Today’s Song: If March 8th Was a Song, It’d Be Manizha’s “Russian Woman”

Manizha © 2021
Manizha is leading a necessary revolution involving women, refugees, and the working class, all with one, powerful song: “Russian Woman.”
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Listen: “Russian Woman” – Manizha

When someone tries to point out to me that our society is not patriarchal at all, I have to laugh. Let’s even consider our cultural heritage: how many times have us women been told that by the time we’re 30 (or even earlier) our “biological clock” is ticking and we should have children as soon as possible? Or again, how embarrassing and humiliating is it to be asked at a job interview if you plan to become a mother (knowing full well what you’d have to say in order to get the job)?

Russian Woman – Manizha

Even if we get away from the maternity talk, things don’t change at all. We have to think about losing weight, putting on make-up, and dressing well just to find our prince charming. But that makeup is too heavy, and that skirt? Don’t even think about it, it’s too short! If you get harassed don’t even try to complain, you asked for it.

Come on, give us a break. It’s impossible to think, in 2021, that the life of every single woman is to revolve around a man and to please him in every aspect – as if every woman was only attracted to men, but let’s not go too much into that. Luckily, many female artists are waging a real battle for women’s rights, from Izzy B. Phillips of Black Honey to gorgeous singer Manizha and her folk-rap piece “Russian Woman.”

Should I wait for a helpful hand?
Who will reach out for me, girls?
For ages now
From night till dawn
From the deepest of the night
We are waiting for a ship
A sailing ship
Waiting very much
From night till dawn
Waiting for a ship
Waiting for a ship
But what’s the wait?
Stand up, let’s go!
Every Russian woman
needs to know
You strong enough to bounce against the wall

In just one song, Manizha is a spokesperson for women, workers, and refugees. She herself knows what it means to have to run away from your homeland (Tajikistan, in this case), be the breadwinner, and resist every overbearing form of misogyny. It’s no coincidence that the huge dress the singer wears at the beginning of her Eurovision 2021 performance is a collection of patches by women from all over Russia.

This diversity is one of the many characteristics of the “Russian Woman” that the artist talks about. She is a woman who turns out to be strong, independent, free from the captivity to which she has been subjected until now. She knows what she’s capable of, she works hard to get what she wants and, above all, she knows she doesn’t need a helpful hand to survive. And here’s where the dress that Manizha wears in the rest of the performance comes into play, a red worker’s jumpsuit. A sort of metamorphosis and breaking down of stereotypes because every woman can be a worker and a princess, making herself beautiful while going to a job that allows her to support herself.

Manizha © Egor Shabanov

Some say that Manizha doesn’t really represent Russian women, that they are fine just like that, that there was absolutely no need for such a song – especially in a competition like Eurovision. Yet, is it really pointless to talk about gender-based violence when in many countries there are no actual laws against domestic violence? Is it just a case that if a woman tries to report it, she is laughed at despite having clear evidence of what is happening to her?

Are there problems in the relationship with her husband? Couples fight all the time, you know. The bruises? She must have fallen down the stairs, of course! Besides, whoever forced her to marry a man like that? She did all of this on her own!  She did, didn’t she? It’s all our fault. And if among those who, reading this article, do not realize the paradoxical situation in which women live today, it is necessary to repeat this. “Russian Woman” is more necessary than ever. It is essential to sing it in the squares, take it to heart and remind everyone of its message. We are all Russian Women, and we must remember that we are strong enough, we’re gonna break the wall.

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Listen: “Russian Woman” – Manizha

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