Violence against women x 2

This probably belongs on Sociological Images, but I am going to post it here anyway.  I just read this brief 2010 article about violence against women in Russia, after reading through this fact sheet from the World Health Organization.  Then when I looked back at the article, I noticed something that seemed off.  Here’s a screenshot, see if you can figure it out:

Women as targets of violence, in more ways than one.  Sometimes it’s more overt, sometimes it’s a hidden under the surface–like this ad that just happened to be posted alongside an article about violence against women.  It’s one of those ads that changes every time you refresh the page.  It’s just kind of one of those quotidian digital moments that can bring various strands or currents of our social world together.  Different forms of violence, different layers, coming together in a supposedly coincidental moment.  But sometimes these kinds of moments tell us a lot about larger issues, problems, and pervasive forms of violence.


Ryan Anderson is a cultural and environmental anthropologist. His current research focuses on coastal conservation, sustainability, and development in the Californias. He also writes about politics, economics, and media. You can reach him at ryan AT savageminds dot org or @anthropologia on twitter.

8 thoughts on “Violence against women x 2

  1. Is the violence in the ad due to her looks, the commercial aspect, the lack of romanticism, all of this and more?

    Partnership has hardly ever been completely dissociated from economic concerns. I know alot has been written on the difference between bridal payment currencies and plain cold cash.

    What’s with capitalism that makes those things seem awful?

    [fyi, im not defending the advertisement or that kind of service (I don’t know if it’s an add for escorts, one of those match making social websites or to buy a “wife”, or if it even matters what it is) just opening a possible debate with a few questions]

  2. CarlosFM: as for your questions about the source of violence, what about starting with the exploitation gender/class/georacial inequalities and hierarchies such that these Russian women are effectively compelled to sell themselves to men (who are de facto able to use the power asymmetry to abuse these women, or at the very least reproduce the kinds of structural inequalities which makes these mail-order bride services possible in the first place) because they don’t have better options for socio-economic mobility? Is it easier to see the violence if you think about whether or not you would want to trade on your looks and de facto sell yourself to a foreign man so as to escape unemployment, poverty?

  3. So it is the probable compelling that makes it violent, and geographical/class/gender assymetry, and possibly the wedlock. What about when it is done [i]apparently[i] willyfully (that’s how the media portraits it) like on those “girl looking for sugar daddy” sites?

    There was a post or two on a burlesque museum on this blog. I didn’t get around to read them fully, but is that categorically violent too? Or did enough feminist/gender scholars explore the topic to make it ironic/empowering/what-is-it? Is it because there is no intercourse involved (as far as we know there is none in the advertisement either)?

    Any trade that deals with sex will intuitively evoke moral repugnance (judeo-christian heritage, perhaps).

  4. I mean, it is easy to see violence against women :

    A: Because it is there.
    B: Because women are seen as inherently vulnerable.

    Or has patriarchy been around for so long, it’s ideology culturally so pervasive that women are somehow “objectively” more vulnerable in any given situaiton.

    You rarely hear someone say “Poor guy” when talking about male dancers for example.

  5. Ryan, how about a post on structural inequality, power, the neoliberal discourse(s) of ‘choice’ (masking what are socially-constrained/limited/coerced decisions and actions), and structural and symbolic violence, to answer CarlosFM’s questions? Seems to me this is exactly why anthropology needs to engage issues of power and privilege more often.

  6. Ryan, apropos of your commendable willingness to address violence against women in this post, I think it is worth engaging this issue in relation to how such forms of violence present in the academy in general, and in academic anthropology in particular: especially in light of this most recent tweet by the Association for Feminist Anthropologists ( and the Inside Higher Ed article to which it links ( This discussion is worth having in relation to issues of structural and symbolic violence I mentioned in my previous response to CarlosFM, especially since it relates to previous comments about how anthropologists can be complicit in serious forms of gendered violence, such as Jim Kim covering up hazing and sexual assaults at Dartmouth, or the abuse that was/is covered up by this Savage Minds censorship (/2010/02/08/receivership-berkley-anthro-or-ddr/).

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