Monday, October 15, 2007

Down with kitchen slavery!

Down with kitchen slavery! Let there be new household life!
G. Shegal, 1931


In 1917 the majority of laws of Russian Empire were repealed. Instead the first Soviet Constitution of 1918 declared full rights of women in divorcements, private property, children wardship, work and profession opportunities, choosing of place of living, education and suffrage. A decree which was stating the equal payment for men and women was also issued that year. Finally woman has got the same rights as men. The flip side of the coin was that woman had to work as hard as men as well.

At the same time the reforms of the economy were hampered no only by the Civil War but also by the runaway inflation. To give payment to the workers the Government had to print more money, which only made the situation worse. So the commodity-money relations were partly abolished: instead of wages workers were receiving rations, necessities, canteen coupons. Rent and transport fares were cancelled as well as payments for other public utilities. Free trade of food and goods was prohibited. The state was mobilizing the workers and was giving them full allowance (sort of).

The thirties perfectly utilized this experience. The country needed as much workforce as possible to complete the first Five Year plan, so women who were nursing children at home and did the cooking seemed to be a waste of resources. A great many of day nurseries, large-scale mechanized canteens, kindergartens were being built to free soviet woman from household routine and make them work on the machines instead. For many of soviet woman who had just arrived from the country this was a significant step forward, as it implied getting certain education and hopes of better living in future.

The poster above is an illustration of this trend. The woman dressed in red working overalls and a kerchief opens a large window showing a woman exhausted by laundry a bright perspective with new modern buildings with signs saying: “Club”, “Mechanized Canteen”, “Nursery”.

Buy Vintage Women posters at allposters:


8 comments:

exodus said...

It might seem difficult to think, but I had the "Chance" of meeting a Pure Breed Stalinist two days ago. See how the line of thinking has evolved @
http://www.last-one-turn-off-the-lights.blogspot.com

daniel said...

Sadly, the reality was that women had to do double-duty working as hard as men and as hard as women normally do. At least, that's how it appeared to me when I lived in Ukraine in the '90s.

Dmitri Minaev said...

This poster is hanging on our fridge. My wife loves it :).

moeursalen said...

Great blog...enjoyed it very much.

joe said...

Daniel, your experience isn't too surprising -- it's generally acknowledged that the advances made for women in the revolution were rolled back to almost nothing post-Stalin. You see the same thing in China, where Mao-era posters of women as farmers, factory workers and professionals give way during the '80s to images of stylish, pretty urbanites whose main occupation seems to be market consumerism

Julian's blog said...

Hi Solviet Posters:
Whoa...great images which I am very keen on!
I often feature art exhibits on my own blog - like the new Salvador Dali exhibit - so you may want to check the site out.
Enjoy!
Julian
www.ijulian.blogspot.com

Galen said...

Love this poster...I have a copy hanging in my kitchen! :>)

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