping mawa rulz ok.

    > I find the better works of evolutionary psychology, such as
    > “Homicide” by Wilson and Daly, to be tremendously
    > eye-opening and stimulating

    Which, of course, isn’t true of the classics, because, hey, they really suck at “explaining things by age,” “gender”, or, well, you know, about any other group tenureship, prospective or conquered, forbids to even think about. However, el sueño de la razón produce monstruos, some of which comment. Think about it. No, not you mawa, you’re excused.


  6. related–some, well, evolutionary food for thought:
    The looming crisis in human genetics, Geoffrey Miller,

    We will also identify the many genes that create physical and mental differences across populations, and we will be able to estimate when those genes arose. Some of those differences probably occurred very recently, within recorded history. Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending argued in “The 10,000 Year Explosion” that some human groups experienced a vastly accelerated rate of evolutionary change within the past few thousand years, benefiting from the new genetic diversity created within far larger populations, and in response to the new survival, social and reproductive challenges of agriculture, cities, divisions of labour and social classes. Others did not experience these changes until the past few hundred years when they were subject to contact, colonisation and, all too often, extermination.

    If the shift from GWAS to sequencing studies finds evidence of such politically awkward and morally perplexing facts, we can expect the usual range of ideological reactions, including nationalistic retro-racism from conservatives and outraged denial from blank-slate liberals. The few who really understand the genetics will gain a more enlightened, live-and-let-live recognition of the biodiversity within our extraordinary species—including a clearer view of likely comparative advantages between the world’s different economies.

    Kultur verändert die Gene, Der Spiegel 29/2008
    Der US-Mediziner Nicholas Christakis über die überschätzte Macht des Erbguts, die Wirkung sozialer Ansteckung und die erstaunliche Geschwindigkeit der menschlichen Evolution.

    Sagen wir, das Leben in Städten wäre intellektuell besonders anspruchsvoll und würde Städter intelligenter machen. Wenn das stimmt, dann könnten innerhalb einiger Generationen Menschen entstehen, welche diesen Vorteil des Stadtlebens in ihren Genen tragen. Diese Überlegenheit gegenüber den Landbewohnern wäre eine sehr überraschende und besorgniserregende Entwicklung.

    Worrisome, indeed. Must do something. If this doesn’t help, let’s ask for comprehensive education reform till we got this apalling inequality straightened out. Repeat process as needed. Of course, the interviewer refrained from asking the obvious, say, if cities are the only geographical entities able to foster such horrid development. You know, folks getting brighter, but not all, not to the same extent, all of this not being trivial socially, politically, and economically.

    Anyway, let’s stop this racio-fascist, social Darwinist crime think here, so mawa need not file a complaint with his local Kampf gegen Rechts chapter. Though he surely is swift ticking boxes in forms. Besides pursuing, well, studies on gender, area, and issues. Mawa, you must be one happy little fellow, for being so open and unabashed in plain view of the infinitesimally small fraction of the population that is your peers. Infinitesimally small fraction. Infinitesimally. Andrew, you’re great, and you know it. Sometimes I wonder if you’re feasting on stronger stuff than Euro Shopper ambrosia, at least occasionally. Don’t we all need to blow our noses now and then, listen to rarest-spun heaven metal tunes, and dash out words, and thoughts, of power?

    Faintly related: could it be that we’re being extra nice to the naughties of morondom, pious and otherwise, because we consider ourselves only infinitesimally related to their plights, worries, and inadequacies? Actually, infinitesimally related to just about anyone’s worries, he, she, or it not belonging to our infinitesimally small faction? Thank God for us troubled secular Christians being able to make up in most ingenious ways for the kinky stuff we white people like at the expense, neglect, and disregard of the other, we care for twice double bound with an extra helping of mashed potatoes in contrite return. Which often makes for a convenient object–and display–of academic excellence, so we can publish, not perish. Double whammy. One way or the other, we always end up ingratiating ourselves, slick bastards that we are. I mean, if our infinitesimally small fraction doesn’t care for itself, who would? The proles? Heck no, particularly not the autochthonous variant, which is very ugly, so we import their exogenous cousins, as a new people of our choice ensures eternal social-democrat majorities. We care for them, sort of, and they vote for us. Let’s give ourselves a hand. Even mawa may clap with his tiny paws.


  7. It’s nice that after all these years I am apparently still able to extract so much gibberish from Mr Möhling with so little effort. Googling this site shows that he seems to bring up my name a lot even when not replying to one of my comments, which suggests the kind of bizarro infatuation with me that my overinflated ego loves so much to be at the receiving end of. Keep up the good work and stay off the streets, kid.


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