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Sex, Politics, and PutinPolitical Legitimacy in Russia$
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Valerie Sperling

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199324347

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199324347.001.0001

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Putin the Sex Back in Politics: Gender Norms, Sexualization,and Political Legitimation in Russia

Putin the Sex Back in Politics: Gender Norms, Sexualization,and Political Legitimation in Russia

Chapter:
(p.29) 2 Putin the Sex Back in Politics: Gender Norms, Sexualization,and Political Legitimation in Russia
Source:
Sex, Politics, and Putin
Author(s):

Valerie Sperling

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199324347.003.0002

This chapter spotlights the Russian case, addressing the question: Why have we seen the use of gender norms and sexualization in Russian politics in the Putin era? The chapter reviews the Kremlin’s apparent strategy of accentuating Putin’s machismo and considers multiple intersecting factors (political, cultural, economic, historical, and international), rooted in the 1990s, that contributed to the emphasis on gender norms and homophobia in twenty-first century Russian politics. The chapter looks specifically at the masculinity on the campaign trail, the development of the image, especially in relation to Putin, of the “real man” (muzhik) and the sexy man, and the effectiveness of the machismo legitimation strategy. The chapter also uses a multiple opportunity structure model to explain the rise of gender norms and sexualization as tools of political legitimation in Putin’s Russia.

Keywords:   Putin, Russian politics, capitalism, sexualisation, machismo, femininity, Zhirinovsky

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