A provocative article in a popular Russian tabloid, shaming women as 'whores' for their hospitality and romance with foreign fans during the World Cup, has triggered an avalanche of criticism and heated debate on women's rights.
The controversial piece, entitled "The time of whores: Russian women disgrace their country and themselves during the Mundial," has brought Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) over half a million clicks in less than a day and was widely reposted and discussed on social media.
The author, Platon Besedin, wrote that, while the coaches and footballers praised the organization of the World Cup, and the visiting fans claim that, contrary to what they’d been led to believe about Russia, it turned out to be an awesome country with welcoming people, the Russian women are working hard to maintain the sad stereotype that "they are for sale."
"Not all of them are like this, of course, but the black sheep bring shame on the whole flock. And let's be frank, there's quite a lot of those black sheep," Besedin claimed, adding that social media is full of videos of interactions between foreign fans and local women, who "behave like shabby broads with low social responsibility."
"We've raised a generation of whores, ready to spread their legs to only the sound of foreign speech. And if they're also shown a dollar then it's absolutely perfect for them," he stated. The author went on to blame such behavior of the country's females on the "degradation of Russian men, who are both weak and irresponsible."
The article was initially, provocatively entitled "The Generation of Whores," but was swiftly retitled in the wake of the public outcry. The few commentators who agreed with Besedin's narrative were vastly outnumbered by those who decried the article as utter nonsense and a deliberate provocation.
"Women having sex, with whom they want. Just like men. What a horror," one of the Twitter users wrote. She was backed by a commentator who said: "There is sex in our country, so I don't understand such statements… Let them have fun with the foreigners, and our guys should rock out with the foreign female fans."
"Everybody has his own life and own morals. Better go and spend some time with your wife, OK?" another user urged. "Hello, my name is Marina, I am a whore because I'm strolling through Nikolskaya [street]," another girl wrote from the main hotspot for fans in Moscow during the World Cup.
Some assumed the author's own poor sexual life and jealousy to be the cause of the bitter grievance. "The Russian girls just don't let him score," a commentator said, while another suggested that Besedin was "just upset that the prices [for sexual services] spiked and he was going through sexual abstinence."
"Stop writing nasty things online. Our girls just have a good appetite. A Nigerian for breakfast. A Swede for lunch. And a Korean for dinner. Bon appetit," another commentator joked.
Many noted that accusing an entire "generation" based on the behavior of a small number of people was vile. "One sees what one wants to see. There are tramps and thieves at train stations, but it doesn't mean that the country is made up entirely of them."
Besedin was widely blasted as a provocateur, who purposely compiled his piece in order to "offend and outrage everybody." Some even suggested his intention was to trigger and incite Russian men to seek confrontations with foreigners – to the delight of international media which, up to now, are struggling to find any scary Russian hooligans.
Many on the web chose to attack the outlet that published the piece, finding it ironic that it appeared in the same paper that "advertised adult services on its pages," while others suggested that Moskovsky Komsomolets should be taken to court over the offensive publication.
Shortly before the World Cup kick-off, senior Russian lawmaker Tamara Pletnyova had faced criticism, after she warned Russian women against sex with foreign men during the month-long tournament. "Will there be the girls that will meet (with men) and become pregnant? Maybe yes, maybe no, I hope," the Communist Party member said, suggesting that the kids born from such relations will "suffer" from being raised by single mothers.
In contrast, the chairman of the Russian parliamentary Committee for Sports, Tourism and Youth, Mikhail Degtyarev, claimed that the Mundial is a historic event that should encourage more romance and love stories, with more children born from mixed marriages.
In the World Cup frenzy, food chain Burger King also found itself in hot water, after it had promised Russian women a lifetime supply of Whopper burgers for getting pregnant from star football players. The company quickly removed the controversial ad from social media and apologized, saying that the offer had turned out to be "too offensive."
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