A survey of the first two decades of the French Communist Party's propaganda reveals a wide range of female imagery, from the androgynous, Soviet-style militant of the 1920s to the fashionable, feminine figure of the 1930s. Earlier scholars noting this discrepancy argued that the Party first adopted the Soviet "new woman," based on the Marxist principle of absolute gender equality but rejected it just over a decade later in order to broaden their appeal to the French masses. These studies, however, were restricted by the limited access to the French Communist Party's interwar-era archives. Using recently-digitized Party meeting records, reports, letters, and propaganda material, this MA thesis takes a second look at the Party's attitude toward gender roles and mobilizing women in the interwar period (1920 – 1939). Finding that female Party members directed the work among women according to a complex internal logic which justified dropping the Soviet new woman for a more conventional model, this thesis argues that the Party's changing stance on gender roles reflected the strength of the French republican notions of gender and politics which shaped the Party's response to the Soviet model of womanhood.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Klements, Elizabeth, "Workers, Mothers, and Françaises: The French Communist Party and Women in the Interwar Period (1920 - 1939)" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1035.