Genre and the Post Communist Woman : Analyzing Transformations of the Central and Eastern European
This work is a critical intervention into the archive of female identity; it reflects on the ways in which the Central and Eastern European female ideal was constructed, represented, and embodied in communist societies and on its transformation resulting from the political, economic, and social changes specific to the post-communist social and political transitions. During the communist period, the female ideal was constituted as a heroic mother and worker, both a revolutionary and a state bureaucrat, which were regarded as key elements in the processes of industrial development and production. She was portrayed as physically strong and with rugged rather than with feminized attributes. After the post-communist regime collapsed, the female ideal’s traits changed. As the consumer-oriented societies began displacing the state-dominated command economies of the communist period, the female ideal lost its close association with the state’s authority and with the industrial production and instead took on the feminine attributes that are familiar in the West’s consumer-oriented societies. As a result, the post-communist female ideal is tightly connected to various commodities (fashion products and luxury items), while the female herself has become a commodity in both marriage markets and illicit sexual exchanges associated with prostitution and sex trafficking.
Each chapter in the volume explores different aspects of these changes and links those changes to national security, nationalism, and relations with Western societies, while focusing on a variety of genres of expression such as films, music, plays, literature, press reports, television talk shows and ethnographic research. The topics explored in this volume open a space for discussion and reflection about how radical social change intimately affected the lives, identities and the positions of women in society that resulted in various policy initiatives involving women’s social and political roles. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of gender studies, comparative politics, Eastern European studies and cultural studies.