Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Dr. Roxanne Easley

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jason Knirck

Third Committee Member

Dr. Stephen Moore


The purpose of this study is to examine the rhetoric of gender, sexuality, and the family used by the media of the Soviet Union to discuss American and Soviet defectors from 1960 to 1990. Utilizing previously established historiographies of gender, sexuality and the family as well as statements from Soviet and American government officials, it is shown that the Soviet government linked gender, sexuality and family “perversions” to the individualistic and capitalistic ideology of American society, by contrast with the Soviet collectivist and socialist “purity.” This analysis fills in the gaps in the historiography by connecting studies of gender, sexuality and family to the practice defection, and situating them in the cultural Cold War context.