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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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“The First Time, Do It for Love”: Sexism, Power, and Politics under Putin

(p.294) Conclusion
Sex, Politics, and Putin

Valerie Sperling

Oxford University Press

The conclusion examines the ways in which gender norms and sexualization have been used in political advertising as a means of bolstering Russia’s increasingly nondemocratic political regime. As an ideology founded on equality and inclusion, feminism reveals and critiques the patriarchal hierarchy that values masculinity over femininity and that relies on homophobia as a tool of political competition. Feminism also valorizes the individual right to choose and is thus at odds with regime efforts and societal notions that reinforce the conformist strictures of gender norms. Gender norms can be used in politics to undermine the authority of undemocratic regimes, for instance, by labeling political leaders as unmanly. However, in the long run, making use of sexualization and gender norms in political legitimation reinforces traditional notions of gender and the subordination of women to men, restricting people’s personal and political freedom, and undercutting democracy more broadly.

Keywords:   Russia, Russian politics, democracy, feminism, gender norms, sexism, homophobia, political legitimacy

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