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Do not kill the women! A feminist cry from stifled Romania Autor: Briena Stoica Univ. Lucian Blaga, Sibiu Doctorand an II, bursier POSDRU Prof. coord.

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Presentation on theme: "Do not kill the women! A feminist cry from stifled Romania Autor: Briena Stoica Univ. Lucian Blaga, Sibiu Doctorand an II, bursier POSDRU Prof. coord."— Presentation transcript:

1 Do not kill the women! A feminist cry from stifled Romania Autor: Briena Stoica Univ. Lucian Blaga, Sibiu Doctorand an II, bursier POSDRU Prof. coord. – Prof. Univ. Dr. Ghe. Manolache Contact:

2 Under the influence of feminist literary theories, literature written by women can be treated as a separate category if we are to take into account the various motifs, themes, narrative strategies and perspectives which bear a feminine print. Despite the diversity of the literary genres or their realist or modernist mode of narration, typical tendencies of feminist literature have been identified. Under the influence of feminist literary theories, literature written by women can be treated as a separate category if we are to take into account the various motifs, themes, narrative strategies and perspectives which bear a feminine print. Despite the diversity of the literary genres or their realist or modernist mode of narration, typical tendencies of feminist literature have been identified.

3 The research I am currently conducting concerns six women authors that were active in the literary field during communism. A special consideration deserves Maria Luiza Cristescu, a well-known literary critic but whose prolific literary production has been overlooked in recent years. The major focus of her novels is mapping the power structures present not only at the political level but in the individual interactions as well. The feminist slogan of the 70s the personal is the political informs her novels, preeminently the one that appeared in Do not kill the women! Its rather pathetic tone is set on the background of the so-called socialist emancipation of women. Although the communist vision of the new role of women transpires from her novel, it is certainly in a parodic way. The research I am currently conducting concerns six women authors that were active in the literary field during communism. A special consideration deserves Maria Luiza Cristescu, a well-known literary critic but whose prolific literary production has been overlooked in recent years. The major focus of her novels is mapping the power structures present not only at the political level but in the individual interactions as well. The feminist slogan of the 70s the personal is the political informs her novels, preeminently the one that appeared in Do not kill the women! Its rather pathetic tone is set on the background of the so-called socialist emancipation of women. Although the communist vision of the new role of women transpires from her novel, it is certainly in a parodic way.

4 With Do not kill the women!, Maria Luiza Cristescu proves that feminine literature is not merely an artificial construct, the writer herself proving to be an example of this type of literature. Instinct, candor, sentimentalism, subjectivity, femininity, all these traits, considered by the critic Eugen Lovinescu as specific to feminine literature can be detected in this novel. Nevertheless, the lucid perspective of Raluca on her own femininity, reminds of Freud and his malicious commentary that being a woman implies a guilt that has to be atoned for. With Do not kill the women!, Maria Luiza Cristescu proves that feminine literature is not merely an artificial construct, the writer herself proving to be an example of this type of literature. Instinct, candor, sentimentalism, subjectivity, femininity, all these traits, considered by the critic Eugen Lovinescu as specific to feminine literature can be detected in this novel. Nevertheless, the lucid perspective of Raluca on her own femininity, reminds of Freud and his malicious commentary that being a woman implies a guilt that has to be atoned for.

5 The novel is a feminist manifesto which deconstructs prejudice, illuminates new angles of femininity, as well as conveying a revised identity of women. The gallery of women portraits who orbit around Raluca, includes women who follow the prescriptions of the society in which they live, conforming to their roles in such degree that they become caricatures. The novel is a feminist manifesto which deconstructs prejudice, illuminates new angles of femininity, as well as conveying a revised identity of women. The gallery of women portraits who orbit around Raluca, includes women who follow the prescriptions of the society in which they live, conforming to their roles in such degree that they become caricatures.

6 The grand narrative of the time, in Lyotard’s words, describes women as forever liberated and the feminist claims of freedom and equality with men seem to have found their ultimate response in the socialist vision of the role and status of women. Although Marx does not bring forward a clear theory deliniating the new woman, Engels follows his line and claims that the emancipation of women is possible only when class struggle is surpassed. Thus, in the socialist vision, once the woman is given the possiblity to earn her living, the barriers that kept her in a position of inferiority to men is finally removed. The communist reality was nevertheless very different. Women were now burdened with new social roles, without a meaningful transformation of the patriarchal roles assigned to them previously. The woman worker and truck driver, the communist illegalist, the active political women were emasculated images that did not reflect the change in the society’s perception of roles but they merely juxtaposed forecefully new social attributes. The grand narrative of the time, in Lyotard’s words, describes women as forever liberated and the feminist claims of freedom and equality with men seem to have found their ultimate response in the socialist vision of the role and status of women. Although Marx does not bring forward a clear theory deliniating the new woman, Engels follows his line and claims that the emancipation of women is possible only when class struggle is surpassed. Thus, in the socialist vision, once the woman is given the possiblity to earn her living, the barriers that kept her in a position of inferiority to men is finally removed. The communist reality was nevertheless very different. Women were now burdened with new social roles, without a meaningful transformation of the patriarchal roles assigned to them previously. The woman worker and truck driver, the communist illegalist, the active political women were emasculated images that did not reflect the change in the society’s perception of roles but they merely juxtaposed forecefully new social attributes.

