Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Revolutionary undies

Ever considered why the Russian revolution ultimately failed? Maybe it was something to do with the state of their underwear.

The Guardian reports on research by Soviet pants expert, Dr Olga Gurova.

In the 1920s, Soviet magazines touted a "regime of cleanliness" for the proletariat. "Underwear," explains Gurova, "was a compulsory part of that regime." A goal was established: everyone should have at least two sets, and should change sets at least once every 7-10 days. Mass production was cranked up, underclothing the populace in officially healthy, comfortable, hygienic long johns, boxers, undershirts and bras. Gurova's research shows that most of these items were "spacious", and that "there was no big difference in design between male and female underclothes".

Seven to ten days in one pair of smalls? Nasty. I bet they had a Ministry of Underwear, and a Five Year Plan for raising production of long johns.

I don’t expect that the dirty underwear situation helped keep alive the revolutionary spirit, however. And can you imagine what it must have been like at bedtime? "Hello, my sweet, but my, your knickers look like they have been run over by a collectivized tractor!"


Frank Partisan said...

You've neen tagged. See my blog. You don't have to thank me.

Edie said...

Hilarious. But you have to consider that the revolution pulled Russia up from feudalism, which was considerably more squalid than this. I suppose this was ambitious for the time.

That said, Trotsky was famous for being immaculately groomed, even during his long prison sentences.

beatroot said...

Cheers Renegade! (he runs my favourite American left wing blog).

Edie - are you suggesting a new way to measure national development based on a Historical Materialist analysis of underwear?

BondBloke said...

To get to the 'bottom' of things one has to ask how long they wore their socks, a much more odourful question...

sonia said...

There is no doubt the revolution had failed because they were forcing people to wear underwear! If only they had let people be naked...

beatroot said...

Is that you, Sonia???!!!???

Frank Partisan said...

Cut and paste what was on my blog about tagging. Since I tagged you, you have to pick another. You do need to mention I tagged you. Copy the format on my blog, only change the names.

beatroot said...

OK,I'll try.

Edie said...

Historical materialism should be applied to anything and everything, including underwear. What's wrong with that?

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