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Table of contents :
List of contributors
Introduction: 1968 – the year that rocked whose world?
PART I Gender and cultural memory
1 Remembering 1968: feminist perspectives
2 Despite or in debt to 1968? Second-wave feminism and the gendered history of Italy’s 1968
3 Transnational memories and gender: Northern Ireland’s 1968
PART II Violence and/as counterviolence
4 On liberated women in an un-liberated society: Ula Stöckl’s The Cat Has Nine Lives (1968)
5 Feminism and violence against women in Yugoslavia during state socialism
6 Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue: the Ihns/Andersen case and its impact on the New Women’s Movement
PART III Women as violent actors
7 Coherence in contradiction: the spectacle of the female terrorist
8 The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’
9 ‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’: the 1968 movement and the participation of women fighters during the Lebanese civil war
10 Women of Jihad
Women, Global Protest Movements, and Political Agency
This volume analyses and historicises the memory of 1968 (understood as a marker of an emerging will for social change around the turn of that decade, rather than as a particular calendar year), focusing on cultural memory of the powerful signifier ‘68’ and women’s experience of revolutionary agency. After an opening interrogation of the historical and contemporary significance of ‘1968’ – why does it still matter? how and why is it remembered in the contexts of gender and geopolitics? and what implications does it have for broader feminist understandings of women and revolutionary agency? – the contributors explore women’s historical involvement in ‘1968’ in different parts of the world and the different ways in which women’s experience as victims and perpetrators of violence are remembered and understood. This work will be of great interest to students and scholars of protest and violence in the fields of history, politics and international relations, sociology, cultural studies, and women’s studies. Sarah Colvin is the Schröder Professor of German at the University of Cambridge, UK. Her recent book publications include Ulrike Meinhof and West German Terrorism (2009), Women and Death: Warlike Women in the German Literary and Cultural Imagination (co-editor, 2009), and The Routledge Handbook of German Politics and Culture (editor, Routledge 2015). Katharina Karcher is Lecturer in German Cultural Studies at the University of Bristol, UK. Her research interests include feminist theory, European women’s movements, and the history of political protest, extremism and violence in the Federal Republic of Germany. She is the author of ‘Sisters in Arms?’ – Militant Feminisms in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1968 (2017).
Routledge Studies in Gender and Global Politics Series Editor: Laura J. Shepherd UNSW Australia
This series aims to publish books that work with, and through, feminist insights on global politics, and illuminate the ways in which gender functions not just as a marker of identity but also as a constitutive logic in global political practices. The series welcomes scholarship on any aspect of global political practices, broadly conceived, that pays attention to the ways in which gender is central to, (re)produced in, and is productive of, such practices. There is growing recognition both within the academy and in global political institutions that gender matters in and to the practices of global politics. From the governance of peace and security, to the provision of funds for development initiatives, via transnational advocacy networks linked through strategic engagement with new forms of media, these processes have a gendered dimension that is made visible through empirically grounded and theoretically sophisticated feminist work. Gender, Governance and Feminist Analysis Missing in Action? Edited by Christine Hudson, Malin Rönnblom and Katherine Teghtsoonian Marriage Trafficking Women in Forced Wedlock Kaye Quek Human Capital in Gender and Development Sydney Calkin Women, Global Protest Movements, and Political Agency Rethinking the Legacy of 1968 Edited by Sarah Colvin and Katharina Karcher Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence Rethinking the Legacy of 1968 Edited by Sarah Colvin and Katharina Karcher For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/RoutledgeStudies-in-Gender-and-Global-Politics/book-series/GGP
Women, Global Protest Movements, and Political Agency Rethinking the Legacy of 1968 Edited by Sarah Colvin and Katharina Karcher
First published 2019 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2019 selection and editorial matter, Sarah Colvin and Katharina Karcher; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Sarah Colvin and Katharina Karcher to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Colvin, Sarah, editor. | Karcher, Katharina. Title: Women, global protest movements and political agency: rethinking the legacy of 1968 / edited by Sarah Colvin and Katharina Karcher. Description: New York: Routledge, 2019. | Series: Routledge studies in gender and global politics | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018014166 | ISBN 9780815384724 (hardback) | ISBN 9781351203715 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Feminism—History. | Women—Political activity— History. | Protest movements—History. | Women terrorists—History. Classification: LCC HQ1121 .W88526 2019 | DDC 305.4209—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018014166 ISBN: 978-0-8153-8472-4 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-351-20371-5 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Apex CoVantage, LLC
List of contributors Introduction: 1968 – the year that rocked whose world?
S A R A H C O LV I N AND KAT HARI NA KARCHE R
Gender and cultural memory
Remembering 1968: feminist perspectives K R I S T I N A S C HUL Z
Despite or in debt to 1968? Second-wave feminism and the gendered history of Italy’s 1968
Transnational memories and gender: Northern Ireland’s 1968
C H R I S R E Y N O LDS
Violence and/as counterviolence 4
On liberated women in an un-liberated society: Ula Stöckl’s The Cat Has Nine Lives (1968)
C H R I S T I N A G E RHARDT
Feminism and violence against women in Yugoslavia during state socialism ZSÓFIA LÓRÁND
6 Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue: the Ihns/Andersen case and its impact on the New Women’s Movement
C L A R E B I E LBY
Women as violent actors 7 Coherence in contradiction: the spectacle of the female terrorist
D O M I N I Q U E GRI S ARD
8 The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’
C L A U D I A D E RI CHS
9 ‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’: the 1968 movement and the participation of women fighters during the Lebanese civil war
J E N N I F E R P HI L I P PA E GGE RT
10 Women of Jihad
D A N I E L A P I S OI U
Clare Bielby is Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Women’s Studies, University of York, UK, a post she took up in 2017 after having spent seven years as Lecturer in German Studies at the University of Hull, UK. Clare is the author of Violent Women in Print: Representations in the West German Print Media of the 1960s and 1970s (2012) and co-editor (with Anna Richards) of Women and Death 3: Women’s Representations of Death in German Culture since 1500 (2010) and (with Jeffrey Murer) Perpetrating Selves: Doing Violence, Performing Identity (Palgrave, forthcoming). Clare has published widely on the subject of gender, violence, and (self)representation with a particular focus on the post-war culture of the Federal Republic of Germany. Claudia Derichs is Professor for Comparative Politics and International Development Studies at Philipps University Marburg, Germany. She is a member of various editorial boards, advisory boards, selection and evaluation committees, and was awarded a Heisenberg scholarship by the German Science Foundation. Prior research interests are political Islam and transition in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, as well as gender and development politics in Asia and the Middle East. She specialises in transregional studies and works towards new orientations in Area Studies, and has published widely on these subjects. She is the author of Knowledge Production, Area Studies and Global Cooperation (Routledge 2017), and the editor of Women’s Movements and Countermovements: The Quest for Gender Equality in Southeast Asia and the Middle East (2014), Diversity and Female Political Participation: Views On and From the Arab World (2010). Jennifer Philippa Eggert is an Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study and the Department of Politics and International Studies of the University of Warwick (UK). She is a political and cultural scientist by training. Her research is situated at the intersection of conflict/terrorism studies, women’s/ gender studies, and Middle Eastern studies. It focuses on women and political violence in Lebanon and other countries of the region, such as Syria, Iraq, and Palestine. Jennifer holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick and an MSc in Comparative Politics/Conflict Studies from the LSE. Prior to that she studied for a BA in Social and Cultural Sciences
viii Contributors at the European University Viadrina in Germany and at Sciences Po Paris. She was a Visiting Researcher at Princeton University and at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Jennifer also works in counterextremism and community engagement. Christina Gerhardt is Associate Professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, USA. She is author of Screening the Red Army Faction: Cultural and Historical Memory (2018), co-editor of 1968 and Global Cinema (2018) and of Celluloid Revolt: German Screen Cultures and the Sixties (2019), and guest editor of “1968 and West German Cinema”, a special issue of The Sixties 10 (2017). She has held fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has held visiting appointments at Harvard University, Columbia University, the Free University in Berlin and the University of California at Berkeley, where she taught previously. Her writing has been published in the journals Cineaste, Film Criticism, Film Quarterly, German Studies Review, Humanities, Mosaic, New German Critique, Quarterly Review of Film and Video and The Sixties. Dominique Grisard teaches Gender Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and directs the Swiss Center for Social Research. From 2011 to 2016 she was a Visiting Scholar at City University London, London School of Economics, Columbia University, the Graduate Center at the City of New York, the New School for Social Research, and the University of Chicago. She has published extensively on left-wing terrorism in 1970s Europe and female political prisoners in Switzerland. More recently she has published on the pink triangle, LGBT historiography, and the use of pink in prisons, on the sexualisation and pinkification of girl culture, and on princess boys. Grisard is the author of Gendering Terror (2011), a history of (counter)terrorism in 1970s Switzerland and Germany, and the editor of three anthologies on gender theory: Verschieden Sein (2013), Gender in Motion (2007), and Gender and Knowledge (2004). Andrea Hajek is a former British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Glasgow, UK), and currently works as an academic copy-editor and proofreader. She is the Managing Editor for the journal Memory Studies and an Associate Editor for Modern Italy. She is also a founding member of the Warwick Oral History Network and an affiliate member of the Centre for Gender History, University of Glasgow. Her publications include Negotiating Memories of Protest in Western Europe: The Case of Italy (2013) and the co-edited volume Memory in a Mediated World: Remembrance and Reconstruction (2015). Her research interests include cultural and collective memory, digital memories, Italian social movements, 1968 in Europe, the 1970s in Italy, second-wave feminism, oral history, terrorism in Italian cinema, and women’s history. Zsófia Lóránd is an intellectual historian of feminism in post-World War II statesocialist Eastern Europe. She was awarded her PhD by the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and has held positions at the European University
Institute in Florence and the Lichtenberg-Kolleg in Göttingen. She is the author of The Feminist Challenge to the Socialist State in Yugoslavia (2018), and has published on the history of feminist political thought in Croatia and Serbia after 1991, the problems of the missing perspective of women in the nationalist commemorations of Hungarian history, the concept of the sexual revolution in Yugoslavia, and on other themes. For eight years she worked as an SOS helpline volunteer and trainer in the field of domestic violence. Daniela Pisoiu is Senior Researcher at the Austrian Institute for International Affairs. Her fields of research are: terrorism, radicalisation, extremism, and American and European foreign and security policy. She completed her PhD at the University of St Andrews’ Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, and has conducted fieldwork on the topic of radicalisation in Austria, Germany, and France, as well as other European countries. She is the author of Islamist Radicalisation in Europe: An Occupational Change Process, Arguing Counterterrorism: New Perspectives (2011), and co-author of Theories of Terrorism: An Introduction (2016). Chris Reynolds is Associate Professor of Contemporary French and European Studies at Nottingham Trent University, UK. His main research interests are in relation to the events of 1968 from a French, Northern Irish, and European perspective. In addition to a wide range of articles and chapters on these topics, he is the author of Memories of May’68: France’s Convenient Consensus (2011) and Sous les pavés . . . The Troubles: Northern Ireland, France and the European Collective Memory of 1968 (2015). Chris is currently leading a significant project with the Ulster Museum on the question of Northern Ireland’s 1968. Kristina Schulz is Senior Lecturer for Contemporary History and Migration History at the University of Bern, Switzerland. She is a specialist of Western feminist history in comparative perspective and is the author of a book on the French and German Women’s Liberation Movements: “Der lange Atem der Provokation”: Die Frauenbewegung in der Bundesrepublik und in Frankreich (1968–1976). Together with Leena Schmitter and Sarah Kiani she published a source and archive guide about the Swiss Women’s Liberation Movement in 2014. With Magda Kaspar she recently launched an audio archive and interactive website about the feminist movement in Switzerland from the 1970s to the present (Women’s Movement 2.0).
