• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Article

Searching for lost femininity: Russian middle-aged women’s participation in the post-Soviet consumer culture

Journal of Consumer Culture. 2019. Vol. 19. No. 2. P. 169-188.

In the existing literature, the relatively stable period of the 1970s, in Russia, is characterised
by the rise of ‘socialist consumer modernity’, while the affluent 2000s were
the time when a new phenomenon, ‘the culture of glamour’, emerged. Both periods
parallel some cultural developments in the western world: the 1970s–1980s supposedly
saw the rise of late modernity whereby individuals, freed from constraints of social
structures, engage in ongoing process of self-reflexivity and self-fashioning, through
consumption. In this article, drawing on the interviews with 20 middle-aged women
from Moscow, I examine the limitations on self-fashioning as a means of achieving and
maintaining a position of privilege. I particularly focus on the women’s concerns about
failing to engage in normative practices of self-care, including anti-ageing cosmetic procedures,
and hence failing to embody feminine dispositions that had value in their
middle-class milieu. The analysis of such concerns helps discern the ways different
markers of identity (gender, class and age) interplay and act as enablers or constraints
in the mundane struggle for power at the interpersonal level.