Women from Central and Eastern Europe tend to be sultry Femme 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
. Who doesn't want to bang 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
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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Marina Orlova, aka Hot For Words, plays up to this trope.