United States women’s suffrage was fought for and achieved in 1920 under the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. This was a time of revolution and change in the United States, beginning the long and continuous journey of equal rights under the law, which is still continuing to be fought for today. In the 1920’s in Russia, however, the gender question remained unaddressed and suppressed, through the ideological framework of “Revolutionary Manliness”.
The political configuration, the Komsomol(All-Union Leninist Young Communist League), formed in 1918, was an organization of the Communists in order to political socialize the youth. According to The Komsomol “It was composed of youth 14-28 years old…[and] as an organization, it had little to no influence on Soviet policies, but was an important propaganda tool for the regime.” The Komsomol allowed both sexes membership, however “male members outnumbered females eight to one throughout the 1920s. This was due to the social principle of “Revolutionary Manliness” struck through Russia in 1924, providing an environment that was hostile to women.
The organization created an “ethos of a young communist was coded masculinity, which created societal implications that women were “violations of nature itself” when they attempted to “fit in.” This reinforces a gender taboo that is cross cultural, making women’s identification in society prone to criticism, whether it is too abrasively masculine or too daintily feminine.
“On the one hand outward displays of femininity were considered ideologically taboo and threatened to distract sexually charged boys from Komsomol business. On the other, girls’ efforts to erase their femininity were met with scorn.”
Other legislative reforms were developed in the late 1920’s in order to impose more strict “socialist consciousness” (Freeze, 333) on Russian individualism, with the goal from 1921-1929 to “build socialism” within society. (Freeze, 329). Freeze also suggests that “In any event, both the party and the Komsomol began to take a more direct interest in the personal lives of members” in order to influence their futures and the construct of individualistic rights in Russian society.
Education was a strong foundational tool of Lenin for the new generation, in order to educate the masses and encourage a proletariat lifestyle, which reinforced the ideology of its leaders. Gender roles are enduring, and can be seen today through the current and continued existence of the Leninist Young Communist League of the Russian Federation Website. This highlights the implication of use of social organizations on social constructs of societal interactions in the time of the “Great Turn”. Below is an image of the website. It is up to date (4/20/17) commenting on current events. The modern and propagandist tone to the writing is interesting, and give insight into politics from a different perspective.