Introduction 1968 – the year that rocked whose world?1 Sarah Colvin and Katharina Karcher
There have only been two world revolutions. One took place in 1848. The second took place in 1968. Both were historic failures. Both transformed the world. (Arrighi, Hopkins, and Wallerstein 1989: 97)
To claim that 1848 and 1968 were ‘world revolutions’ is only possible if quite a lot of the world is elided. To say the revolution ‘took place’ in either of the years cited is probably also to overstate the matter. Certain key events that happened in 1848 and 1968 have given those years a status as markers for processes whose beginnings preceded the marker year, and whose after-effects were profound and lasting. It is often noted that the signification of ‘1968’ chronologically exceeds the marker year in both directions: that annus mirabilis ‘marked the climax of protests, capturing almost all Western industrialised countries simultaneously’ and subsequently left ‘the political ground-rules of the worldsystem [. . .] profoundly and irrevocably changed’ (Gilcher-Holtey 2014: 2; Arrighi, Hopkins, and Wallerstein 1989: 98; see also Bourg 2018 and Reynolds in this volume). It is becoming well established that ‘1968’ also had effects in countries and regions way beyond the industrialised West (e.g. Carey 2005; Marotti 2009; Pierce 2009; Brewster 2010; Fenoglio-Limón 2010; Monaville 2013; Christiansen and Scarlett 2015; and Lóránd, Derichs, Eggert, and Pisoiu in this volume). The ‘global sixties’ describe a decade whose events, even if they were not comprehensively global, did ‘encompass much of the globe, certainly much more than has previously been thought’ (Brown 2013: 3); and they were followed by a ‘global seventies’ and ‘global eighties’, perhaps most evidently in the women’s movements as ‘specific moment[s] in the long history of feminism’ (Schulz 2017: 1). For some women, as Pisoiu (in this volume) and Smith (2019) demonstrate, there is a trajectory that extends into the contemporary world. The contributors of the chapters collected here read ‘woman’ as a political and cultural category, and women’s political thinking and praxis as, therefore, inseparable from cultural and discursive constructs of femininity (even when it seeks or manages to transcend them). The focus is on gender, geopolitics, and the politics of cultural memory. This is one of two companion volumes in the Gender and
Sarah Colvin and Katharina Karcher
Global Politics Series interrogating the legacy of 1968, fifty years on, through the lens of gender. Each volume has a distinctive focus and logic. The companion volume, Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968 (Colvin and Karcher 2019), presents approaches to the problem of ‘emancipatory violence’ and emancipation, again across disciplines and through the lens of gender. Taken together, the geopolitical range of the two volumes is broad, not global (it would be impossible to cover every country or movement around the world). Rather, this is a collective effort from a set of international experts in different disciplinary areas to come together and build our understanding of the legacy of 1968 through the lens of gender; and in doing so to provide critical insights and analytical tools that might inform thinking beyond the specific contexts they consider. In the companion volume to this one, Charity Scribner, writing on the militancy of the singer Nina Simone, cites Brooks’ (2011: 176) concern that ‘no one critical apparatus can sustain a sufficient reading of Nina Simone’. To understand the complexities of Simone’s life and art, Scribner and Brooks agree, perspectives and approaches from across disciplines are needed. We suggest that the same is true for ‘1968’: no one critical apparatus can sustain a sufficient reading of its complexity. That is why we conceived this from the beginning as an interdisciplinary project, and set out to garner the expertise of experts in history and cultural studies, politics and international relations, literary and film studies, and art history. Collectively, the contributors approach ‘1968’ as a marker of particular shifts and processes, and they situate those shifts and processes in contexts that are chronologically and geographically complex. The ‘global protest movements’ that the title of the current volume conjures are global in the sense that they emerged around the world in locations where circumstances permitted or enabled it. They did not, of course, emerge everywhere in the world, nor has it been possible address all the locations where irruptions of protest occurred. The discussions of radical activity and change that are presented here – in Italy, Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Lebanon, and the ‘Islamic State’ – are not an attempt to provide global coverage, but to interrogate ‘1968’ as a designator of a Western leftist ideal of sociopolitical progress with reference to a variety of geopolitical contexts: as a ‘a date in which the imaginary has nested’, in the words of Hans Magnus Enzensberger (cited in Gilcher-Holtey 2014: 1). Fifty years on, it seems necessary to ask whose imaginary has settled so comfortably on that date, and whether it has behaved like a cuckoo in the nest, ejecting other possible imaginaries from the story of ’68. Was there a ‘spirit of 68’, as Gerd-Rainer Horn’s (2007) eponymous monograph suggests, and if so, whose?
Protest movements and the New Left Continuing their side-by-side assessment of 1848 and 1968, Arrighi, Hopkins, and Wallerstein (1989: 98) note that ‘it was 1848 which institutionalised the Old Left (using this term broadly). And it was 1968 that institutionalised the new social movements’. In the Western industrialised countries, the mobilisation of the 1968
Introduction 3 movements was preceded by the rise of an intellectual New Left: a New Left that fundamentally questioned the effectiveness of the strategies the Old Left had engaged to oppose capitalism (ibid.: 101). The New Left was ‘consciously internationalist’ (Varon 2004: 1), and it sought to distance itself from both social democratic and socialist reformism, and Stalinist communism. In its self-narrative at least, the New Left was anti-authoritarian and anti-hierarchical, and conceived of itself ‘as a movement, not a party’ (Gilcher-Holtey 2014: 3). In its ‘wildest dreams’, it saw itself ‘waging a revolution that would overthrow both the US-led imperialism of the West and the ossified, bureaucratic communism of the East’ (Varon 2004: 1). Social movements can be understood as ‘networks of informal interactions between a plurality of individuals, groups and/or organisations, engaged in political or cultural conflicts, on the basis of shared collective identities’ (Diani 1992: 1; compare Gilcher-Holtey 2014: 2–3; Neidhardt and Rucht 1991: 450). Protests, as Taylor and Van Dyke (2004: 268) define them, are ‘sites of contestation in which bodies, symbols, identities, practices, and discourses are used to pursue or prevent changes in institutionalised power relations’. In the context of social movement mobilisation, protests have been ‘followed by change in a variety of areas’; movements have access to ‘transnational opportunities, or, to put it a better way, [. . .] a multilevel opportunity structure’ (Della Porta and Diani 2006: 248, 18). Recent years have seen a growing focus on the transnational and global dynamics of 1968 as a ‘transnational moment of crisis and opportunity’ (Horn 2007: 4). Global dynamics and transnational opportunities refer not only to geographical but to conceptual space: ideas travel. We see ‘actors in one local terrain [. . .] coming into contact with, adopting, rejecting, or otherwise responding to, exogeneous influences’ (Brown 2013: 4; and see in particular Claudia Derichs’ chapter in this volume). In that sense, ‘1968’ needs to be understood both on the specific, local level, and as what Clavin has called ‘transnational history’. Transnational history allows us to reflect on, while at the same time going beyond, the confines of the nation. It sheds new, comparative light on the strengths and fragilities of the nation-state and underlines the ways in which local history can be understood in relation to world history. (Clavin 2005: 438) Collectively, the essays in this volume capture both local specificities and transnational tendencies. Despite the polarised nature of the global political landscape, ideas and people were travelling across political divisions, national borders, and Cold War fronts throughout the 1960s. Thanks to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School and other thinkers associated with the New Left, the repressed traditions of Marxism and psychoanalysis experienced a revival. Translations of the writings of the Martinican revolutionary Frantz Fanon, the Argentinian guerrilla leader Che Guevara, and the Brazilian militant Carlos Marighella circulated on university campuses
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in many Western countries, and a radical minority attempted to establish ‘urban guerrilla’ groups in the First World, in order both to incite local or national revolutions, and to support anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles in the Third World. Theoretical production from the Third World was also widely received in the popular student movements (Trnka 2003: 316); but recent research has shown that Latin American revolutionary theory was not only received in the West: there were ‘many exchange and cultural transfer phenomena between Latin America and the Soviet Union’ (Rupprecht 2015: 287). News reports on and personal testimonies from the Vietnam War had a similarly global reach and impact, even if television did not have ‘the same widespread dissemination and impact in the Third World as it did in Europe and the United States, where viewers tuned into the nightly news and found on their screens the horrors of the Vietnam War’ (Christiansen and Scarlett 2015: 7). The British-Pakistani student activist Tariq Ali was one of those on the Western Left who visited war-torn Vietnam in the 1960s. Ali described his trip later as ‘a formative experience’ (Ali 2005: 182): ‘The struggle was still approaching its peak, but I had no doubt that what I had seen was the most epic resistance ever witnessed in the sordid annals of imperialism’; a trip to Vietnam had a similarly powerful impact on the American writer and activist Susan Sontag (Gilcher-Holtey 2019). Student activists internationally shared Ali’s stance on Vietnam. In September 1967, a group of forty activists from the US met up with a North Vietnamese delegation in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. At that meeting, the American student leader Tom Hayden famously declared: ‘we are now all Viet Cong’ (Maraniss 2003: 199). But were they really? Although the protest movements associated with 1968 shared an interest in education reforms, Christiansen and Scarlett (2015: 7) argue that they need to be situated in their different political contexts: the Cold War resonated very differently in the Third World than it did in the First and Second. For one, the Cold War was far more than a ‘cold’ battle of ideologies in the Third World. Proxy wars orchestrated on behalf of the superpowers were part of the day-to-day experience of many young Third World nations (and nationalists) in the 1960s, and the reality of assassination, political imprisonment, and outright massacre amounted to much more than an ideological debate. A global understanding of the 1960s, therefore, requires us to ‘take up the case of the Third World, not as it was in the minds of Western students, but as it exists in history and on the ground’ (Klimke 2011: 2). While we agree that it is of critical importance to distinguish between political contexts and to document and analyse experiences on the ground, we consider it equally important critically to assess the projections, dreams, and idealised notions of a revolutionary Third World subject that accompanied and sometimes outlived experiences on the ground. The contributors to this volume explore both imaginary and real transnational links, with a careful eye to similarities and differences between protest cultures in the First, Second, and Third Worlds, and within those different contexts.
Introduction 5 The ‘transnational turn’ (see, e.g. Tyrrell 2009) in history has led to a radical rethinking of the relationship between the New Left in the First and the Third Worlds in the 1960s. Slobodian (2012: 10), for example, is critical of studies that have reduced the New Left relationship to an identification with and projection of revolutionary struggles in the Third World: In the process of inserting the 1960s into a national story of civic maturation, the dominant narrative has conveniently found the sources of error beyond national borders. The Third World has become part of an alibi, explaining why elements of the New Left chose the road to armed militancy in the 1970s and keeping the ‘good ‘68’ available as part of a national narrative of postfascist recovery. (ibid.: 30) Women’s accounts and experiences for a long time played a marginal role in the dominant narrative of 1968, but that is beginning to change.