7 The novel of Maria Luiza Cristescu does not reflect the communist image of the woman liberated by her social role. On the contrary it subverts this very ideological construct rendering it as fallacious. The main character, Raluca, destabilizes conventions by assuming voluntarily the role of a non-conformist in the way she chases happiness. Raluca is a free woman, a new liberated, independent woman. She earns her own living, she lives by herself in an apartment, there are no tangles with family life, presenting herself, albeit at a superficial level, as the perfect model of socialist emancipation. This paradigme is demistified by her relation with her lovers, which holds the key of the whole novel. The novel of Maria Luiza Cristescu does not reflect the communist image of the woman liberated by her social role. On the contrary it subverts this very ideological construct rendering it as fallacious. The main character, Raluca, destabilizes conventions by assuming voluntarily the role of a non-conformist in the way she chases happiness. Raluca is a free woman, a new liberated, independent woman. She earns her own living, she lives by herself in an apartment, there are no tangles with family life, presenting herself, albeit at a superficial level, as the perfect model of socialist emancipation. This paradigme is demistified by her relation with her lovers, which holds the key of the whole novel.

8 Raluca is not married and her pursuit of happiness in fulfilling relationships with men, proves to be illusory. She has a one night adventure with a man but not because she is carried away by feelings, on the contrary she is extremely lucid and plays a role to verify if such an experience can indeed be liberating. She finds that reason interposes between her and the experience she is living, ruining the phantasma that momentary relations can lead to happiness. In the meantime she is involved in what seems a perfect relation with Radu. His image of what a woman should be is well defined and the whole set of patriarchal values and prejudices are meant to entangle and suffocate her. Thus, after considering the fake role of the submissive, beautiful, silent puppet, who only serves to boost the man’s ego, attributed to her, she decides to break free from Radu. She does so but not before she shreds to pieces his prefabricated, artificial representation of what she is supposed to be. Raluca is not married and her pursuit of happiness in fulfilling relationships with men, proves to be illusory. She has a one night adventure with a man but not because she is carried away by feelings, on the contrary she is extremely lucid and plays a role to verify if such an experience can indeed be liberating. She finds that reason interposes between her and the experience she is living, ruining the phantasma that momentary relations can lead to happiness. In the meantime she is involved in what seems a perfect relation with Radu. His image of what a woman should be is well defined and the whole set of patriarchal values and prejudices are meant to entangle and suffocate her. Thus, after considering the fake role of the submissive, beautiful, silent puppet, who only serves to boost the man’s ego, attributed to her, she decides to break free from Radu. She does so but not before she shreds to pieces his prefabricated, artificial representation of what she is supposed to be.

9 Raluca chooses now another relation whose sinous development constitutes the subject of the novel. It is in this relationship with Marcel that she finds true freedom, as roles are reversed and she can now play the part of the rational, lucid, powerful, domineering figure. Marcel assumes the mask of a poetic, instable, irrational man, professing such sensitivity that he verges on collapse were Raluca to abandon him. He clings to her as a way of escaping from himself and his domineering mother. If Raluca seems entitled to dictate the rules of the game because of her aforementioned rationality, in the end of the novel the masks fall and we find that she has been the vulnerable one all along and that Marcel was the one in power the whole time. Raluca is abandoned by him in favor of a frivolish, spiritless girl who nurtures his paternal instincts. In the end Raluca’s pretension of detaining control is demistified and her presumptious assumptions make her the victim figure in the end. Raluca chooses now another relation whose sinous development constitutes the subject of the novel. It is in this relationship with Marcel that she finds true freedom, as roles are reversed and she can now play the part of the rational, lucid, powerful, domineering figure. Marcel assumes the mask of a poetic, instable, irrational man, professing such sensitivity that he verges on collapse were Raluca to abandon him. He clings to her as a way of escaping from himself and his domineering mother. If Raluca seems entitled to dictate the rules of the game because of her aforementioned rationality, in the end of the novel the masks fall and we find that she has been the vulnerable one all along and that Marcel was the one in power the whole time. Raluca is abandoned by him in favor of a frivolish, spiritless girl who nurtures his paternal instincts. In the end Raluca’s pretension of detaining control is demistified and her presumptious assumptions make her the victim figure in the end.

10 Maria Luiza Cristescu’s play with her characters aims at deconstructing the representantion of a liberated woman due to her financial independence. The tangles of a patriarchal, obsolete mentality strangle her illusions of freedom and free will and defeat her. Maria Luiza Cristescu’s play with her characters aims at deconstructing the representantion of a liberated woman due to her financial independence. The tangles of a patriarchal, obsolete mentality strangle her illusions of freedom and free will and defeat her. Considering the fact that in the communist period, feminism as a movement was completed annihilated, and the impact of the second wave of feminism was hindered, we appreciate the novel of Maria-Luiza Cristescu as being revolutionary in its fresh, non-cliched perspective as it questions radically the condition of women. Considering the fact that in the communist period, feminism as a movement was completed annihilated, and the impact of the second wave of feminism was hindered, we appreciate the novel of Maria-Luiza Cristescu as being revolutionary in its fresh, non-cliched perspective as it questions radically the condition of women.


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