After the revolution, there were different party organizations for distinct groups. There was the Zhenotdel, concentrated on the Women’s department, and the Komsomol, the Young Communist League (Freeze, 330). The Komsomol was open to both sexes but males outnumbered women 8 to 1. They represented atheism, hooliganism, and sexual depravity, and men did not want their daughters and wives to have any part of it (Guillory). Not only did men not want their daughters in it, girls did not want to be a part because of the constant discouragement from the men members.
The Young Communists was in itself masculine. They rejected all things feminine and that alienated the women in society. You were able to tell who was a communist by how they looked in public. The most visible symbols were the “leather jacket; knee-high leather boots, a Sam Brown belt, and a pistol.. along with a cold, hard demeanor” (Guillory). The ideal communist was “serious, businesslike, showed disdain for all dancing and any gallantry, only sang revolutionary songs, dispersed in secluded pairs [having sex], didn’t attend village parties, and only hung out with “non-party” guys for political discussions and not for fun,” according to Nikolai Kartsev.
Because of the toxic masculinity, the women in the Komsomol club would often shed their dresses and dress as the men. But because the men were rude and offensive to the women, this only spurred more insults from the men. Women were struggling to find a way to express themselves while also being able to fit in. This is very different to only a few years ago before the revolution. Even their own Zhenotdel branches were shut down in 1930 because they were unable to provide power or resources to their members. Women were expecting things to change for them after the revolution, but as we see in Bed and Sofa, they are still inferior to their husbands and have to obey the patriarchy.
Guillory, Sean. “Revolutionary Manliness.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, 4 Jan. 2016, soviethistory.msu.edu/1924-2/revolutionary-manliness/.
Russia A History Third Edition. Gregory L. Freeze. Oxford 2009.
von Geldern, James. “The New Woman.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, 29 Dec. 2015, soviethistory.msu.edu/1917-2/the-new-woman/.