Let’s Talk About Sex

By New Look Media Team (http://newlookmedia.ru/IDNV/Arhiv.html Контент доступен на условиях лицензии Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike) – http://www.newlookmedia.ru/IDNV/Novyj_Vzglad/Stranic/Novyj_vzglad_1993.html#5 (http://newlookmedia.ru/IDNV/Arhiv.html Контент доступен на условиях лицензии Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10833399
Article Title: “Ordinary Sex”
This was published in the newspaper called Novy Vzglyad about prostitutes working for the KGB.

In the period of glasnost, or openness, in the Soviet Union, the conversation on prostitution became a public topic (Von Geldern). It wasn’t until 1987 that specific laws prohibiting prostitution were introduced in the Soviet Union. Prior to 1987, prostitution was taboo to many Soviets. I found it interesting that during an American talk show for American and Soviet audiences, when the American host discussed sex, Russians used the English word for sex, showing that “sex” is a foreign concept because there was no word for it in the Russian language.

Prostitution was becoming more structured and organize. There was a hierarchy within prostitution: foreign-currency prostitutes, middle-level prostitutes, and train-station prostitutes (Maidanskaya). Many young girls saw prostitution as a way to get money and leave their hometowns. An article spread around that glorified prostitution, and 14-16 year-old girls streamed into Moscow in hopes of attaining this luxurious life. However, most girls didn’t get further than being train-station prostitutes (Maidanskaya).

Some viewed prostitution as a way for a woman to choose what she does with her body. Some people noticed the problems that arose with prostitution, such as the huge increase in AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases and organized crime. Once prostitution was recognized, administrative sanctions were imposed that affected over 5,000 prostitutes. There were proposals to shoot, (yes, with an armed weapon) put in prison, or exile prostitutes, but many punitive laws have proven to be ineffective.

http://By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14306189

Many authors and directors even started writing about and documenting the life of prostitutes in the Soviet Union. The most distinguishable work that started the discussions was a novel (that was later adapted into a movie) Intergirl. Vladimir Kunin, the author of the Intergirl novel, followed prostitutes for several of months and conducted a study on their activities (Kon). The film tells the story of one foreign-currency prostitute (which is the highest-ranking prostitute in the Soviet Union) named Tanya. Intergirl was very successful, being the most watched Soviet film in 1989. Intergirl had a sad outcome for Tanya and the people closest to her. Intergirl, along with other works produced around this time, spread the message that women “found no liberation or happy fate when she revealed her body” (Von Geldern).

Works Cited:

Kon, Igor (1997). Опасный секс: Насилие, проституция, болезни [Dangerous sex: Violence, prostitution, diseases]. Sexual Culture In Russia: The Strawberry on the Birch (in Russian). Moscow: OGI. ISBN978-5-900241-33-3.

Maidanskaya, Nadezhda. Combating Prostitution: A Pessimistic View.War Against Prostitution: The Prose of the ‘Sweet Life.

Von Geldern, James. Female Sexuality. Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. soviethistory.msu.edu/1985-2/female-sexuality/

One thought on “Let’s Talk About Sex

  1. Taylor, nice title, Salt-N-Pepa references are always awesome! So glad you chose to blog about this, it’s such an important topic and I think you did a great job making sense of the backlash against female liberation that manifested in hostility towards sex workers.


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