Through the lens of gender If the American housewife in her kitchen embodied the American values of individual consumption, her Soviet counterpart embodied communist values of collectivization, communal effort, and shared ownership. (Laville 2013: 529)
Although the Cold War impacted on the lives of women around the globe, it affected them in different ways. In the US and other Western countries, women had played an active role in the workforce during World War II, but were urged back into the domestic sphere in the 1950s. On the other side of the Iron Curtain, working mothers were the norm rather than the exception; and yet gender equality in the Soviet Union was not as fully realised as its representation often seemed to suggest (Usha 2005; Laville 2013). Zsófia Lóránd’s chapter in this volume describes a similarly mixed picture of gender relations and gender equality in state-socialist Yugoslavia. In other parts of the world, the picture was different again: Jennifer Eggert’s essay in this volume shows how, for women fighters in the Lebanese civil war, the national cause was a more powerful motivating factor than feminist ideas; and how in some communities religious narratives also played a role. Within feminist movements in the First World, the former Soviet Union, and the Third World, the idea that the personal is political was widely recognised, and campaigns were launched against hidden and private forms of violence and abuse. Although the slogan ‘the personal is political’ became popular thanks to second-wave feminism in the US, it was already being used in the early 1960s by activists in the civil rights movement and in the New Left (Heberle 2016). In 1962, Tom Hayden had called for a radical ‘reassertion of the personal’ (cited in ibid.: 2). Hayden and others associated with the New Left rejected the bourgeois
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separation between the public and the private sphere. They argued that issues that were commonly regarded as ‘private troubles’ had to be analysed and tackled as expressions of underlying as political, social, and economic problems. In the late 1960s, women in the New Left began to discuss ‘personal’ issues and responsibilities such as childcare, housework, and contraception as expressions of patriarchal structures, or what Christina Gerhardt in this volume calls ‘slow violence’. Since many of their male comrades were unwilling to make a joint effort to analyse and tackle these issues, and instead colluded in perpetuating the structural violence that objectified women and relegated them to support roles, women began to organise independently. Consciousness-raising work, which was widely practised by feminist groups in the post-1968 era, is testimony to the importance of the politicisation of the personal sphere. In the US and a range of other countries, women met in small groups to explore personal problems and experiences to heighten their awareness of patriarchal patterns of oppression and to create a sense of solidarity (see e.g. Ruck et al. 2015). Inevitably, the identity- and solidarity-building notion that women had a shared experience of the personal as political also sparked ‘internal critique and conflict among feminists’ (Heberle 2016: 11). In the 1970s and 1980s, and in the light of their experiences of violence and exclusion, groups of lesbian, black, disabled, and other women challenged the radical feminist notion of ‘global sisterhood’ (Morgan 1985). bell hooks (2000: 43) has traced the concept of universal sisterhood back to a problematic idea of common oppression, evoked mainly by ‘bourgeois white women, both liberal and radical in perspective’. Chandra Talpade Mohanty comes to a similar conclusion, arguing that the notion of sisterhood ‘erases material and ideological power differences within and among groups of women, especially between First and Third World women’ (Mohanty 2003: 116). Although the growing focus on the personal sparked controversial debates and criticism within and beyond feminist movements, it provided important impulses for women’s movements around the world. It raised awareness within and beyond feminist movements of hidden forms of violence and abuse, such as domestic violence and spousal rape – topics that are addressed in the chapters that follow particularly by Zsófia Lóránd for Yugoslavia, Clare Bielby for Germany, and Claudia Derichs for Indonesia. The chapters fall into three sections. Gender and cultural memory 1968, in Ingo Cornils’ terms, ‘has become a holy grail and a black hole’ (2016: ix); it is ‘the cherished or reviled object of memory, hotly contested’, whereby ‘some feel that its utopian promise has not been fulfilled, while others believe that one must get rid of the utopian ideas to return to moral certainties that existed before’ (Waters 2010: 3). Either way, 1968 is clearly still a powerful signifier, and is increasingly understood to signify something more than the actions of a small group of young men living in the US and central Europe. And still, the stories of Mario Savio, Mark Rudd, Rudi Dutschke, and Dany Cohn-Bendit retain their
Introduction 7 high profile and popular status. To some extent that reflects the historical reality of 1968: ‘visible female leaders’, as Evans observes, were rare. The narratives of most student revolts (some of which were also allied with large labour uprisings) revolve around a set of key male actors [. . .] who quickly became household names. Women participated in large numbers, but they remained in the background. (2009: 332) At the same time, it reflects a gender-hierarchical discursive norm that persisted even within the New Left and the self-consciously anti-hierarchical social movements associated with it. The same ‘gendered paradigm’ has persisted in the historical narratives that have shaped cultural memory of those movements: embedded in the ethos of the movements themselves that framed the ways they told their own stories, the ways the popular media perceived them, and most subsequent historical accounts as well. The drama of fathers and sons, filled with military metaphor and sometimes-violent conflict, ‘made sense’ to participants and observers alike. [. . .] In subsequent years, male leaders’ memoirs offered key narratives of the movements. (Evans 2009: 333) Cultural or collective memory is a term that describes how ‘individuals and groups constitute their identities by recalling a shared past’; it is ‘articulated through technologies and media that shape even as they transmit memory. Acts of memory are thus acts of performance, representation, and interpretation. They require agents and specific contexts’ (Hirsch and Smith 2002: 5–6; see also Reynolds 2011, 2014). Like gender, memory has sociohistorical specificity – and like gender, it has that specific grounding even when it claims the status of a grand or universal narrative. Like gender, cultural memory ‘is always about the distribution of and contested claims to power’ (Hirsch and Smith 2002: 6); and reading through the lens of gender is, therefore, an effective way to expose power relations. The chapters in the first section of this volume address gender and cultural memory: how and by whom women’s protest, political contributions, and social achievements around 1968 are remembered. They investigate feminist memory politics, collective action, and collective memory, and consider the ‘closed’ or hegemonic narratives of ‘1968’ and how they might be expanded and enriched, in the context of what Kristina Schulz in the opening chapter identifies as ‘memory contests’ (compare Fuchs, Cosgrove, and Grote 2006), pointing to the narratives that reject 1968 as a point of origin for second-wave feminism. Andrea Hajek in her assessment of Italy’s stories of ’68 similarly challenges the hegemonic narrative that Italian second-wave feminism ‘arose from the ashes of 1968’, and argues that only a nonlinear and multidirectional narrative of 1968 can give due credit to women’s revolutionary agency. And Chris Reynolds, in his analysis of transnational memories and gender in Northern Ireland, questions any naïvely positive
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reading of the impetus provided by the ‘spirit of 68’ for women’s liberation. Reynolds concludes the section with an assessment of women’s social and political participation as a marker of Northern Ireland’s place in the grand narrative of ‘1968’; but simultaneously suggests that the events of 1968 might better be understood as a negative than a positive catalyst for the feminist movement. Hajek reaches a similar conclusion for gender dynamics in Italy, where a gendered approach to 1968 needs to consider feminism’s rise ‘despite’ 1968 alongside its much-vaunted ‘debt’ to that year. Violence and/as counterviolence Sometimes violence is exceptional, spectacular, and visible, as a number of the essays collected here demonstrate. Reading through the lens of gender, however, sharpens our view of other kinds of violence that are less culturally visible. Structural violence, as conceptualised by Johan Galtung in 1969 and more recently by (among others) Slavoj Žižek (2009) and Etienne Balibar (2015), describes the often nebulous workings of deep-rooted social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors that constrain, circumscribe, and oppress. Structural violence supports the subjugation of some groups by others, and blocks or obscures possibilities for resistance or emancipation (compare Jones 2019). Feminist activists and scholars have fought for the recognition that ‘gender operates through all forms of violence’; that rape and physical abuse within families, and assaults on ‘personhood, dignity, sense of worth or value’ are different forms of violence, for violence can be in play even where there is no direct physical harm (Scheper-Hughes and Bourgois 2005: 22, 1). In her opening chapter for this section, Christina Gerhardt writes of the ‘slow violence’ of patriarchy, and how a feminist filmmaker in 1968 depicts its operation in different women’s lives and their different strategies for challenging and escaping sexist structures. Since they had little trust in the existing institutions and forms of justice, feminist activists around the world organised independently to theorise and tackle violence against women. The world’s first shelter for battered women opened its doors in Chiswick, London, in 1971. It was founded by the feminist activist and author Erin Pizzey, whose book Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear (1974) became an important inspiration for feminist activists internationally (see also Kristina Schulz’s opening chapter in this volume). By the time Pizzey’s book was published, the number of women’s shelters in the United Kingdom had already grown to 20, and feminist activists had set up similar projects in the United States, the Netherlands, Australia, and Scotland (Lenz 2010: 291). Zsófia Lóránd’s chapter shows how feminists in Yugoslavia connected with these developments as they set up women’s shelters, phone helplines, and consultation centres, and developed new research areas such as feminist victimology. In the context of a growing recognition of women’s structural oppression and of the everyday reality of domestic abuse, some feminists began to view counterviolence as something necessary and legitimate. The militant feminist group Red Zora, as Katharina Karcher (2017, 2019) has
Introduction 9 demonstrated, developed an explicitly feminist notion of counterviolence that sought to challenge the leftist tendency to romanticise armed struggles. Clare Bielby’s discussion, in the chapter that concludes this section, of the murder trial against Marion Ihns and Judy Andersen, shows how radical groups within the women’s movement framed the killing of an abusive husband as an act of lesbian feminist counterviolence. In the course of the 1960s, the term counterviolence had come to stand alongside (without ever fully replacing) the notion of resistance; both terms signal that the violence described is justified or legitimate, even where it is illegal. Counterviolence particularly describes responses to slow or structural violence. In 1961, Frantz Fanon’s influential account of French colonialism in Algeria, The Wretched of the Earth (Les Damnés de la Terre; the English translation appeared in 1965), was published with an equally influential preface written by Jean-Paul Sartre. One of Fanon’s observations, which is powerfully supported in Sartre’s preface, is that extreme violence emancipates those trying to escape structural oppression: ‘in the first days of the revolt’, Sartre summarises, ‘you must kill: to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time: there remain a dead man, and a free man’ (Fanon 1965: 19). This is (though it is not yet called) counterviolence: violence that meets and seeks emancipation from extreme structural violence, or the murderous violence of the system (Colvin 2009: 38). Like Fanon and Sartre, the German-American political philosopher Herbert Marcuse considered violent resistance to colonial exploitation, racist oppression, and other forms of structural violence justified if the actors involved had no other means of challenging the status quo. In his influential essay ‘Repressive Tolerance’ of 1965, Marcuse raised the problem that nonviolence was expected from the weak, while the ruling elites reserved their right to use violence (for example in the form of police violence, institutionalised racism, or prisons). Marcuse’s students in the US included the ‘Youth International Party’ (Yippie) co-founder Abbie Hoffman and the civil rights activist Angela Davis, who in 1969 ‘became the third woman to be placed on the F.B.I.’s list of the 10 most-wanted fugitives’ (Charlton 1970). Marcuse was in close contact with Rudi Dutschke and other members of the New Left in Germany. After an unarmed student, Benno Ohnesorg, had been shot dead by a police officer at a demonstration in Berlin on 2 June 1967, a growing number of student activists argued in the late 1960s that counterviolence in the form of symbolic attacks against property was a legitimate response to state repression and violence. Simultaneously the student movements in the US and Europe distinguished emphatically between violence against property and violence against other human beings, where the latter was not deemed acceptable. Violence against other human beings takes on a particularly problematic dimension when the violent agent is a woman. The final chapters assess women as violent actors in the light of the cultural complexities, religious worldviews, ideological frameworks, and (gender) political factors that contributed to their radicalisation and reception.
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Women as violent actors In Western political thought, agency has been conceptualised as the capacity of individuals to have an impact on the world around them. In this context, the notion of agency ‘overlaps with a cluster of adjacent concepts – autonomy, free will, intentionality, choice, reflexivity’ (McNay 2016: 3). For feminist IR, Laura Shepherd has proposed a contrasting framework within which agency is not a quality that individuals possess. Rather, it is a complex effect of interactions in specific contexts. Drawing on poststructuralist theory, Shepherd foregrounds ‘the practises of power through which agency materialises in the sociopolitical world’ (Shepherd 2012: 7). Such practices include ‘resistance to technologies of the body, performances of gender that transgress the boundaries of intelligibility determined by the specific sociopolitical context, and the compliance with (or rejection of) mechanisms of governance, such as education or medical intervention’ (2012: 7). Although there are different feminist approaches to agency, ‘feminists are in broad agreement that agency needs to be rethought as a situated, embodied and relational phenomenon’ (McNay 2016: 4), not least, this final section of the volume explores, when agency takes the form of participation in armed movements. A conventional perpetrator/victim dichotomy posits men as perpetrators and women as victims of violence. Female violence – whether it is politically or otherwise motivated – confounds that discursive norm. Of course, there have always been violent women, and there is a growing body of literature showing that they, too, ‘are capturing hostages, engaging in suicide bombings, hijacking aeroplanes, and abusing prisoners’ (Sjoberg and Gentry 2007: 1). There is also a significant body of literature that explores how violent women are culturally perceived. By expressing agency through violent practises, women constitute a double threat: they not only harm the victims of their attacks but challenge gender norms. They are, to borrow, Ann Lloyd’s phrase, ‘doubly deviant, doubly damned’ (Lloyd 1995). Drawing on the work of Jean-Luc Nancy, Patricia Melzer describes the harm caused as their ‘true violence’, and the challenge to discursive norms as their ‘violent truth’, which ‘assaults the gender regime, the system of meaning that explains and organises gender norms. This truth-regime (in the sense of Foucault) is attacked by their gender transgression, affecting a violence that obliterates any existing naturalised truths about femininity and masculinity’ (Melzer 2019: 49). In the 1970s journalists, state authorities, and scholars responded to this double threat by portraying female violence as ‘the flipside or excess of women’s liberation’, as Dominique Grisard argues in the opening chapter of this last section. Drawing on examples from Russia, Switzerland, and Germany, Grisard shows that the terrorism discourse of the 1970s presents the woman terrorist as ‘new, exceptional and foreign/alien’, and as the ‘polar opposite of the docile wife and mother’ (see also Grisard 2010). Thus all women who broke with existing gender norms and/or carried out violent acts might be suspected of terrorism. Against this background, it is hardly surprising that many feminists were adamant in distancing themselves from terrorist violence and strove for nonviolent modes of resistance and forms of political subjectivity. While it is now widely acknowledged
Introduction 11 that the violent acts of the suffragettes in early twentieth-century Britain were part of the feminist struggle for female suffrage, it is still a matter of controversial debate as to what extent female political violence in the 1970s can and should be understood as feminist (see Karcher 2019; Melzer 2019). Women take up arms in different national, political, and religious contexts, and for a range of reasons which might best be understood in the light of the recent scholarship on intersectionality, with attention to the ‘intersecting constellation[s] of power relationships that produce unequal material realities and distinctive social experiences for individuals and groups positioned within them’ (Hill, Collins, and Chepp 2013: 3). Religion, for example, affects women’s activism differently in different geopolitical contexts. Although the percentage of women was highest in the secular militias of the far left, there were also female fighters in militias influenced by religious thinking. Jennifer Eggert’s chapter on women fighters in the Lebanese Civil War elucidates that the women who joined armed militias had not only different class backgrounds and different political aims, but – importantly – different religious views. Claudia Derichs previously shows how, in Indonesia, the ‘wild women’ of the secular, communist-friendly women’s movement Gerwani suffered gendered stigmatisation very similar to that suffered by violent leftist women activists in Japan and Western Europe; but they also suffered fearsomely brutal physical attacks, which arose in a particular religious political environment. In the concluding chapter, Daniela Pisoiu shows that female involvement in radical and violent political movements is not necessarily linked to a desire for emancipation qua gender equality. Online accounts by women supporters of the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ (commonly referred to as ISIS or IS) from Western Europe suggest that thousands of women and girls are rejecting the values and rights of the liberal Western democracies in which they live, including those that have been fought for by the movements associated with 1968. And still, like the growing female involvement in far-right politics in Western Europe (see e.g. Köttig, Bitzan, and Petö 2017), female support for radical Islamist groups can be interpreted as a form of radical violent agency. Rather than portraying the decades since 1968 as a global history of progress towards gender equality, the essays collected here consciously draw a complex, dynamic, and, at least in part, contradictory picture of women’s involvement in transnational protest movements. The picture is not, of course, complete. We hope that it will be complemented and challenged by future research.
