Volume 29, 2018
Philosophical Approaches to Gender
Metaphysics of Sex and Gender in Russian Philosophy
In Russian “Philosophy and Theology of sex”, femininity, (so called “Eternal femininity” or “Sophia, the Eternal Highest Wisdom”) is estimated extremely highly as a spiritual principle. In a cosmic and metaphysical sense, the masculine in Russian philosophy is interpreted the same way as in the West: as logos, reason, culture, personality, law and justice. However all these principles are considered contrary to spirituality, which is symbolized by “Eternal femininity”. In such a symbolic system the masculine can just have the status of the son of the Great Mother. It undoubtedly points to a symbolic devaluation of masculinity. It implicitly results in devaluation of “masculine” values-rationality, individualism, justice and law-, while at the same time prioritizing values symbolized as “feminine” -passivity, weakness, and emotionality. Traditional Russian philosophical approaches to gender support archaic social relations. Russia is viewed as mother, and the Russian nation is viewed not as a union of citizens but as “the united family”. Powerful symbols of maternity mold special traits in “the Russian soul” which are not always positive. Symbolic celebration of femininity does not mean high assessment of woman’s subjectivity. The attitude to women is unconsciously determined by the image of the dreaded mother.