During the Cold War, fitness concerns reached new heights. At the start of the Cold War, Americans became concerned that they were not fit enough to compete with the Soviets. Both governments encouraged citizens to become physically fit. The American government concerned itself with soft' corporate men and physically unfit youth. The Soviet government continued to emphasize physical culture, as a natural byproduct of Communism. Though American society idealized women for feminine virtues, both women and men craved fitness and strength, offering an opportunity for women to circumvent the typical stereotypes of Cold War femininity. Some women participated in cultural exchange competitions and Olympic Games. The press focused on the unfeminine characteristics of Soviet women athletes, but found that Cold War victory required more than femininity. The United States needed improved athletic performances from American women to prevail in Cold War sports showdowns. Therefore, the Cold War, indirectly but profoundly, opened up new possibilities for women.
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Slaughter, M. Jane
Second Committee Member
Dahl, Heather J.. "Fearless and Fit: American Women of the Cold War." (2010). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hist_etds/20