Who needs feminism today? We are living at a time when German TV host Eva Herman writes a book on how women have been mistaken choosing career over family and there is an outcry from all sides. Even a journalist from the conservative Bild-Zeitung takes pains to prove all of Eva Herman’s arguments wrong. Why would we need feminism any longer?
Of course things are more complicated than the bashing of Eva Herman for politically incorrect statements might suggest. This is 2006, and the Feuilleton-editorial staff of the respectable Berlin newspaper “Berliner Zeitung” declares that it is largely choosing images of women for the articles of the cultural section because these images are “more attractive to the readers”. This is 2006, and a meager 12.5% of the screened films at the Berlinale film-festival are made by female directors. Can we draw a link between women being overrepresented on display and nearly missing as makers? It can’t be that women as directors are in short supply because they all found jobs working in front of the camera.
In Poland, gender issues are particularly burning since a right-wing government came into office last year, continuously referring women to their “natural role” and propagating homophobia. The attempt to make the ban on abortion part of the Polish Constitution has just been one recent example of the extremely conservative trend in the current Polish political discourse.
This issue is out to explore the hidden and the more obvious aspects of gender realities in our contemporary central and eastern European cultural sphere. Our common ground is large and diverse, especially the topic of gender draws attention to this. While, for example, a Romanian author is dealing with her fear of marriage, a German-Polish poet sets out to powerfully investigate maleness. While a women from Frankfurt annoyed with sexist jokes and feminist slogans alike is making a case for lesbianism, young women and men in Warsaw, we are learning, have appropriated the term ‘feminism’ as a life-style denoting tolerance in general and the freedom of personal choices.
To our great regret, no male authors were interested enough in the topic to join into the discussion. We hope that this colorful, intelligent, sometimes radical and sometimes funny zine will inspire you people of all genders to thought and action.