Russian Women's Studies: Essays on Sexism in Soviet Culture

By Tatyana Mamonova; Margaret Maxwell | Go to book overview

16
The Sex and Politics of
Patriarchy: Pornographic
Language in the USSR

For a long time I have felt that pornography in the Soviet Union needs to be written about, but somehow I never had the time to do it.Then two women's conferences in Philadelphia and Boston, to which I was invited, made me go to work on the subject.At both meetings I was disturbed by a new tendency which cropped up about five years ago and is now clearly gaining popularity. What's being talked about is the "refinement" of pornography * and, for reasons which are not clear, it is called "radicalism," although actually it is really much closer to opportunism.

The feminist movement, which has served for many as an alternative to moral resistance, has suddenly adopted the language of the jungle. Dostoyevsky asserted that any phenomenon, even a very exalted one, in periods of reaction often produces its own base and repulsive "double," in both life and art.The slogan "Everything is permissible" is an apology for evil, that is to say a more aggressive form of a continuing bourgeois atmosphere.

The forces of reaction have penetrated feminism: don't fight it — get whatever benefits you can for yourself from repression; don't resist — try to get pleasure from violence! An analogous process can be seen in the youth movement: young professionals and technocrats have emerged in the Soviet Union as well as the United States.Young people's voting for conservatives is no proof of their active support — it merely attests to their disillusionment, apathy, conformism, and apoliticalness, a rejection of the fight for the democracy of the sixties.

Clearest of all who recently demonstrate this disillusionment are the Russian emigrés.Encountering economic pressures which equal the ideologi-

____________________
*
Pornography, "refined" or "unrefined" is the obscene expression of raw sex accompanied by abusive violence, and must never be confused with eroticism with its provocative use of nudity to express the fullness of love.

-125-

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