Homophobia, Housewives, and Hyper-Masculinity

Gender and American Policymaking in the Nuclear Age

Authored by: Matthew W. Dunne

The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902985
eBook ISBN: 9781315697185
Adobe ISBN:


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Against the backdrop of a lemon-yellow model kitchen, the focus of the Cold War temporarily shifted from rockets to washing machines. It was July 24, 1959, and the American National Exhibition had just opened in Sokolniki Park, Moscow. Over the next two months, nearly 2.7 million Soviets would tour the exhibition. As attendees sipped on free samples of Pepsi-Cola and strolled through exhibits preaching the virtues of everything from the state of American nuclear research to brownies, they were treated to a highly sanitized vision of American ingenuity and consumer opulence. The United States Information Agency had agonized over every detail in every exhibit for months, and American government officials had gone to great lengths to showcase the United States in the most positive light possible. As several historians have pointed out, however, government officials may have revealed more about American society than they bargained for. Like so many elements of the early Cold War, the exhibit was informed by American gender ideology.

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