What is it about?
Mat is a specific domain of Russian obscene vocabulary including words related to sexuality. The first sociolinguistic studies on mat emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, concomitantly with the formation of Russian gender studies in the early 1990s (Tëmkina & Zdravomyslova 2003: 51). Until today, research on gender and taboo in Russian has been exiguous. Many scholars claim that the use of mat is a male prerogative (Uspenskiĭ 1994: 56, Doleschal & Schmid 2001: 274), whereas women’s use of mat is heavily sanctioned in society. Through data from a survey I carried out with 772 participants, I illustrate that mat is strongly present in women’s language use and that stereotypical gender conceptualizations are undergoing change. From the participants’ answers it emerges that discussions about the use of obscene language play a critical role in the multifaceted process of renegotiation of gender roles in post-Soviet contexts.
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Why is it important?
With this article, I shed light on how gender dynamics in the post-Soviet context evolve hand in hand with more general political and societal developments and how these changes are expressed in the usage of swear words.
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This page is a summary of: Obscene language and the renegotiation of gender roles in post-Soviet contexts, Pragmatics & Cognition, December 2021, John Benjamins,
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