Note 1 The reference is to Kurlansky (2004).
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Introduction 13 Hajek, A. (2019) ‘Despite, or in Debt to 1968? Second-Wave Feminism and the Gendered History of Italy’s 1968’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Women, Global Protest Movements, and Political Agency: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 33–49. Heberle, R. (2016) ‘The Personal Is Political’, in L. Disch and M. Hawkesworth (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Online. Available at: www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199328581.001.0001/ oxfordhb-9780199328581-e-31 (accessed 29 January 2018). Hill Collins, P. and Chepp, V. (2013) ‘Intersectionality’, in G. Waylen, K. Celis, J. Kantola, and S.L. Weldon (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Online. Available at: www.oxfordhandbooks.com.bris.idm. oclc.org/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199751457.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199751457e-2?print=pdf (accessed 14 February 2018). Hirsch, M. and Smith, V. (2002) ‘Feminism and Cultural Memory: An Introduction’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(1): 1–19. hooks, b. (2000) Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, Cambridge, MA: South End Press. Horn, G. (2007) The Spirit of ‘68: Rebellion in Western Europe and North America, 1956– 1976, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jones, A. (2019) ‘Anti, Anti, Anti! Counterviolence and Anti-Sexism in Hamburg’s Autonomous Rote Flora’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 142–57. Karcher, K. (2017) Sisters in Arms: Militant Feminisms in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1968, New York and Oxford: Berghahn. Karcher, K. (2019) ‘“Deeds Not Words!” A Comparative Analysis of Feminist Militancy in Pre- and Post-1968 Europe’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 30–45. Klimke, M. (2011) The Other Alliance: Student Protest in West Germany and the United States in the Global Sixties, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Köttig, M., Bitzan, R., and Petö, A. (2017) Gender and far Right Politics in Europe, Aldershot: Palgrave MacMillan. Kurlansky, M. (2004) 1968: The Year That Rocked the World, London: Jonathan Cape. Laville, H. (2013) ‘Gender and Women’s Rights in the Cold War’, in R. Immerman and P. Goedde (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 523–36. Lenz, I. (2010) Die Neue Frauenbewegung in Deutschland: Abschied vom kleinen Unterschied: Eine Quellensammlung, 2nd rev. edn, Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Lloyd, A. (1995) Doubly Deviant, Doubly Damned: Society’s Treatment of Violent Women, London: Penguin. Maraniss, D. (2003) They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967, New York: Simon & Schuster. Marotti, W. (2009) ‘Japan 1968: The Performance of Violence and the Theater of Protest’, The American Historical Review, 114(1): 97–135. McNay, L. (2016) ‘Agency’, in L. Disch and M. Hawkesworth (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Online. Available at: www. oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199328581.001.0001/oxfordhb9780199328581-e-2 (accessed 10 January 2018). Melzer, P. (2015) Death in the Shape of a Young Girl: Women’s Political Violence in the Red Army Faction, New York: New York University Press. Melzer, P. (2019) ‘Affective Solidarity and the “Violent Truth” of the Female Militant: Political Violence as Feminist Practice’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender,
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Emancipation and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 46–60. Mohanty, C.T. (2003) Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press. Monaville, P.A.G. (2013) ‘Decolonizing the University: Postal Politics, the Student Movement, and Global 1968 in the Congo’, PhD, University of Michigan. Available at: https:// deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/102373 (accessed 11 May 2018). Morgan, R. (1985) Sisterhood Is Global: The International Women’s Movement, Harmondsworth: Penguin. Neidhardt, F. and Rucht, D. (1991) ‘The Analysis of Social Movements: The State of the Art and Some Perspectives for Further Research’, in D. Rucht (ed.), Research on Social Movements: The State of the Art, Frankfurt am Main and Boulder: Campus and Westview Press, 421–64. Pierce, S. (2009) ‘Africa and 1968: Derepression, Libidinal Politics and the Problem of Global Interpretation’, in L.J. Frazier and D. Cohen (eds.), Gender and Sexuality in 1968: Transformative Politics in the Cultural Imagination, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 131–45. Pizzey, E. (1974) Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear, London: Pelican. Reynolds, C. (2011) Memories of May ‘68: France’s Convenient Consensus, Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Reynolds, C. (2014) Sous les pavés . . . the Troubles: France, Northern Ireland and the European Collective Memory of 1968, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Ruck, N. et al. (2015) ‘Liberating Minds’, History of Psychology, 18(3): 297–311. Rupprecht, T. (2015) Soviet Internationalism after Stalin: Interaction and Exchange between the USSR and Latin America during the Cold War, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Scheper-Hughes, N. and Bourgois, P. (2005) Violence in War and Peace, Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell. Schulz, K. (ed.) (2017) The Women’s Liberation Movement: Impacts and Outcomes, Oxford: Berghahn. Schulz, K. (2019) ‘Remembering 1968: Feminist Perspectives’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Women, Global Protest Movements, and Political Agency: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 19–32. Scribner, C. (2019) ‘The Militancy of Nina Simone’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 63–75. Shepherd, L.J. (2012) ‘Introduction: Rethinking Gender, Agency and Political Violence’, in L. Åhäll and L.J. Shepherd (eds.), Gender, Agency and Political, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 1–15. Sjoberg, L. and Gentry, C.E. (2007) Mothers, Monsters, Whores: Women’s Violence in Global Politics, London and New York: Zed Books. Slobodian, Q. (2012) Foreign Front: Third World Politics in Sixties West Germany, Durham and London: Duke University Press. Smith, C. (2019) ‘Aesthetic Motions of Resistance in Feminist Creative Work’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 95–110. Taylor, V. and Van Dyke, N. (2004) ‘ “Get Up Stand Up”: Tactical Repertoires of Social Movements’, in D.A. Snow, S. Soule, and H. Kriesi (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, Oxford: Blackwell, 262–93.
Introduction 15 Trnka, J. (2003) ‘The West German Red Army Faction and Its Appropriation of Latin American Urban Guerilla Struggles’, in S. Giles and M. Oergel (eds.), Counter-Cultures in Germany and Central Europe: From Sturm und Drang to Baader-Meinhof, Oxford: Peter Lang, 315–32. Tyrrell, I. (2009) ‘Reflections on the Transnational Turn in United States History: Theory and Practice’, Journal of Global History, 4(3): 453–74. Usha, K.B. (2005) ‘Political Empowerment of Women in Soviet Union and Russia’, International Studies, 42(2): 141–65. Varon, J. (2004) Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies, Berkeley: University of California Press. Waters, S. (2010) ‘Introduction: 1968 in Memory and Place’, in I. Cornils and S. Waters (eds.), Memories of 1968: International Perspectives, Bern: Peter Lang, 1–22. Žižek, S. (2009) Violence, London: Profile Books.
Gender and cultural memory
Remembering 1968 Feminist perspectives Kristina Schulz
It is difficult to determine the exact moment when a social movement comes into being. The process of formation is open, not linear, and its structures not yet contoured. Once a social movement has come into existence, however, the question of the ‘birth’ of that movement concerns, even perhaps – haunts – its activists. They strive to establish a consensual and valid version of the movement’s past in order to design its future, to legitimate its mobilisation strategy and its decisionmaking structures. Who can legitimately speak for, of, the movement is a crucial question, closely linked to the problem of its origins. All that holds true for the women’s liberation movements in Western Europe and the US, whose relationship to the 1968 protest movement was fiercely contested – from the inside as much as from without. The internal ‘memory contest’ (Fuchs and Cosgrove 2006: 164; see also Fuchs, Cosgrove, and Grote 2006) was a conscious one.1 Those who intervened referred to very concrete persons, texts, and groups, which they celebrated as the ‘founders’ of the movement. As for the two cases discussed in this paper: France and West Germany, the conflict about the movement’s origin divided the women’s liberation movement itself in a fundamental way. The controversies were expressions of diverging, concurrent attempts to challenge dominant schemes of perception about the ‘gender order’, that is, the ways in which societies shape notions of masculinity and femininity through power relations, as Connell (1995) would later theorise it. This chapter explores the struggles over the symbolic significance of ‘1968’2 that have simultaneously, I shall argue, been struggles around the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of feminist activism. Earlier accounts of the formation period of the women’s liberation movement, my own included (Schulz 2002, 2014), have focused on the continuities between the student movement and the women’s movement in terms of individual participation, groups, practices, and ideas. In fact, in Western societies, most of the leaders of second-wave feminism took part in the upheavals and youth cultures around 1968, and many of its supporters recall having been politicised by the events. Also, some important groups and networks that constituted the women’s liberation movement in the early 1970s arose in the context of the extraordinary dynamic triggered by the protest movements of the late 1960s. Their action repertoire, including provocative forms, spontaneous gatherings, and scepticism of traditional forms of organisation and institutionalisation, was built
upon the experiences of the student movement. Finally, key concepts of the 1968 protest movements, such as ‘participatory democracy’ or ‘sexual liberation’ provided a critical impetus to rethink women’s place in society and in the New Left. This chapter will foreground the function of ‘1968’ as a symbol and point of reference for feminist activists. Focusing on the sources that underpinned the women’s liberation movement (statements made by its well-known representatives, the feminist press of the 1970s, as well as pamphlets, almanacks, yearbooks, etc.), I shall explore how judgements on and memories of 1968 structured feminist debates and feminist politics in France and West Germany, including the discussion of violence against women. The theoretical framework that I develop in this essay is based on my earlier work on the French and the West German cases (Schulz 2002), and can offer critical insights into debates, developments, and controversies in feminist movements beyond this geopolitical context. Usually feminist movements are divided into different periods (‘waves’) and ideological strands (e.g. radical, socialist, and liberal feminism). Rather than prioritising ideological differences, this chapter explores two competing feminist transformation strategies in feminist movements since the 1960s. Groups and individuals associated with the ‘cultural’ approach to the transformation of society have tried to challenge patriarchal structures in the cultural domain by giving femininity and women’s creative potential a voice. The ‘social’ approach, by contrast, sought to challenge patriarchal structures by enforcing social and legal equality. As the comparative analysis of feminist movements in France and Germany in this chapter illustrates, the two approaches did not only imply different strategies for working towards a feminist future but also different narratives on the feminist past and the relevance of 1968 to feminist activism.
