AWE (A Woman’s Experience)


women's studies, socialism


In The Social Basis of the Woman Question, Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai responds to bourgeois feminists’ essentialist calls for female solidarity to resolve the “woman’s question”—the question of women’s status in society— by presenting the woman question as a struggle defined not by gender but by the intersection of class and gender. Kollontai appropriates and extends their essentialist rhetoric, engaging in the classed and gendered essentialism of the particular socioeconomic position of the female worker. I argue that, by placing the essentialized woman worker at the heart of the woman question, Kollontai suggests that the woman question is an economic question rather than a social one and that consequently socialism is the only real remedy. Thus, the bourgeois feminists’ limited class-stratified female equality within the capitalist system pales in comparison to the total emancipation from the economic power structures on which the subjugation of women is built that Kollontai offers through socialism.


Hannah Pugh is a transfer student from Swarthmore College finishing her second year at BYU. She is pursuing a double major in English and European studies—a combination she enjoys because it allows her to take an eclectic mix of political science, history, and literature courses. She’s planning to attend law school after her graduation next April. Currently, Hannah works as the assistant director of Birch Creek Service Ranch, a nonprofit organization in central Utah that runs a service-oriented, character-building summer program for teens. Her hobbies include backpacking, fly fishing, impromptu trips abroad, and wearing socks and Chacos all winter long.