Slavenka Drakulić's How We Survived Communism And Even Laughed

892 Words 4 Pages
Feminism is, without a doubt, one of the most misunderstood social justice movements in modernity. There are a number of people, contemporary and otherwise, who refuse to even call themselves feminists due to the negative connotation the word has acquired – images of bras being burned, discussions of mandatory castration, militant pursuit of misogynist men in both the public and personal sphere – all of these things contribute to a very dark, almost violent image of feminist spaces. And while these people are a part of the movement, they do not speak for other feminists, or the cause itself. The notion that there must be a universal, one-size-fits-all brand of feminism is a chief failing of the movement. Instead of trying to assert a kind of …show more content…
Slavenka Drakulić’s How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed is perhaps the most significant in relation to this topic. Drakulić discusses a variety of feminist topics, some more universal and applicable globally, while others are uniquely Croatian or Eastern European. Using Drakulić’s text, as well as a secondary source by Rosalind Delmar, this paper will attempt to argue that How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed is an intersectional text – it highlights not only the differences in Western and Eastern European feminism, but also the similarities. It is vital to understand the ubiquitous, similar experiences of women despite the huge differences in their social, economic, and political lives. This collection of essays gives voice to a number of universal experiences: objectification and sexualization of women, street harassment, the male gaze, the othering of women in literary and academic spaces, standards of beauty, and the difference in relationships between men and women and women with each other. It also allows the reader, particularly a Western-educated one, to understand the unique need for feminism in Eastern Europe: living under totalitarian suppression, female labor under communism, and the way Western stereotyping has shaped understanding of Eastern European feminism. By analyzing and dissecting these elements, it will become …show more content…
Two terms will come in handy when making this distinction: absolute and conditional. An absolute experience, in this paper, will be used to define any experience that women encounter more generally: targeting based on their gender or perceived gender presentation, targeting related to the female sex, et cetera. These experiences, despite where the women may be from or the sociopolitical climate of it, are everywhere. Typically these experiences will evoke a sense of sisterhood and camaraderie. On the opposite end, there are conditional experiences - these are things that not all women will experience. That is to say that a woman in a totalitarian state will face a different form of discrimination and oppression than a woman in the West, and that an LGBTQ+ woman will face different experiences than a straight woman. The conditional experiences of women are valuable to this analysis because it will allow us to understand the ways that Drakulic exemplifies an intersectional feminism: acceptance of differences and empowerment through them, while also reminding women of the ways they can unify to resist all forms of

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