Women from Central and Eastern Europe tend to be sultry femmes fatales
dancers, or both.
The Femme Fatale
version arose in the UK during the Cold War
. Tales abounded of the glamorous, alluring Russian woman who would throw herself at a visiting British businessman
, seducing him into wild, unrestrained sex acts. Later, after he'd returned home to their families, the businessman would learn that the tryst had been filmed and that pictures would go to his wife and to the government if he didn't comply with whatever demands the blackmailers made - and that the sexy vixen he'd bedded was a full colonel in the KGB
In comparison, in North America during the Cold War
this trope practically did not exist
(unless the woman was going to do a High Heel-Face Turn
). Russian women were considered to be the ugliest humans
in existence - "deformed monsters" wouldn't be putting it too strongly. Ryan Stiles
's comment ("Russia! Our women look like men!") might be understating the point. Johnny Carson wasn't the only comedian to base entire comedy sets on the purported hideousness of all Russian women, but he was the most famous - and hundreds of comedians copied him.
A more common stereotype nowadays is that the entire region consists of Ugly Guys and their Hot Wives
... see Husky Russkie
See also The Baroness
(a specific Character Archetype
), Sexy Scandinavian
Note that the personality and function of the character in the story matters. A Slavic character that is good-looking does not automatically count; a Slavic character that uses her sex appeal to seduce, manipulate, distract or beguile a main character does count.
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Anime & Manga
- Irina Jelavic from Assassination Classroom, a Russian assassin specializing in seduction.
- Parodied and subverted with Ukraine and Belarus in Axis Powers Hetalia. Ukraine is voluptuous with huge breasts and is implied to have no problems showing them off to get her way, and when Italy goes around "testing" chests her response is to suggestively tell him she won't mind if he "takes responsibility." But this is hilariously dissonant with the rest of her personality; a super kind, sensitive, motherly humble farm lady who would be assumed to be The Ingenue. Meanwhile, Ukraine's sister Belarus is a very beautiful young woman, with a cold disposition, violent tendencies, and lots of sexual knowledge...who only has eyes on her older brother and would rather use knives to get her way than her beauty, and she's extremely blunt, foul-mouthed and actually quite childish. Poland could count as a parody as well; he's a part-time cross-dresser.
- Tatenashi Sarashiki of Infinite Stratos. She's one of the most attractive girls in the IS Academy and also the strongest IS pilot, warranting her the position of Student Council President. She is also a tease-happy Shameless Fanservice Girl towards the primary male character. Though she's actually a half-Russian, half-Japanese.
- Lulu Romanov in Nikolai Dante.
- In fact, most female characters, since it is set mostly in Russia.
- Black Widow, the Marvel Comics superheroine.
- X-Men: In contrast to her brother Colossus, who's a Husky Russkie, Magik has become a tall, svelte, dangerous-looking blonde in a midriff-baring black outfit.
- For many years, a staple of the James Bond movies:
- Ivana Humpalot in Austin Powers, parody on all the James Bond examples.
- Czechoslovakiannote exchange student Nadia from American Pie.
- Also, Areola from Not Another Teen Movie, who was a Parody by Nadia, although her accent is all over the place, something she acknowledges in the film.
- Birthday Girl features Nicole Kidman as a beautiful Russian mail-order-bride who quickly wins the heart of her shy husband in spite of their language barrier. Of course it turns out that she's really a conwoman who seduces the men she marries.
- Ludmilla, the wife of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, is a towering and intimidating Femme Fatale in contrast to the more modest wives of the other boxers.
- A male version is played for laughs in A Fish Called Wanda. Wanda is turned on whenever Archie Leach speaks Russian.
- Lilya 4-Ever is a wildly depressing film about a bullied Russian teenage girl who is conned and forced into prostitution in Sweden, until she commits suicide. Can be viewed as a deconstruction of the trope.
- The film was based on a real story, although the young prostitute who killed herself was a Lithuanian in real life (and thus not a Sensual Slav, technically.)
- Vanessa Angel's character in Spies Like Us.
- Averted in Patton where right after victory in Europe, General Patton and his staff have to smile through a celebration with their Soviet allies and all the women are frumpy and unattractive. Screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola on the DVD commentary notes that this dated stereotype was based on Nikita Krushchev's wife(seen here◊ with Jackie Kennedy) and that the recent prevalence of gorgeous supermodels from Russia has proven they actually have some of the most beautiful women in the world.
- Black Widow in Iron Man 2, so very much.
- A male version in Ivan Simanov from Red. He previously dated Victoria back when they were working for their respective agencies (The KGB and MI6 respectively), to the point that she was forced by her superiors between killing him and jeopardizing her mission. She did shoot him, but he survived.
- Played straight with Katja Petrakovich from the sequel, who has been described by Marvin as "Frank Moses's Kryptonite"
- Valentina in Transporter 3. She stays most of the film with a flimsy gold dress, and has both red hair and Youthful Freckles.
- America (The Book)'s section on Russia notes the Russian Paradox that young Russian women are beautiful while old Russian women are hideous. A picture comparison purports to show a young beauty queen before and after she crosses the threshold, becoming an old crone in the span of two weeks.
- Irina in Gorky Park. Presumably due to the above-mentioned perception of Soviet women at the time the novel was written, there's a scene where Osborne discusses how she's more attractive from Western standards of beauty, and it's more practical to have a Big Beautiful Woman in a country where it gets very cold in winter.
Live Action TV
- Allegedly, the creation of the US Cold War Era aversion of trope is said to originate from the Olympic Games in the 1980s. Steroids were then recent things, and according to the Urban Myth the Soviets pumped their female athletes full of the stuff. Resulting in... Mannish, hairy women.
- Another Urban Legend circulated in the 1990s claimed women from former Communist countries had been socially and sexually oppressed for decades by the regime, and they were eager to recover the lost years.
- Lithuanian-born WWE Diva Aksana slowly evolved from a slightly dim Funny Foreigner to playing this up.
- Alexander Rusev's manager Lana is billed from Russia (actually American-born with Portuguese and Venezuelan heritage). Though she plays with it, in the fact that she not exceptionally sexual (apart from simply being a very attractive woman in a revealing business suit.) She actually fits much closer in personality to The Baroness, as she does seem to enjoy watching Rusev hurt people.
- Major Raikov from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
- A certain Not So French woman from No More Heroes comes to mind (half Ukraine, half Japanese, in case you were wondering).
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 saw Lieutenant Zofia (Soviet counterpart to Lieutenant Eva): "Vinter in Moscow iz cold... but purrrhaps zis vinter vill be... different?"
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and its Uprising expansion give us Lieutenant Dasha Fedorovich (pictured above), played by Bosnian-born Ivana Milicevic.
- Zhanna, the Heavy Weapons Guy's younger sister in Team Fortress 2. Big Beautiful Woman? Check. Girlish Pigtails? Check. Hasn't seen a man in years due to her overprotective big brother trying to hide her, her mother, and other sisters from the KGB? Check. She tries seducing Scout, who eventually turns down losing his virginity for a chance with Miss Pauling, so she tries her luck with Soldier, who is walking around the house naked, double-fisting bear legs:
Soldier: "Back off, lady, I'm eating both of these."
Zhanna: "Make love to me."
[Zhanna yanks him into the bedroom, causing him to drop the bear leg in the hallway]
- Marina Orlova, aka Hot For Words, plays up to this trope.