I work contract to contract, and don’t have time to get pregnant.”This generational divide between daughters and mothers who reached adulthood on either side of 1989 supports the idea that women had more fulfilling lives during the Communist era.
And they owed this quality of life, in part, to the fact that these regimes saw women’s emancipation as central to advanced “scientific socialist” societies, as they saw themselves.
When I was her age, we had much more fun.”Last year in Jena, a university town in the former East Germany, I spoke with a recently married 30-something named Daniela Gruber.
Some even argued that men need to share housework and child rearing, otherwise there would be no good sex.”Agnieszka Koscianska, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Warsaw, told me that pre-1989 Polish sexologists “didn’t limit sex to bodily experiences and stressed the importance of social and cultural contexts for sexual pleasure.” It was state socialism’s answer to work-life balance: “Even the best stimulation, they argued, will not help to achieve pleasure if a woman is stressed or overworked, worried about her future and financial stability.”In all the Warsaw Pact countries, the imposition of one-party rule precipitated a sweeping overhaul of laws regarding the family.
Researchers marveled at this disparity in reported sexual satisfaction, especially since East German women suffered from the notorious double burden of formal employment and housework.
In contrast, postwar West German women had stayed home and enjoyed all the labor-saving devices produced by the roaring capitalist economy.
Consider Ana Durcheva from Bulgaria, who was 65 when I first met her in 2011.
Having lived her first 43 years under Communism, she often complained that the new free market hindered Bulgarians’ ability to develop healthy amorous relationships.“Sure, some things were bad during that time, but my life was full of romance,” she said.