Peeling Away the Veils

A Sexual Revolution hit the western youth in the 1960s but it was not until 1980s that the Soviet Union became open with the idea of a sexual revolution. This new topic of sexual revolution mostly involved the Russian female citizens and their bodies. Glasnost was introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in later half of the 1980s which is a policy that called for the increase of openness and transparency in government institutions and activities within the Soviet Union.  The title of this particular blog come from what James von Geldern said in essay about Female Sexuality in 1985 Russia, “First by peeling away the veils concealing matters long obvious to any Soviet woman, and then unveiling her body, glasnost made women the object, and sometimes of the agent of a public debate whose ultimate goal was liberation.”

By the end of the 1980s the women talked and acted in the public environment changed critically. The first appearance of female sexuality was taken as a “taboo” (as Geldern states) which another words the subject of prostitution. For instance in the 1987 movie Intergirl, which was the first movie In the Soviet Union that portrayed prostitution.  The main character was Tatyana who was Soviet nurse who is was underpaid at her hospital job, so she turns a prostitute catering to international tourists. She becomes better off because of this and is able to help support her mother. Tatyana accepts a marriage proposal to escape from the grim Soviet reality of her life. But even being married to a decent man abroad, she still suffers from being labeled as an ex-Soviet prostitute, and her new life is full of new troubles.

In the United States the view of sexuality is much more open and accepted than in the Soviet society.  For example, in Geldern essay, “Yet when American talk show host Phil Donahue created the ground-breaking TELEMOST, uniting audiences Soviet Russia and America to discuss weighty issues such as arms control and human rights, only one issue rendered Russians inarticulate. When the issue of sex arose, they could only sputter “We have no sex here,” using the foreign word “sex” for a concept totally absent in their own language.” Thankfully for females in today’s Russian society females are able to express their sexuality much more openly.

Intergirl Movie Poster of “Intergirl”

Information and photo from the website of Seventeen Moments of Russian History Essay by: James von Geldern

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