A Gendered Revolution?

TitleA Gendered Revolution?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsEngel, Barbara Alpern
JournalRevolutionary Russia
Pagination196 - 207
Date Published01/2018

Cutting across the divide of 1917 and surveying the relevant recent scholarship on women and gender, this essay explores the gendered nature and consequences of the Russian Revolution. It suggests that while the relative weakness of a cult of domesticity in Russia helped prepare the way for Bolshevik policies, other elements of pre-revolutionary and revolutionary culture worked in the opposite direction. In particular the gendering of the working class as male, a process that accelerated after 1905, and the association of ‘backward’ women with a domestic sphere that revolutionaries held in very low regard compounded material difficulties to create obstacles to women's advancement during the 1920s. The essay concludes with a discussion of the contradictory nature of Stalinist-era changes, which, despite their innumerable negative consequences for women and men alike, a portion of women born after the revolution experienced as empowering. [publisher]

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