Debating the ‘origins’ of the French women’s liberation movement In France, the women’s liberation movement grew into an important social movement during the early 1970s (Touraine 1982). It was initially linked to the struggle over reproductive rights and to the decriminalisation of abortion specifically. The French women’s liberation movement intervened in a public discourse on reproduction that had emerged during the second half of the 1950s around the issue of contraception. By 1969, when a new law on contraception came into force (called the Loi Neuwirth), abortion was mainly considered a medical and ethical problem. The women’s liberation movement altered the public debate by framing abortion in the context of female emancipation and self-determination (Pavard 2012: 135). Feminist activists published a manifesto in the Nouvel Observateur in April 1971, signed by 343 women who declared they had had an abortion (Nouvel Observateur 1971). Some of the signatories were famous personalities in the film business or intellectuals such as Catherine Deneuve, Monique Wittig, and Simone de Beauvoir. By signing the manifesto, they showed solidarity with the many ‘nameless’ women who suffered criminalisation, disdain, and/or medical
problems because they had secret abortions in unhygienic conditions. The manifesto, ridiculed as the ‘manifesto of the 343 sluts’ (‘manifest des 343 saloppes’), launched an extraordinary mobilisation dynamic, in Paris as well as in the French provinces. After the adoption of a liberalised abortion law in 1974 (called the Loi Veil), differences within the movement became more visible, as the search for a new orientation went on. The controversy about the place of 1968 in feminism’s past and present was part of arousing conflicts between different wings of the movement. It can be studied in a paradigmatic way through the interventions of two leading figures who could both, through their early engagements with feminist ideas and circles, legitimately claim to give competent answers: Antoinette Fouque and Christine Delphy. Their differences were not about finding out whose memory was closer to the historical ‘truth’. As students of social sciences and humanities, bathing in the intellectual discourse of their time, the reception of Maurice Halbwachs’ works on ‘collective memory’ (Halbwachs 1992 ) and, in the early 1980s, of Eric Hobsbawm’s and Terence Ranger’s Invention of Tradition (Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983) included, both women were aware of the social constructedness of memory and identity. Thus, the controversy about the history of feminism was not primarily about historical facts, but about their weighting. As a consequence, from the end of the 1970s, two narratives about the origins of the French women’s liberation movement competed within the movement: one narrative that assigned great importance to the social upheavals of the ‘French May’ and another that was reluctant to acknowledge their significance. Antoinette Fouque (1936–2014) represented the first position. Born in Marseille as the daughter of a Corsican syndicalist and an immigrant worker from Italy, Fouque (born Gugnardi) worked as a journalist and a lecturer in Paris. She had started university in the late 1960s. Fouque was inspired by the post-war debates about female sexuality that were taking place in the psychoanalytical community at that time (Chasseguet-Smirgel 1964). Soon she discovered the work of Jacques Lacan, and in 1969 attended Lacan’s lectures at the University of Vincennes (Paris VIII) where she eventually began to study psychoanalysis with him (Roudinesco 1986). In 1972 she founded the first women’s bookshop in France, the ‘librarie des femmes’, alongside what would become an equally distinguished publishing house, also called ‘Des femmes’. Later in the 1970s, Fouque registered the name MLF (an acronym for Mouvement de libération des femmes) as the property of her group. This act of appropriation was widely contested within feminist circles (Association du mouvement pour les luttes féministes 1981). Fouque’s version of the founding story of the French women’s liberation movement started in 1968. In a talk she gave at a conference on social movements in Cerisy-la-Salle in 1979 she recalled: ‘In the beginnings, in October 1968, we were three; [. . .] three women, daughters of the antiauthoritarian revolt of May 68, each impatient to bring more women together’ (Fouque 1982: 226).3 The circle she referred to soon became the group psychanalyse et politique (psychoanalysis and politics, psy & po). The University of Vincennes was the sphere of action of Michel Foucault, Hélène Cixous, Jacques Derrida, and Jaques Lacan’s students.
Affected by that intellectual and political climate, psy & po initiated an ongoing debate about the political implications of psychoanalysis and the transformation of the symbolic order. Defending the idea that ‘1968’ brought the women’s liberation movement into life, Fouque describes the protests as the beginning of a ‘new era’. For her, the two years between 1968 and 1970 had been a period of fruitful reflection after the ‘awakening’, the ‘explosion’, the ‘cry’, and the ‘rebirth’ that ‘1968’ represented. Fouque emphasises the meaning of ‘1968’ as a ‘symbolic revolution’ (Fouque 1995: 15). According to her, this symbolic revolution made it possible to overcome the dominant phallocentric paradigm, replacing it with new ideas about femininity and female sexuality. The opposite position was held by Christine Delphy. Born in Paris in 1941, Delphy studied social sciences at the Sorbonne and the Ecole Normale Supérieur (Jackson 1996). She spent time in the United States at the end of the 1960s and was involved in the civil rights movement, as part of an organisation called the Washington Urban League. After her return to France she assisted in the protest movement of May 68 and joined the group Feminin Masculin Avenir (FMA, which later became Feminisme Marxisme Action). FMA had been founded in 1967 as a discussion group within the socialist Women’s Democratic Movement (Mouvement démocratique féminin). It benefited from the move of the socialist party’s attention towards women during François Mitterrand’s presidential campaign in 1965 (which he lost to Charles de Gaulle; Mitterrand would only become president in 1981).4 The women (and few men) associated with FMA were interested in reading and debating recently published studies about the situation of women in society, such as Andrée Michel’s and Geneviève Texier’s La condition de la Française d’aujourd’hui (Michel and Texier 1964). They also reconsidered Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949), a hugely influential book for feminists at that time (Chaperon 2017). The members of FMA were overwhelmed by the events of what became to be known as the ‘French May’: the mobilisation of a social movement that united students and workers and led to a general strike that paralysed the whole country for over a fortnight. During those events, the members of FMA organised a public meeting in the Sorbonne at short notice in early June 1968, after which the group grew rapidly. But, as for so many other committees and initiatives, the dynamic of mobilisation was disturbed by violent confrontations between the protest movement and police forces, who wanted to end the occupation of public institutions and places and to put an end to strikes, and the August summer break followed, when Parisians and students traditionally leave Paris. In autumn, only a couple of activists returned to join FMA. Christine Delphy was one of them. In 1970, she published her essay ‘The main enemy’ (‘L’ennemie principal’; Delphy 1980b). Delphy is recognised nowadays as a leading figure in French feminist theory, identified with a materialist approach. Her interpretation of the significance of 1968 for the women’s movement differed strongly from Fouque’s. In an article published in the feminist review Questions féministes in 1980, Delphy announced: ‘Women’s liberation: the tenth year’ (Delphy 1980a: 3).5 By this she referred to
1970 as the founding year of the MLF, as well as to its first collective work: a special issue of the New Left review, Partisans, called ‘Women’s Liberation: Year Zero’,6 published in the autumn of 1970 (Partisans 1970). From Delphy’s point of view, the French women’s liberation movement had been the product of a fusion between different groups and individuals since the spring of 1970. Here and in her essay ‘The origins of the women’s liberation movement in France’ (Delphy 1991) she defended the idea that the movement developed against the ‘spirit of 68’. In particular, she contends that the project of the so-called ‘sexual revolution’ was a ‘trap for women’ (‘une piège pour les femmes’). The sexual revolution proclaimed in 1968, she argued in Libération, was nothing more than a ‘hygienist, simplistic, masculine conception’, in which women served as the ‘receptacle’ (Delphy 1998). Feminists in other countries expressed similar views: Andrea Hajek and Chris Reynolds argue in the chapters that follow that second-wave feminism in Italy and Northern Ireland developed despite and not thanks to 1968; and in the feminist movement in the Federal Republic of Germany, the question of the relationship to the 1968 movement was as controversial and divisive as in France.
1968, abortion, and the women’s liberation movement in the Federal Republic In West Germany as well as in France and other Western societies, the women’s liberation movement gained growing public visibility in the first half of the 1970s. ‘Autonomous’ women’s groups (that is, groups that were independent from traditional women’s organisations and government-supported initiatives such as the United Nations’ ‘International Women’s Year’, as well as from traditional socialist organisations) emerged in West Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Bremen, Munich, Freiburg, and many other university cities, and in a number of smaller towns (see e.g. Schäfer and Wilke 2000; Zellmer 2011; Poppenhusen 1993; Schmitter 1998; Ferree 2012). They grew out of very different local settings and focused on issues specific to their local configurations. Yet most of them were linked by the struggle to achieve a reform of abortion legislation. Like in France, it was through the issue of abortion that many women ‘began to recognise their individually experienced inequality as part of a broader social problem’ (Anton, Mitobe, and Schulz 2012:105). The abortion campaign was the stimulus for a lot of women to participate in local women’s groups, help collect signatures, demonstrate in the streets, and develop strategies for mobilisation. In terms of legislative change in West Germany, however, the abortion campaign was only partly successful. The Federal Constitutional Court prevented a liberalisation of paragraph 218 of the criminal law that had been adopted by the federal parliament in 1974. In 1977, a new draft was ratified, permitting abortion only under specific conditions. The women’s movement followed the ups and downs of the liberalisation of abortion very closely, and when the new law became effective, frustration prevailed. The national coordination of the abortion campaign disintegrated. At the same time, new structures appeared on a local level, such as the women’s centres, women’s shelters, women’s self-help and health centres, women’s libraries, women’s
bookshops, and so on. The second half of the 1970s and the early 1980s saw a reorganisation and reorientation of the West German women’s liberation movement. Conflict and controversy were side effects of that transformation and had an impact on the narratives about the movement’s origins, which were, as a closer look reveals, structured similarly to those in France. As in France, two positions competed: on the one hand, activists supported the idea that the women’s movement had emerged out of the battle for reproductive rights and the liberalisation of abortion in West Germany in 1971; but others saw ‘1968’ as the birth of the movement. The theatre director and filmmaker Helke Sander belonged to the latter; feminist aspects of her film work are discussed by Mererid Puw Davies in the companion volume in this series7 (see also Gerhardt 2019; Smith 2019). Sander was born in Berlin in 1939. She studied at the Academy of Film and Television in Berlin and later worked as a film director and professor of film studies. As a student in Berlin in 1968, Sander became well known in the antiauthoritarian student movement for her open criticism of the behaviour of male comrades in the socialist student federation, the SDS (Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund, whose acronym overlapped neatly with the USA’s Students for a Democratic Society). Sander co-founded a women’s group in Berlin in January 1968: The Action Council for the Liberation of Women (Aktionsrat zur Befreiung der Frauen). In September 1968, she gave a speech at the SDS national delegate conference in Frankfurt, criticising the ignorant attitude towards women’s emancipation displayed by male comrades (Sander 1988). The conference session ended in turmoil, not least because the pregnant SDS activist Sigrid Rüger threw tomatoes at the students’ association’s presiding committee, all of them men, when they wanted to move on to other issues without discussing Sander’s statement (see Karcher 2017: 21–5). The events were widely reported in the press. The Action Council for the Liberation of Women became a model for women in other cities in West Germany. They started to rebel against their male colleagues, asking them to take into account the inequalities between men and women and to support women in their struggle for liberation and equality between the sexes. When Sander later talked about the women’s movement, she tied those events of early 1968 to the beginnings of a German women’s liberation movement. ‘It’s not true that the German women’s movement emerged only with Alice Schwarzer and the story of abortion in 1970 (sic)’,8 she emphasised in a conversation with Renate Fischetti (Fischetti 1992: 47). But Sander did not only develop her narrative of the movement’s beginning in interviews; she also made use of the instrument of expression she was most familiar with: film. In 1980, she directed the movie The Subjective Factor (Der subjektive Faktor),9 which looked back on the activities of the Action Council for the Liberation of Women. The Subjective Factor was not a historical reconstruction of the events but was rather meant as a ‘specific representation of those events’ (Smelik 1998: 39) which did not claim to be objectively right. It did, however, represent Sander’s subjective truth: the truth as she remembered it from her personal point of view. In this way, Sander accentuated the problematic nature of any ‘official’ historiography of the
women’s liberation movement, and indeed – in the same year as Hayden White was publishing his game-changing essay on historical storytelling (White 1980) – of historiography in general. Implicitly and explicitly, Sander was targeting West Germany’s ‘star’ feminist Alice Schwarzer and her politics of memory. Schwarzer was born in Wuppertal in 1942. In the 1960s she worked as a journalist across Germany and in Paris. It was in Paris that she first engaged with feminist activity, assisting in the preparation of the French feminists’ abortion manifesto of April 1971, discussed above. During the spring of that year, in the context of legal and social debate around abortion and women’s rights in the Federal Republic, Schwarzer mobilised a similar campaign in West Germany, and on 6 June 1971 a manifesto titled ‘We had an abortion’, signed by 374 German women, appeared in the news magazine Stern. At a stroke, Schwarzer became one of the most famous feminists in West Germany, and her reputation was consolidated soon after, when she authored a bestselling study of sex-based inequality called The Little Difference and its Big Consequences (Der kleine Unterschied und seine großen Folgen; Schwarzer 1975). The main thesis of the book – that masculinity and femininity are grounded not in nature but in culture – was drawn from Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, and builds on her groundbreaking finding that ‘one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’ (Beauvoir 1973: 301). Schwarzer thus linked her own theoretical and practical feminist activities to the ideas of one of the most famous women intellectuals of her time, someone who was, by her age as much as by her generational experience, not a ‘sixty-eighter’. From Schwarzer’s point of view, the events of 1968 and the emergence of some of the early women’s groups were deceptive, and gave the appearance of something that was not yet reality (Schwarzer 1971: 153). To her, the revolt of the women in the SDS, in which Sander had been centrally involved, had been nothing more than a short, furious flare-up. It was in no way the first step towards a revolutionary women’s movement (ibid.). Women’s oppression, insisted Schwarzer, only became a dominant public theme in 1971, after her own publication of the German abortion manifesto. Her autobiographical texts and authorised biographies (Schwarzer 1982; Dünnebier and Paczensky 1998) reflect her point of view, as do the collections of one the most important German feminist archives, the FrauenMediaTurm in Cologne. Schwarzer’s narrative of the feminist movement’s history has been brought to a broader public by the German feminist periodical Emma, which Schwarzer founded in 1977.
