Tożsamość płciowa w narracjach żołnierek Armii Czerwonej, uczestniczek II wojny światowej

Grażyna Mendecka


Gender Identity in the Narrative of Women Serving in the Red Army During World War II

The analysis of gender identity is based on the narratives of women who volunteered to the military when the World War II started and fought as the soldiers in the Red Army. Forty years after World War II, Svetlana Alexievich interviewed women veterans and on this basis published the book “War's Unwomanly Face”. Their memories of wartime and post-war period were analyzed from the perspective of their gender identity, i.e. the ability to reconcile the role of a woman determined by their biological sex with the role of a solider determined by the circumstances. The problem in this paper is interpreted based on developmental psychology theories by Erik Erikson, James Marcia, Daniel Levinson and Jeffrey Arnett and the sociological perspective on identity. Selected narratives from Alexievich ‘s reportages are analyzed focusing on identification and interpretation of different themes, which are assessed according to their relevance for the understanding of the process described. The narrators were only 16-20 years old at the time of joining the military and they were still at the stage of identity moratorium. It required a lot of determination for them to become a soldier. Their identity as a soldier was their assumed identity, defined by Marcia as ideological or professional engagement without completing the period of exploration. Women were not welcomed by the army, they suffered because of logistical shortcomings, but they still supported all of the units, became officers and military leaders, and were awarded medals for their valor, courage and reliability. After the war, they were socially rejected and condemned and they needed to process their identity, i.e. reject their military ethos in order to strengthen their sense of being a women. Based on Arnett’s concept one can conclude that their "in between” period of identity exploration was determined by external events and social relations

Słowa kluczowe: tożsamość, tożsamość płciowa, doświadczenia wojenne kobiet, identity, gender identity, women’s war experience

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