Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
Marko Dumančić (Director), Eric Reed, and Dorothea Browder
Department of History
Master of Arts
Between 1987 and 1991, Soviet filmmakers and journalists utilized Gorbachev’s glasnost reform policy to depict or discuss sexuality in cinema and the popular press. I argue that Soviet film and popular press discourses on sex in this period reveal a continuity of conservative sexual mores, which were interwoven with social and moral conservatism regarding the centerpiece of Soviet society, the Soviet family. Furthermore, these discourses take on a fundamentally misogynistic tone, in that women are tasked with defending sexual purity, and thus familial integrity, while simultaneously being cast as those most susceptible to the power of sexual enticement. Thus, the comparatively permissive discourse about sex and sexuality in the 1980s can be interpreted not as a “sexual revolution,” but as an explosion in social and moral anxieties, that were unique to the glasnost period, about the Soviet way of life. Additionally, this study challenges the concept of the totalitarian Soviet system by highlighting intellectuals’ persevering conservatism during a period where the state did not expressly govern or censor discourses on sex and sexuality.
Cultural History | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies | Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies
Ter-Grigoryan, Svetlana Yuriyevna, "A Soviet Parade of Horribles: Conservatism in Glasnost-Era Discourses on Sex, 1987-1991" (2016). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 1564.