Cultural versus social feminism What does this parallel reading of feminist perspectives on 1968 reveal? The comparative perspective taken in this paper provides the opportunity to rethink current but rarely differentiated categorisations of diverse strands of feminism, such as ‘essentialist’, ‘radical’, ‘materialist’, and ‘revolutionary’; categories that are built on the self-descriptions and distinctions of former activists. Exploring feminist perceptions of 1968 in West Germany’s and France’s 1970s suggests a more fundamental division of opinions than a case study of one national context could reveal.
At that time, the controversies about the origin of the movements were divisive. Today they are informative, because the structure of the controversies offers an insight into the basic divisions between what I would call a ‘cultural’ and a ‘social’ approach to the transformation of society. ‘Cultural’ and ‘social’ refer to divergent feminist transformation strategies aiming to achieve change in the gender order. The different theoretical foundations had a practical significance as to the way protest was articulated, to whom, and for what purpose. For cultural feminism, as represented by psy & po and Antoinette Fouque as well as by Helke Sander, the transformation of the patriarchal structure had to start in people’s minds. Their point of departure was on the level of the symbolic: to subvert what they termed the ‘phallocentric’ order by revealing the hidden processes of devaluation of femininity, and by giving femininity and women’s creative potential a voice. In this line of argument psychoanalysis was seen as a means of transformation. ‘Therapy is transformation – not adaptation’ (Courage 1978: 47) was the plea of the German feminist review Courage which, from 1977 on, represented a viewpoint that can be identified with a cultural feminist position. Motherhood and women’s specific role as caregivers and educators played an important role in this reasoning, as they provided women with very specific knowledge and enabled them to answer political questions on the basis of subjective experiences and needs. The Action Council for the Liberation of Women, for instance, initiated one of the first antiauthoritarian kindergartens in West Berlin, before the idea was reproduced and – in some instances – usurped by non-feminist groups and organisations. Against this backdrop, ‘women-only’ collective practices such as consciousness-raising had a very concrete political meaning in the context of the women’s liberation movement. Publication activities that gave women a voice (bookshops, publishing houses, periodicals, film) went in the same direction. Antoinette Fouque’s collection of essays appeared under the title There Are Two Sexes (Il y a 2 sexes) in 1995, putting the emphasis on the specificities of female experience, especially in the context of motherhood. The debate about political parity that took place in France in the 1990s was strongly influenced by arguments of cultural feminism. If female identity was fundamentally different from male identity, then the magic word was mixité (which might translate as ‘diversity’ or ‘mixing’). Men and women, the argument ran, were to be included in political decision-making processes. Philosopher Sylviane Agacinski, wife of Lionel Jospin, Prime Minister of France from 1997 to 2002, wrote a book in 1998 called Parity of the Sexes (Politique des sexes, Agacinski 1998; English translation 2001). It gave the idea of political parity a theoretical foundation. The principle of parity was introduced in the French constitution in 1999, based on an enlarged understanding of parity as to professional, social, and political functions and responsibilities.10 The visibility and promotion of women in parliament and public functions were also important for social feminism. But its line of argumentation was completely different.11 Social feminists like Christine Delphy and Alice Schwarzer sought to change the structures of masculine domination by enforcing social and legal equality. Instead of analysing the psychological and symbolical conditions for
women’s oppression, they were more interested in revealing and changing the historical and material conditions of women’s discrimination. Questions féministes, a theoretical radical feminist review in which Delphy played an important role, appeared in Paris from 1977 on. If, as was stated in the first issue, the social existence of women and men was ‘not related to their nature as female and male, to their anatomic sex’ (Delphy et al. 1977: 5),12 but resulted from social conditions, then change had to occur on the level of social and political organisation. Social feminism sought to fight against women’s discrimination by claiming legal equality; but also by pointing out the discrepancies between chartered rights and the de facto, ongoing oppression of women that went hand-in-hand with male privilege. The League for Women’s Rights (Ligue du droit des femmes), founded in Paris in 1974 by activists and women lawyers and supported by Simone de Beauvoir, demanded a status for women that should be ‘strictly equivalent to that of men’ (‘un statut rigoreusement équivalent à celui d’hommes’; Ligue du droit des femmes 1974: 1). In her programmatic opening of Questions féministes, Delphy suggested a feminist strategy that would ‘link sexist mentalities, institutions, and laws to the socio-economic structures that underpin them’ (ibid.: 7).13 Her analysis of sexual oppression did not in the first instance target a symbolic system but material structures. Even though socialist ideas shaped social feminism, its key word was not ‘capitalism’ but ‘patriarchy’ (rejecting the Marxist reading of women’s oppression as a secondary contradiction or Nebenwiderspruch beside the main structural contradiction or Hauptwiderspruch, namely oppression through class structures in a capitalist society). Alice Schwarzer pointed to a ‘thousand-year-old history of brainwashing’ (Schwarzer 1973: 185) through which the idea of women’s inferiority had been ‘implanted’.14 For her, motherhood was one of the strongest social institutions by which women were manacled (Schwarzer 1971: 218). In summary: during the 1970s, two strands of feminist activism and thinking competed within the women’s liberation movement in France and Germany. Their supporters promoted very different ideas of what women (and men) were, how women’s oppression had to be explained and defeated, and how society had to be transformed as a whole. The different viewpoints not only structured internal debates and position takings, but were also reflected in different approaches to the institutional realm. If a cultural feminist strategy tended to promote retreat and the exchange of personal experience in encounter groups, a social feminist strategy rather opted to encourage political campaigning and the willingness to march through the existing institutions.
In the face of sexual violence The examination of feminist attitudes towards 1968 enables a tracing of the deep tensions feminists had to face in the 1970s: the internal divisions and fundamental conflicts in the women’s liberation movements. These also shaped the movements’ engagement with the problem of sexual violence, a topic both strands dealt with.
The League of Women’s Rights, for example, initiated the first houses for battered women (maisons des femmes battues) in Paris in 1977, and later on in the French provinces. Following the example of the rape crisis centres in the AngloSaxon world, the first women’s centre in West Berlin, founded as early as 1973 (Lenz 2008; Perincioli 2015), hosted a women’s emergency hotline (Frauennotruf) from 1978 on, which, in turn, became a model for other autonomous women’s centres in the Federal Republic. From the early 1980s on, some of those projects received public support. Both in France and in the Federal Republic, the issue of violence against women began to enter the public arena in the 1970s. The people’s International Tribunal on Crimes against Women took place in Brussels in March 1976 (Russel and Van de Ven 1976; see also Clare Bielby in this volume). Attended by over 2,000 women, it was widely reported in the international press (Schäfer 2001). A few months later, an action day against sexual violence took place in the location of La Mutualité in the heart of Paris. The situation of women, including their physical integrity, found a place on the agenda of the United Nations from the mid-1970s on. Those debates on the international level resulted in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 1993. 1999 was declared a ‘European Year of Action to Combat Violence against Women’ (Dackweiler and Schäfer 2002: 17). Feminist activism on violence against women was therefore framed by parallel debates in society, and shaped them at the same time. Feminist approaches to violence – rape as well as domestic violence – undermined the dominant idea that sexual violence was a private matter. ‘The personal is political’ took a very concrete meaning in the context of violence against women. Both strands of feminism I have identified in this chapter, the social and the cultural, emphasised women’s right to self-determination and physical integrity. However, where social feminists focused on women as victims of male violence and pleaded for the legal regulation of violence against women, such as domestic violence and rape, cultural feminists raised the issue of men’s privilege to define what violence was, and when it was punishable. They argued for a concept of violence built on the subjective perception of experienced violence, as Carol Hagemann-White put it in 1992: ‘The demarcation between violence and notviolence can only be defined from the point of view of the subject and in the context of his/her room for manoeuvre’ (Hagemann-White 1992: 24; compare Jones 2019). Accentuating the weight of the subjective experience, Hagemann-White argued in the line of cultural feminism, implicitly invoking what Helke Sander called ‘the subjective factor’. Simone de Beauvoir and the lawyer Gisèle Halimi, on the other hand, addressed sexual violence, rape in particular, as early as 1962. In a co-authored book about an Algerian woman raped by the French Army, Djarmila Boupacha, they defended the rights of the young woman as fundamental human rights to bodily integrity, and pointed to the intersection of different dimensions of power and powerlessness in the context of colonialism and male supremacy (Beauvoir and Halimi 1962). Social feminism in the 1970s remained, vis-à-vis sexual violence and rape, close to an argumentation that was based on universal rights, rather than on specific female experiences and needs.
Conclusion For feminists, remembering 1968 was not only a biographical matter. It was part of a symbolic struggle around the legitimation, aims, and means of a social movement, and thus about feminism itself. That explains the obsession with debating the origin of the women’s liberation movements. Investigating those symbolic struggles of the 1970s with reference to 1968 avoids, in accordance with recent scholarship on feminism, pinning feminism ‘to any transhistorical commitment to equality or difference’, and focuses instead on its ‘historically specific occurrence’ (Delap 2012). The debate constituted the women’s liberation movement after 1968 as a broad and many-sited phenomenon that was confronted on various levels with the question of violence against women. The answers were manifold, as were the underlying assumptions. A broad range of offers and approaches to victims of sexual violence were developed, such as the houses for battered women, feminist psychotherapy, parliamentary motions, self-help, and healthcare; and important books were published, such as the translation into French of Erin Pizzey’s Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear (Pizzey 1974) in 1976 by the publishing house Des femmes, and into German in the same year. To conclude, we can say that what, at the time, was perceived as a weakening division within the feminist movement in retrospect turned out to have contributed developing a broad range of measures and arguments against women’s oppression in general and sexual violence in particular. Taken together, the multiple voices of feminism had a huge impact on the way societies began to think about sexual violence and its victims.
