Bolshevik Revolution, New Soviet Woman, socialism


Prior to 1917, the character of the ideal woman throughout Russian history was that of wife and mother. This cultural image for women had been upheld by centuries of legislation and tradition. During and immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution, though, the relegation of women to the home began to be considered bourgeois. Consequently, from the revolutionary era to the rise of Stalinism, the Soviets sought to drastically transform gender roles in Russia. Establishing equality between economic classes, the Bolsheviks believed, would likewise establish equality between genders. Thus, they began to promote a new image of Soviet womanhood. The New Soviet Woman, as she came to be known, emerged out of the Bolsheviks' desire to redefine manhood, womanhood, the family, and society in general. Unlike the new image for men, however, which corresponded to the conventional image of man as protector and leader, the new image for women attempted to revolutionize traditional ideals. The new ideal image of woman was that of a loyal communist, an industrious worker, and an equal of men. However, historians have shown that the image of the New Soviet Woman, despite representing a socialist agenda, remained strongly connected to the traditional image of woman as mother.