Feminist Resistance

Broj 1 - Godina 10 - 12/2019

Uvodnik

This issue of [sic] is devoted to consideration of feminist resistance as it manifests in diverse representations within popular culture. The inspiration for this 2019 issue is not a mystery. One must only glance at global headlines to see the evidence of feminist resistance: hashtag activism, protestors in the streets, calls for “equal” political representation. More nuanced is the investigation of the headline silences, the absence of gender where our curiosity prompts us to anticipate the rise of feminist resistance and the resistance toward feminism. The phrase itself – feminist resistance – is ambiguous. It is at once a burden and a possibility. Which feminism? Whose resistance? The contributors to this special issue ask pertinent questions about the interplay of gender, race, identity, and power in their intersectional analyses to engage these questions through literature, popular culture, and cultural historical investigations. ..

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Izdvojeno

Women writers use the feminist dystopian genre as a way to resist gender-based oppression in complex ways. To do so, women writers must first construct bleak worlds that subjugate their female characters before they can craft ways for these characters to resist. This article specifically examines Octavia Butler’s novel, Dawn, because the central female character finds ways to resist through working within the system in order to work against it. Even though she cannot overthrow the government or escape, she exercises substantial resistance through her body, voice, and intelligence. Butler ultimately demonstrates that women are able to resist from the margins in complex ways, which prompts real-world women readers to fight and resist gender-based oppression in their own societies. Keywords: feminism, Octavia Butler, science fiction, feminist dystopia, genderWomen writers have woven feminist resistance into the fabric of their novels for centuries to protest the misogynistic treatment and representation of women in patriarchal society. Myriad feminist scholars have affirmed that women in literature and culture are “trained, shaped, and impressed” by the patriarchal values within a society in ways that do not apply to men, which makes it exceedingly difficult for women to exercise resistance against this problematic ideology because it permeates and then deeply-embeds itself in the way humanity thinks and acts (Bordo 13). However, Foucault implies that power over an individual is not absolute because an individual can exercise “precise strategies” of resistance in “determined conditions” or certain circumstances (qtd. in Sawicki 25). This complex relationship between patriarchal power and feminist resistance to it is demonstrated through the works of countless women writers, such as Charlotte Brontë, Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, Maxine Hong Kingston, Louisa May Alcott, Louise Erdrich, Kate Chopin, and Sandra Cisneros. These are just some of the countless women writers who feature patriarchal societies in their works and oppress female characters through marriage, class, race, and other societal expectations; however, they also include feminist modes of resistance through personality, rejecting marriage, marrying on specific terms, art, writing, and in the most extreme of circumstances, suicide and murder. Thus, as Foucault notes, there are “a plurality of resistances” and “each of them a special case,” which indicates there are countless ways for an individual to resist because resistance is contextual and specific to one’s unique circumstances (96). Even so, society is, as Simone de Beauvoir declares, “[decidedly] male” and feminist modes of resistance are often trivialized or dismissed in favor of more obvious resistance strategies, such as simply extricating oneself from the problematic environment or overthrowing a corrupt government (xxii). ...

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This article deals with the concept/identity of the monster kys in Tatyana Tolstaya’s novel of the same title (Kys, 2000). By drawing on the theory of feminist literary critics Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, this work interprets kys as the articulation of the author’s resistance to patriarchal politics in Russian literature. In creating the post-apocalyptic society, Tolstaya depicts traditional gender roles, chooses a male protagonist and inserts numerous citations from literary works written exclusively by male authors. Nevertheless, even though in such a manner she appears to be imitating the dominant (male) literary tradition and depriving female characters of their voice, other elements lead to a different conclusion. For instance, the images of patriarchal society are primarily carnivalesque, while the classical notion of “the angel in the house” undergoes demythologization. Kys itself is gradually taking over the protagonist’s mind transforming him into her own embodiment – a monster which in her passionate yearning for books will stop at nothing – and so creates her own story in the process....

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Mrtvi osvjetljavaju put živima. Zato čitamo: da upalimo baklju. Uz njezino svjetlo pišemo. To vam govorim uvjerenošću voditelja radionice kreativnog pisanja, četrdesetogodišnjaka, s obiteljskim problemima, čovjeka koji je više star nego mlad (to ne vrijedi za sve četrdesetogodišnjake, ali u mom je slučaju istina), koji stoji ispred grupe muškaraca koji izgledaju kao glumačka postava poznatog filma o velikoj pobjedi grupe nespretnjakovića. Ovima, dečkima s radionice, nedostaje cijeli niz prijeko potrebnih stvari: ruka, osobna higijena, samopouzdanje, minerali, elektroliti. Nemojte kriviti pisanje. Na kraju krajeva, svima nama koji pišemo u određenoj mjeri, svakog jutra, nedostaje jedna ruka.Aura, moja žena, prestala mi je odgovarati na poruke sat vremena prije početka radionica. A poruke koje su stigle prije nego što je nastupila tišina bile su pune grubog prijezira. Nešto sam napravio; nešto, ponavljam kako bih izbjegao mučno razmišljanje. Uzrok nezadovoljstva može biti konkretan ili apstraktan, ideološki ili to što sam se vratio pijan, u zoru, i srušio vazu kada sam bacio jaknu na stol....

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The paper reads the novel Dessa Rose (1986) by African American author Sherley Anne Williams, and focuses on the duality of motherhood as compounding and healing trauma at the same time. After placing the novel is its socio-cultural and literary context, I argue, relying on Black feminist and Afro-pessimistic theory, that the subversive potential of Williams’s novel lies in its claim that enslaved Black women are capable of healing through (re-)appropriating what is meant to dehumanize them: their stories, their bodies, their children, and their communities.Keywords: contemporary African American literature, Black women’s literature, slavery, motherhood studiesThe novel Dessa Rose (1986) by African American author Sherley Anne Williams interrogates the consequences of the extreme humiliation and almost total annihilation and torture of the Black female body. The eponymous protagonist, an enslaved woman, is denied agency and narrative authority, and is dehumanized by several people in her environment – B ack and white, men and women alike. The text demonstrates how the simultaneous invisibility and hyper-visibility of Black women compounds the different types of trauma caused by slavery, such as being kept in bondage, the denial of bodily autonomy, an almost fatal escape, and giving birth under traumatic circumstances. In the following text, after placing the novel in its socio-cultural and literary context, I will anchor my analysis in Black feminist and Afro-pessimistic theory, and argue that the subversive potential of Williams’s novel lies in its claim that Black women are capable of healing through (re-)appropriating what is meant to dehumanize them: their stories, their bodies, their children, and their communities. In this process of wake work (Sharpe 16-19), the protagonist and her community create a new Black discourse of self-representation in defiance of the dominant, white supremacist discourse in order to construct, in Christina Sharpe’s words, “new ways to live in the wake of slavery, in slavery’s afterlives, to survive (and more) the afterlife of property” (18)....

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