Notes 1 Fuchs and Cosgrove define ‘memory contests’ provisionally as ‘retrospective imaginings that simultaneously articulate, question, and investigate the normative self-image of groups of people’ (2006: 164). Originally developed to analyse engagement with Germany’s past after reunification, the term may be helpful to grasp the moment of rivalry and the urge to ‘win’, that is to enforce a ‘true’ story, once and for all. 2 ‘1968’ may stand in the following to designate the social upheavals that struck Western societies in the second half of the 1960s. I am aware of the plurality of the movements active at that moment, and of different chronologies and timeframes in different countries and even regions. But in retrospect ‘1968’ serves as a code word and signifier that united or divided proponents and opponents of fundamental societal change. For the sake of readability and in a line with the usage of that time, I also apply the term ‘student movement’, despite the fact that by far not all activists of the late 1960s were students or claiming university reforms. 3 ‘Au début, en octobre 1968, nous étions trois; [. . .] trois femmes, filles de la révolte anti-autoritaire de mai, chacune impatiente d’en rassembler d’autres’. All translations from French and German in this chapter are by the author, unless otherwise stated. 4 The historical account of FMA follows the description of two founding members of FMA, Anne Zelensky and Annie Surgier (Tristan and Pisan 1977). The author names Anne Tristan and Annie Pisan are pseudonyms. In 1996 I interviewed a close friend of Anne Zelensky, Jacqueline Feldmann, who was also part of FMA and confirmed in large parts the version presented in the book. 5 ‘Libération des femmes an dix’. 6 ‘Libération des femmes: année zero’.
7 Mererid Puw Davies (2019) ‘Women, words, and images, 1968: textual/sexual politics in Helke Sander’s The Subjective Factor’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, pp. 76–94. 8 ‘Es stimmt nicht, dass die deutsche Frauenbewegung erst mit Alice Schwarzer entstanden ist, 1970 (sic) mit dieser Abtreibungsgeschichte’. 9 For a detailed discussion of this film, see Puw Davies (2019). 10 ‘La loi favorise l’égal accès des femmes et des hommes aux mandats électoraux et fonctions électives ainsi qu’aux responsabilités professionnelles et sociales’, ‘Article 1er de la constitution française’. Online. Available at: www.assemblee-nationale.fr/ connaissance /constitution.asp#titre_1 11 See the brilliant analyses of Joan Scott (Scott 2005). Scott shows how the parity movement made use of arguments that I would call cultural feminist, while writing women into the logic of French universalism. 12 ‘L’existence sociale des hommes et des femmes ne dépend nullement de leur nature de mâle et de femelle, de la forme de leur sexe anatomique’. 13 ‘Il faut relier les mentalities, les institutions, les lois sexistes aux structures socioéconomiques qui les soutiennent’. 14 ‘Es hat einer Gehirnwäsche von Jahrtausenden bedurft, um uns den Glauben an unsere eigene Minderwertigkeit [. . .] einzupflanzen’.
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Poppenhusen, M. (1993) Viel bewegt – nichts verrückt? 20 Jahre Frauenbewegung in Freiburg 1972–1992, Freiburg: Jos Fritz. Puw Davies, M. (2019) ‘Women, Words, and Images, 1968: Textual/Sexual Politics in Helke Sanders’ the Subjective Factor’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 76–94. Reynolds, C. (2019) ‘Transnational Memories and Gender: Northern Ireland’s 1968’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Women, Global Protest Movements, and Political Agency: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 50–66. Roudinesco, E. (1986) Histoire de la psychoanalyse en France, vol. 2 (1925–1985), Paris: Fayard. Russel, D. and Van de Ven, N. (1976) ‘Crimes against Women’, Proceedings of the International Tribunal, Milbrae: Les Femmes Publishing. Sander, H. (1988) ‘Das Private ist das Politische’, in H. Schlaeger (ed.), Mein Kopf gehört mir – 20 Jahre Frauenbewegung, Munich: Frauenoffensive, 23–36. Schäfer, R. (2001) Demokratisierung der Geschlechterverhältnisse. Die politischen Strategien der Neuen Frauenbewegung gegen Gewalt, Bielefeld: Kleine Verlag. Schäfer, C. and Wilke, C. (2000) Die neue Frauenbewegung in München 1968-1985. Dokumentation, Munich. Schulz, K. (2002) Der lange Atem der Provokation. Die Frauenbewegung in der Bundesrepublik und in Frankreich 1968-1976, Frankfurt am Main: Campus. Schulz, K. (2004) ‘Echoes of Provocation: 1968 and the Women’s Movements in France and Germany’, in G. Horn and K. Kenney (eds.), Transnational Moments of Change: Europe 1945, 1968, 1989, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 137–54. Schulz, K. (2014) ‘Feminist Echoes of 1968: Women’s Movements in Europe and the United States’, in I. Gilcher-Holtey (ed.), A Revolution of Perception? Consequences and Echoes of 1968, New York: Berghahn, 124–47. Schmitter, R. (1998) Zur neuen Frauenbewegung in Bremen, Bremen: Verein Bremer Frauenmuseum e.V. Schwarzer, A. (1971) Frauen gegen den § 218. 18 Protokolle, aufgezeichnet von Alice Schwarzer, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer. Schwarzer, A. (1973) Frauenarbeit-Frauenbefreiung, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Schwarzer, A. (1975) Der kleine Unterschied und seine großen Folgen, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer. Schwarzer, A. (1982) Mit Leidenschaft: Texte 1968–1982, Reinbek b. Hamburg: Rowohlt. Scott, J. (2005) Parité! Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Smelik, A. (1998) And the Mirror Cracked: A Study of Rhetoric in Feminist Cinema, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Smith, C. (2019) ‘Aesthetic Motions of Resistance in Feminist Creative Work’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 95–110. Touraine, A. et al. (1982), Recherche exploratoire sur le Mouvement des femmes, Paris: CADIS. Tristan, A. and de Pisan, A. (1977), Histoires du MLF, Paris: Calmann-Levy. White, H. (1980) ‘The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality’, Critical Inquiry: 1–27. Zellmer, E. (2011) Töchter der Revolte. Frauenbewegung und Feminismus der 1970er Jahre in München, Munich: Oldenbourg.
Despite or in debt to 1968? Second-wave feminism and the gendered history of Italy’s 1968 Andrea Hajek
During the 40th anniversary of 1968, one of Italy’s most prominent news magazines published a retrospective collection of articles published between 1965 and 1969, scattered over two richly illustrated volumes. The cover images of the two volumes reflect the two sides of 1968 that are frequently evoked in debates about its legacy in Europe: the cover of the first volume, a black-and-white photograph of a group of students at the Sorbonne, taken in May 1968, is an obvious reference to the importance of 1968 as a vehicle of political change and revolution; the colour photograph of a hippy festival in 1969, chosen for the cover of the second volume, recalls instead the changes in lifestyles and sexuality that occurred in those years. It is difficult to say whether ‘1968’ should be understood as an ideological or an existential event, as a political revolution or a moment of cultural transition and modernity, but what seems to be beyond discussion is the supposition that the women’s liberation movement grew out of 1968. In the words of the Italian feminist Anna Bravo (2008: 56), ‘according to a successful Vulgate feminism was born during and from ’68’.1 Indeed, traditional reconstructions of 1968 commonly consider second-wave feminism something that flowed out of the 1968 movement, rather than as a phenomenon in and of itself.2 The reasons for this misrepresentation are multiple. First, many stories about 1968 have been told in the words of former male leaders in the protests, or through the spectacular images that have circulated in the media, where the focus tends to be on political events and memorable incidents. Second, 1968 is often presented as a generational, modernising, and liberating event, ‘a foundational date for a greater liberalisation and democratisation of society and for the enlargement of individual freedoms’ (Klimke and Scharloth 2008: 7). This hegemonic narrative of 1968 diverts attention away from other themes such as class struggle and gender conflict, as well as from subjects who do not fit into the narrative of heroic masculinity and generational conflict, leaving on the margins the voices of minority groups and marginalised social actors such as women, who in those years developed as political actors and laid the basis for a new women’s movement. Thirdly, in mainstream reconstructions of 1968 historical time is conceived as linear, creating the impression that society only changed with and thanks to 1968; hence the illusion that feminism grew out of 1968.
34 Andrea Hajek This chapter explores the origins of the Italian women’s movement beyond the hegemonic narrative of 1968, with the aim of challenging the idea that Italian second-wave feminism arose from the ashes of that iconic year. By adopting a nonlinear concept of historical time and by taking stock of earlier forms of women’s activism as well as gradual societal changes throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the chapter offers an analysis of both the women’s movement’s ‘debt’ to the 1968 experience, and its development ‘despite’ the 1968 protests. As Carla Lonzi famously wrote, in order to enter a feminist state of mind young women had to dispel more than a few of the rallying cries, manners and myths of 1968. It has been despite of and not thanks to 1968 that they managed to do so. (Boccia 2015)3 In the first section, I will discuss in more detail how and why women’s experiences have been marginalised in hegemonic narratives of 1968; in the second section I outline a gendered approach to the history of 1968 which considers earlier manifestations of women’s rights battles as well as political, cultural, and social changes in post-war Italy and their role in the development of a feminist political consciousness around 1968. I argue that this consciousness is not ‘just’ an outcome of the critique of authority, institutions, and the family associated with 1968, even if the latter must be credited with having offered feminists a new public and political outlet (hence their ‘debt’ to 1968). But it is also, and perhaps predominantly, a reaction both against the emancipationist struggles of existing women’s associations, which were focused more on equal rights and welfare than on sexuality and reproduction issues, and against gender discrimination and women’s oppression in Italian society, which were reproduced within the 1968 movement itself. In the third and final section I then briefly discuss the role 1968 played in the development of the women’s movement in the early 1970s, and conclude that experiences of revolutionary agency in the late 1960s and 1970s were more gendered than is usually admitted.
