Essay on New Woman By Alexandra Kollontai

Essay on New Woman By Alexandra Kollontai

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New Woman was written by Alexandra Kollontai in 1918. She was born in 1872 to an aristocratic family. Kollontai is sort of an unsung hero of feminism in Russia. In this time, feminism was not what it is today; especially in Russia. She begins the work by describing what the “new woman” is and what the “new woman” is not. She uses this phrasing throughout to describe Russia’s past and future. To Kollontai, the “old woman” is a woman’s role in Russian in the past and the “new woman” is the future of women. In her description of the “new woman”, Kollontai uses the women from popular Russian literary works. Kollontai lists all these women and describes how they go against the Russian patriarchy. For example, Kollontai mentions Theresa and she says, “But when she, too, is overwhelmed by the waves of passion, she does not deny the radiant smile of life, she does not hide hypocritically behind the faded mantle of womanly virtue – no, she reaches out her hands to the chosen one….” One of the many example of the new woman of Russia not living up to the old standards.
In the second part, Kollontai gets into the nitty gritty of feminism in some powerful ways. She uses the word “wifie” to portray a submissive wife who acts as a sex machine for her overworked husband. Kollontai is not saying that women must rise and conqueror men and create a world of only women. She believes it is time to make the playing field more equal. Certain roles of women need to be changed because women are not getting the credit they deserve. “They are the million figures, wrapped in drab clothing, who pour out of the working-class quarters in an endless train on their way to work sites and factories, who set out for the circular railways and the tramcars in that ho...


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...at is not what sex is for the “new woman”.
The “new woman” Kollontai has created is full of passion, she is strong, she is not incomplete if she is not married. Again, Kollontai’s piece still stands true today. There is still a stigma for single women. “Single women. They are those tens of thousands of young, already fading, women who settle down in the big cities in lonely roomcages and increase the statistic of "independent" households.” These are the “new woman”. Kollontai is challenging a system that is thousands of years old and has not budged. Almost one hundred years later, people still look down on a woman who lives alone and has no plans of a man in the future. The “new woman” Kollontai is referencing still has not come to full fruition, but she is close. The “new woman” has moved much further that when this piece was written, but she still has a way to go.

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