Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Slovenia, what do you tell a woman with two black eyes?

Ladies, if a guy tells you he wants to marry you and move to Slovenia because it's scenic, low-cost living in Europe, be suspicious.

The World Values Survey (WVS) asked participants in 49 countries about the justifiability of a man beating his wife. In Slovenia, 82.4% responded that it is "always justifiable"--far and away the nation most favorably inclined toward corporal punishment for a problematic termagent (the next closest country is Serbia, with 26.1% asserting that wife-beating is always justifiable).

1,003 Slovenians responded, so small sample size is not an issue (although a representative sample may be). More than half were female--this ethos cuts across gender lines. The survey was conducted between 2005 and 2008, so it's not a relic of the past, either.

Is this an accurate reflection of the culture in a country bordering Italy and Austria, or is there something else going on here?


Anonymous said...

"What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?"

"Nothing, she has already been told twice".

I heard that on the radio years ago by a visiting comedian on a morning show. The female co-host (three hosts on that show, with one guest), just about hyperventilated trying to draw in air. I thought she was going to have a small heart attack. She finally managed, "OWWWW MYYYYY GAWWWDD!".

Her reaction made the joke.

Slovenia is not primarily known as a cutting edge place in the cultural sense, maybe it is in the literal sense though. LOL

Jean Poole said...

Maybe when you get a broken jaw you'll find that joke not so funny Anon.

And AE, what the hell is up with that survey site and their Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map thing? "Protestant Europe" "Catholic Europe" and whaaaat? "Ex-Communist" - for Orthodox Christian Europe? Typical West 1054th Street myopia. As if 80 years can undo 1000 years. Somewhere Saint Olga of Kiev Equal of the Apostles is scowling.

Anonymous said...

There's got to be something else behind that figure. I don't know much about Slovenia, other than that I always confuse it with Slovakia, but there's no way the acceptance of wife-beating could be so vastly higher than anywhere else.


agnostic said...

The Balkans are weird. Any place that the Ottomans occupied is still pretty screwed up -- didn't promote dynamism, but rather stagnation (makes collecting taxes easier). Well, true of NW Europe -- but was far worse in the Ottoman Empire.

Also could be non-trivial admixture with Gypsies. Largest populations are in the Balkans.

FeministX said...

That's got to be a typo. Or maybe a cruel joke by a Croatian editor or something.

agnostic said...

I wonder if something got lost in translation -- like, in Slovenian, "beating your wife" means giving it to her hard. So you ask the husband and wife --

"Sure! We both think it's perfectly justifiable. Where do they get these silly questions from?"

Anonymous said...

I'm not exactly from Slovenia, but I'm near enough to know that this is impossible high number, and should be dismissed completely.

@agnostic: Ottomans haven't occupied Slovenia (or did very briefly), but yes it's still pretty screwed up here :)

Stopped Clock said...

This website doesnt seem very userfriendly. Is this data available for viewing in any format other than the SPSS charts linked on ? That's the only actual "data" page I can see, and it took me a few minutes to even find that. I know what SPSS is and I can't use it on my computer.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what would have happened if you asked the question of whether a wife has a right to do it to her husband, or at least ask it sex-specifically.


Anonymous said...


Audacious Epigone said...


Heh, sometimes innovation comes from the most unusual places! It's kind of like Palestinians smashing the glass ceiling in the suicide bombing industry.


The cultural map isn't perfect (why are Greece and Israel considered part of "Protestant Europe"?), but I don't find the groupings unhelpful. It's interesting to me that the English-speaking nations of European descent can be grouped separately from the rest of post-Protestant Europe, for example.

Peter, FemiX, and Anon,

That's my instinctive reaction, too.


Hah, given how large the disparity is with any other country, and that Slovene is only spoken in Slovenia to any great extent (I think), that's plausible.


Go here. Then click on "online data analysis" (third icon down on the left-hand side). Next, click on the white "begin analysis" (with a little graph, uh, graphic) button off to the right. Click on the orange "WVS 2005-2008" link in the middle of the page. Select countries (there's an option for all of them). Hit "confirm selection". You'll be taken to a screen with a long list of survey items. Click whichever one you're interested in. That'll give you an explanation of the question and potential responses to it. Click on the "cross-tabs" tab to see results broken down by country.

Hope that helps.


I'd guess more 'traditional' countries would show a greater skew toward sanctioning a husband beating his wife than the other way around, while some leftist European countries like Sweden would probably show more support for a wife beating her husband! Unfortunately, the WVS only asked about men beating women.

Anonymous said...

Almost certainly, 82.4% of Slovenians disapprove of beating their wives.

The numbers were reversed.

Stopped Clock said...

Ah, thank you. Now I see that not only did 82.4 percent of Slovenian respondents say that wife-beating is always justifiable, but also that absolutely 0.0 percent said that it is never justifiable. Given that, it's possible that the data table was somehow reversed, though even that would be unusual, as most of the other countries had at least some respondents who gave an 'always' answer.

pconroy said...

I think like Agnostic that there must have been something lost in translation, but more on the lines of "Beating" translated as "Spanking", so the respondents were saying they were in favor of some light S&M or something?

Alternatively, in the US, there are phrases like, "To beat one off" and "to spank the monkey", which refer to masturbation, and maybe this was how it was seen by respondents?

Audacious Epigone said...


That very well could be as well, although for exactly the reason SC points out, it too would be unusual if that were the case, and Slovenia was less tolerant of wife beating than other liberal northwestern European countries.


Confusion in translation is a potential source of problems for a survey of this nature. This question does involve asking about a wife, though, so to think that it was interpreted as having to do with masturbation seems unlikely.

orb said...

What do you call a blonde flying an airplane?

A pilot, you sexist piece of shit!

My new favorite joke.

rob said...

oops. That was me. I shouldn't stay up this late. Stupid electronics.

-rob. not orb. Good thing boor isn't an anagram of rob.

Numis said...

I live 20 km from the Slovenian border (in Croatia) and the figure is definitely a mixup of some sort. Or maybe the survey was administered to teenagers or something and they thought the question funny.

Anonymous said...

The numbers must've been reversed.

I've lived in Slovenia. I'd expect some nationalism, but not sexism.

As for the other comments:

- Slovenia was not part of the Ottoman Empire. They were part of the Habsburg & Austro-Hungarian Empires.

- Roma (Gypsy) are more common in the southern balkans. Slovenia has Italian and Hungarian minorities.

Anonymous said...

I'm of Slovenian heritage, with grandparents that emigrated from Yugoslavia. I can't speak for an entire country, but wife beating is definitely not acceptable in my family, nor in my extended family.

Anonymous said...

I'm of Slovenian heritage, with grandparents that emigrated from Yugoslavia. Wife beating is definitely not acceptable in my family, nor in my extended family.