Gender and propaganda at the crossroads (the case of Svetlana Alexievich)
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Soviet women played an important role during World War II, both in combat, and on the home front. The purpose of this thesis is to examine their role through gender in political discourse, with the focus on two media, i.e. Soviet war propaganda posters and a documentary prose piece The Unwomanly Face of War, published in 1985 by a Belarusian author and journalist Svetlana Alexievich. Interesting is the fact that the two media in question offer different commentary on the same time period (WWII). Due to the fact that Alexievich's narratives challenge the traditional narratives of the Soviet period, they are met with no little controversy in the former Soviet Union. Thus, the main objective of this thesis is to examine what changed in the social and political conditions at the turn of the 20th century in the Soviet Union that made Soviet female war veterans reinterpret their position during World War II. The extensive analysis of the aforementioned conditions through gender in political discourse showed that the woman question in the Soviet Union was used as a device in the ongoing political struggle, and it is used to comment on and clarify contemporary political and social demands. Alexievich's work can also be seen as propaganda, but in a different way than posters, as her work is aimed at the international audience, instead of only the Russian/Soviet one. Thus, by using her literary authority, Alexievich opened the door of the external market, previously inaccessible to her, and shed light on the current political moment where the underrepresented groups are still being silenced.
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