Stereotyping as a Weapon of Cold War Propaganda: Military Masculinity in Soviet Songs



Objective. The article examines how the Cold War propaganda employed the male stereotype in the representations of the Soviet and U.S. militaries. Background. The relevance is determined by necessity to study the methods and resources, which are used in creating the image of the enemy. For the first time the Soviet songs have been analyzed as a weapon of the Cold War propaganda. Study design. The research hypothesis was that the Soviet songs about the militaries contained two components related to masculinity. First, the identified characteristics of the militaries have been compared to the male stereotype per se; then – to the stereotype of Soviet masculinity. Measurements. The research materials consist of 190 Soviet songs (1946-1991) which contain the images of Soviet and U.S. militaries. Content analysis serves as the research method. The units for analysis: features and social roles attributed to a man and to a Soviet man. Results. The role of gender stereotyping in representations of “us” and “them”, in creating the image of the enemy has been examined on the data of the songs. The influence of the Soviet ideology on correcting male stereotype has been investigated. It was established that two modes of male stereotype used for creating the representations of Soviet and US militaries: both “us” and “them” were estimated through the light of stereotype of “real man”, on the one hand (strength, courage, self-control, and others), and through the light of stereotype of Soviet man, on the other hand (collectivism, patriotism, mercy, and others). Main conclusions. First, Song served one of resources in creating the image of Enemy; second, gender stereotyping functioned as an important method of the Cold War propaganda; third, main regularities of social stereotyping have been confirmed: “us” were represented in more detailed and more positive ways, then “them”.

General Information

Keywords: stereotyping, gender stereotypes, masculinity, propaganda, soviet song, Cold war, image of enemy

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Science Foundation, project number 22-18-00305, at the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia.

Received: 16.07.2022


For citation: Riabova T.B. Stereotyping as a Weapon of Cold War Propaganda: Military Masculinity in Soviet Songs. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2022. Vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 90–106. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2022130406. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Tatiana B. Riabova, Doctor of Sociology, Professor at the Department of Political Science, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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