Pushkareva N. L., Bogdashina I. V. “The best adornment of a woman is cleanliness” (Norms and practices of body care in the memory of residents of a non-capital Soviet city in the 1950s — 1960s),P. 119—133

The use of several research strategies (comparative historical method, methods of gender anthropology, calling for more attention to female informants and empathy, identifying social dampeners that ensured the mitigation of contradictions and disproportions), several kinds and types of sources (journal publications, medical brochures, women’s ego documents and oral female histories collected by the authors in the Lower Volga region in 2019—2021) made it possible, within the framework of this article, to compare the expected (based on norms and regulations) and real bodily behavior of women in the second post-war decade in the USSR, in the 1950s — 1960s. Studied in the article are women’s daily practices related to body hygiene, self-care, situation in the beauty industry. All these aspects are inscribed in the context of the difficult everyday life of a non-capital Soviet city (full of shortages, difficulties and hardships in a locus that was practically destroyed by the war and was very slowly returning to the pre-war standard of living). The authors supplement the picture of Soviet women’s history with materials that have never been introduced into scientific circulation, and reflections on topics that have long been considered minor and marginal in Russian historiography. Looking for an answer to the question of why it became possible to pay attention to the demands of the female part of the urban population during the years of Khrushchev’s thaw, the ways of the presence of the things experienced (phenomenological) in the average female urban environment are characterized (using the example of the desired and available in the field of perfumery), substantiates connection of the general trend of medicalization of the sphere of care for the female body and the beauty industry, ways of maintaining bodily cleanliness and well-groomed appearance.
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