Glasnost, Not Genetics, Made Russian Women Beautiful

Illustration for article titled Glasnost, Not Genetics, Made Russian Women Beautiful

Over on Slate yesterday, Anne Applebaum decided to pose the question, "Where Did All Those Gorgeous Russians Come From?" and then offer an answer: The collapse of the Soviet Union ushered in an era of makeup and Vogue, and, consequently, attractive Russian women! This is a notion of course, that is completely preposterous, perhaps a joke, and subject of a rebuttal on the site of The Economist today, which calls bullshit on Ms. Applebaum's theory. A writer on the magazine's Free Exchange blog says: "I agree that improved access to the means of aesthetic enhancement will generally lead to enhanced aesthetics, but I'd like to think I'd notice a towering Siberian goddess with or without spike-heeled boots and a layer of L'Oreal." Indeed!


Ms. Applebaum points out that model Natalia Vodianova, who was born in Russia and has been a Vogue cover girl, would not have had the opportunity to be the face of Calvin Klein (and move away from her mother's abusive boyfriends) in the USSR before 1989. But, points out the Free Exchange writer, clearly Vodianova had parents, so her "superior" DNA was there whether she had access to makeup or not. In other words, eff makeup, eff Vogue.

But there is one thing Russian women can thank us for: Lung cancer and drug addiction. The number of Russian females smoking cigarettes went from 7% in 1992 to almost 15% by 2003, reports UPI. Dr. Anna Gilmore from the University of Bath says, "The fact that the transnational tobacco companies have managed to drive up male smoking rates from already high levels is incredibly alarming — there is already a major demographic crisis in Russia and smoking, which already accounts for nearly half of male deaths." Deaths of Russian women from smoking are not quite as high but females will "catch up fast," Dr. Gilmore warns. Vogue, Revlon & R.J. Reynolds: Isn't globalization great?

Where Did All Those Gorgeous Russians Come From? [Slate]
The Market For Beauty And Other Excellences [The Economist]
Russian women smokers have doubled [UPI]


Hell on Heels

@AnnieGetYourFun: That's because there's no middle ground with us Eastern Europeans. You're either a 6-foot glamazon or a sturdy peasant. Weird.