Hegemonic narratives of 1968 in Italy Scholarly research on the Italian student and workers’ protests of 1968–69 concurs in attributing a strong historical importance to this watershed moment. GerdRainer Horn has argued that the prolonged duration of the protests of 1968 in Italy accounts for the fact that contemporary Italian society has one of the most vivid cultures of social movement activism in Europe (2007: 112). Indeed, it is safe to say with Kurz and Tolomelli (2008: 83) that in Italy 1968 led to an anthropological revolution; ‘no other country can so clearly differentiate the before and after in historical time’.4 The perception of 1968 as a moment of antiauthoritarian rebellion and youth conflict has strongly determined the way the protests have been interpreted over the past five decades. For a long time these interpretations were framed by
Despite or in debt to 1968? 35 competing political narratives, as illustrated in Andrew Marwick’s famous essay on the 1960s: In the eyes of the far left, it is the era when revolution was at hand, only to be betrayed by the feebleness of the faithful and the trickery of the enemy; to the radical right, an era of subversion and moral turpitude. (Marwick 1998: 3) The public memory of 1968 has been torn between celebration and condemnation, and a traumatic sense of (political) defeat (Foot 2010: 121). John Foot argues that there was a dialectical relation between defeat and ‘mourning’, on the one hand, and self-celebration by former protest leaders on the other, which has nurtured a series of silences. The personal account of the protests by the former student leader Mario Capanna, for example, entitled Those Wonderful Years (Formidabili quegli anni) and published during the twentieth anniversary of 1968, gives voice to a celebrative and nostalgic memory that erases the difficult memory of terrorism and political violence in the 1970s. Capanna thus offers a more ‘innocent’ and positive perspective on 1968. In general, the need to separate 1968 from the traumatic memory of the 1970s has resulted in the dominance of a celebrative reading of 1968, especially since the late 1980s. As the negative aspects were downplayed, an interpretation took shape that presented 1968 in terms primarily of a cultural revolution that helped ‘liberalise and modernise’ society (von der Goltz 2011b: 8). That interpretation broadened the ‘generational recruiting potential of “1968”’, as its focus on changes in lifestyles, music, and dress codes created a sense of ‘cultural affinity and a shared generational code and habitus’ (von der Goltz 2011b: 9). This allowed for a ‘depoliticised and somewhat sanitised’ version of events to take hold, which in turn contributed to a Europeanised reading of 1968 as a story of common experiences (ibid.). Stripping 1968 of its political aspects and instead presenting it as a process of cultural and moral modernisation served to make it sharable by or accessible to different groups. A similar conceptualisation of 1968 in terms of a generational phenomenon developed in various European countries throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, most notably in France where Hervé Hamon and Patrick Rotman’s Génération (1988) had a considerable impact (Zancarini-Fournel 2008: 62–7). The idea of youth rebellion and generational conflict also formed the backdrop for interpretations of 1968 in the media. Yet recent scholarly research suggests that the generational paradigm does not reflect the complexity of the 1968 movement and cannot fully explain the protests of the late 1960s. This is, first of all, because the generational label is used in a range of ways: sometimes it refers to all people belonging to a specific age cohort, sometimes only to the student population of that age cohort, sometimes even to subsequent age cohorts that identify with the 1968 generation (von der Goltz 2011b: 10). Secondly, the idea of generational conflict had different resonances in different national contexts depending on the specific historical context; in Germany, for example, the Nazi past intensified
36 Andrea Hajek the perception of generational rupture, as did the Fascist legacy in Italy. Finally, research into generational theory has come to view generations as ‘imagined communities’: groups with a strong awareness of and emphasis on their ‘communal character’ (ibid.: 15). This implies that the generational paradigm is more than just a biological denotation; it is ‘as much a construction as based on fact’ (ibid.: 11). In sum, generational change neither accounts for the wider social, political, and cultural protests in those years, nor does it explain differences within national contexts. It ignores other factors such as class and gender, and thus excludes other agents of protest such as factory workers or peasants (ibid.: 18).5 Maud Bracke has criticised the emphasis on generation in historiography, arguing that the idea of 1968 was promoted by a group of people, mostly white men, who were at the forefront of the student protests and who subsequently took on the roles of public spokespersons for the 1968 movement. Generation thus became ‘a hegemonizing narrative’ which provoked ‘a reluctance to investigate other forms of conflict: gender conflict, religious conflict, industrial and class-based conflict’ (Bracke 2012: 639). Similarly, Frazier and Cohen have argued – with reference to the 1968 protests in Mexico – that the ‘elite male leader version has become the lens through which ’68 and subsequent movements have been understood and measured’ (2003: 619). A second, related problem in this hegemonic interpretation of the protests is the predominance of political ‘impact events’. In order to understand 1968 as a generational experience, it needs to be shared by a specific group of people who shape their group identity around events that typically take place in a collective and public space, such as protest marches, university occupations or violent clashes. Indeed, historical reconstructions, anniversaries, and other commemorative events of 1968 have usually focused attention on political ‘impact events’, situated in the public (rather than a private) sphere and in major urban centres (rather than in the peripheries), while former protest leaders, who mostly belong to a male elite, have been at the forefront of the many (autobiographical) accounts that have appeared over the decades. In her definition of impact events, Astrid Erll draws on a concept introduced by Anne Fuchs with reference to the Dresden bombardments. Fuchs defined impact events as ‘historical occurrences that are perceived to spectacularly shatter the material and symbolic worlds that we inhabit’ (Fuchs 2010: 37). Fuchs is referring to catastrophic events, but Erll specifies that it is ‘especially the memories of political “impact events” which seem to develop a great centrifugal force’ (2011: 13, my italics). The so-called Night of the Barricades in France (10–11 May 1968) is a perfect example of this; students set up barricades in the Latin Quarter to protest against recent arrests and the closing of the Sorbonne. An historic allusion to both the Paris Commune and the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation, the Night of the Barricades entered collective memory and inspired generations of protesters. As Ingrid Gilcher-Holtey (2008: 115) has observed, it ‘synchronised the perception of different social groups’. In the German case we could cite the shooting dead by a policeman of a student, Benno Ohnesorg, during a demonstration in Berlin on 2 June 1967, as a key moment in the political awakening of
Despite or in debt to 1968? 37 left-wing activists in West Germany (von der Goltz 2011a: 475; Klimke 2008). By contrast, the relative absence of turning points, mythical moments or traumatic events in the British experience of 1968 prevented the protests from gaining the same iconic status as they did in countries like France (Nehring 2008: 125; Hajek 2013: 28–9). Italy witnessed a variety of political impact events, including several university occupations across the nation, and violent clashes either between students and police or between activists of different political colour; left-wing student Paolo Rossi, for example, was killed by neo-fascists during the university elections in Rome in 1966 (Crainz 2005: 265). The Battle of Valle Giulia is, however, the best example of a political impact event in the Italian case: following repeated attempts to occupy the University of Rome, on 1 March 1968 violent clashes between students and police forces made headlines. But the ‘battle’ also owes its mythical status to the famous protest song ‘Valle Giulia’, composed by the political singer-songwriter Pietro Pietrangeli. It is important to stress the role the media played in the circulation or ‘spectacularization’ (Benci 2008: 177) of information about and images of these events, as well as in the promotion of iconic leading figures. Antonio Benci highlights the importance of the French press in the ‘creation of the French May’, through its ‘invention’ of a symbolic hero or icon who comes to represent the student movement (2008: 177). In Italy, Mario Capanna became such a figure when he led a major protest march in Largo Gemelli, home to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan, which earned him the title of ‘hero of Largo Gemelli’ by an important national newspaper (Ballestrini and Moroni 2005: 247). Even more notorious was the provocative ultimatum that he gave police forces when they were about to clear the occupied university: Capanna announced that the police had up to 15 minutes to abandon the university premises (Ballestrini and Moroni 2005: 247; Capanna 2007: 53). Such ‘top-down public narratives’ (Frazier and Cohen 2003: 620) of leading figures are imbued with masculinity, male heroism, and heroic rhetoric, as they foreground strategic debates, negotiations between students and authorities, and ‘major dramatic events’ (Frazier and Cohen 2003: 619). They exalt ‘the heroic masculinity of the youthful male body defying the patriarchal state’ (Frazier and Cohen 2003: 619) and produce a discourse which, through the focus on leaders’ actions, lives, and political visions, ‘prioritises the relationship between the state and those men defined as movement leaders’ (Frazier and Cohen 2003: 636). This focus on violent and heroic incidents taking place in public spaces, focalised through the eyes of male leaders, leaves little scope for different everyday life stories or issues pertaining to the private sphere. Moreover, the stories of other social actors – ordinary rank-and-file activists and observers, and women – are largely absent from or marginalised in these accounts (Foot 2010: 115–16), and it is only recently that scholarship has begun to address this problem. In a special issue of the journal Memory Studies, which focused on oral history methodology as a challenge to dominant narratives of 1968, Robert Gildea narrates the political trajectory of an Algerian female immigrant who had come to France in the early
38 Andrea Hajek 1960s and took part in an iconic strike at a watch-making factory in a provincial city in northeastern France in the 1970s. The account represented ‘a new narrative, the triumph of provincial, women-dominated and nonviolent agitation over Paris-based, male and violent activism’ (Gildea 2013: 38). This difficulty for women – and women’s experiences of the 1968 protests – to inscribe themselves or be inscribed in memories of 1968 is the result of both the dominance of a generational paradigm and the strong emphasis on (or visibility given to) political impact events. All this has produced a series of silences, which are sometimes linked to a traumatic sense of defeat: ‘1968 changed the world, but it didn’t overthrow the system. After the excitement of the revolution and hope of change, many participants were forced to deal with the harsh and mundane realities of everyday life’ (Foot 2010: 121). Moreover, people often choose not to remember certain things, and private memories may fail ‘to find expression in public or permanent forms of memorialisation’ (Foot 2010: 109). These silences have been addressed mainly through recent oral history research. Even though oral histories of 1968 for a long time focused on leading figures who ‘glorified and glamorized’ the 1968 movement (Hilwig 2001: 581), more recently those dominant interpretations are being challenged. A third problem in dominant interpretations of 1968, which is linked to the previous two (generation and political impact events), is the application of a Hegelian teleological philosophy of history as ‘rooted in metaphysical meta-narratives that imbue the course of history “as a whole” with meaning or purpose’; in other words, it indicates ‘the retrospective designation of a particular course of events as a developmental trajectory’ (Browne 2014: 16–17). When constructing narratives of past events, traditional historical accounts adopt a teleological logic that discerns ‘an overall direction that has culminated in the present’ and hence the ‘totalization’ of the past from the perspective of a knowing present; it thus excludes alternative (e.g. gendered) ways of thinking about the past (Browne 2014: 17). In her essay on feminism and historical time, Victoria Browne (2014: 18) links the problem of ‘teleological totalization’ to what she calls the logic of ‘sequential negation’, which implies an ascending order where each sequence or phase negates and overtakes the former. This logic has been applied within feminist history itself, with its typical division of feminism in categories or phases (liberal feminism, constitutional feminism, radical feminism, first-wave, etc.). Thus, Browne argues, in both traditional and feminist historiography, feminism has been ‘mapped onto a progressive chronology, and presented as different phases or stages that oppose and come one after the other’, while perspectives developed in earlier times become redundant or outdated (Browne 2014: 19). In order to contrast these temporal logics, Browne proposes a reconceptualisation of historical time in terms of a nonlinear and multidirectional model, where feminism is no longer excluded from hegemonic narratives but is accounted for as a coexisting history, or rather, coexisting histories, which can promote interaction between feminisms of the past and present (2014: 1–2). Memories and histories of 1968, with their emphasis on radical change and modernisation, very much fit this idea of ‘teleological totalization’ and ‘sequential
Despite or in debt to 1968? 39 negation’: in the case of France we could think of the strong focus on the month of May 1968, on the student rebellion, and on the central location of Paris, and especially the Latin Quarter (Ross 2002: 8–10; Gordon 2010: 51). I am by no means suggesting that generation and political impact events should be disregarded; they reflect the important political dimension of 1968 and the fact that the period from at least 1967 to 1969 was marked by major events at national and transnational levels. These reached a peak in 1968 with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy in the United States, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, to name just a few. 1968 witnessed protests around the world, nurtured by political ideologies, which have been read to signify a universal community of ‘sixty-eighters’. For those not (directly) engaged in political activism, the period around 1968 undoubtedly represented a moment of change, and for many citizens in Western Europe and the United States also the – physical and visible – embracing of a newly found freedom (dress, hairstyle, sexual morals, etc). As Horn has observed in a recent study on social movements: The most truly radical potential of 1968 lay precisely in its highlighting of the possibilities of a different organization of social life. 1968 pointed the finger at the existence of historical alternatives to dominant patterns of politics, the organization of production and the shaping of modern culture across the world. (Horn 2017: 516) Yet this new awareness of the self as a political and generational subject of change cannot be fully understood through a linear or teleological reading of the events, focused as it is on the perception of 1968 as a breaking point that divided a pre1968 from a post-1968 world. It fails to take into account the importance of earlier forms of women’s activism and changes in sexual morals and everyday life experiences for the development of a new female political consciousness around 1968.
Towards a gendered history of 1968 In the previous section I explained the relative absence of gender issues and women’s experiences from hegemonic narratives of 1968 as a result of the focus on generation and political impact events. That dominating double focus, I argued, has produced silences and a teleological, totalising concept of historical time. I will now develop the argument by demonstrating how it has also ignored the gradual social and cultural changes of the post-war period and the role female politicians and women’s associations played in this period. Only a different conceptualisation of historical time, I suggest, namely one that is nonlinear and multidirectional, can give due credit to women’s revolutionary agency in the period around 1968. One of the distinguishing traits of the women’s liberation movement in Italy is the way it distanced itself from preceding feminist generations or ‘waves’, such
40 Andrea Hajek that today it is often simply referred to as the feminist movement tout court, and its exponents as ‘historical’ feminists. The wave metaphor, commonly applied in other countries to cohorts of feminists by generation, is hardly used in Italy; at the very most, 1970s feminism is identified with the term ‘neo-feminism’.6 Only recently have scholars started to investigate earlier forms of women’s rights activism, for example early twentieth-century women’s associations and women politicians in the Cold War period. One legacy that feminists did look back on in the 1970s was that of the female partisans in the anti-fascist resistance movement, thanks also to a number of publications about the ‘silenced’ resistance that appeared around 1975. World War II represented an important moment for Italian women, forcing them out of the home and into new roles and responsibilities (Willson 2010: 97–8). Many took on paid work or became politically active either in the fascist female organisations or indeed in anti-fascist formations (ibid.: 81). Especially after the 1943 armistice and the occupation of northern and central Italy – between 1943 and 1945 – by its former ally, Hitler’s Nazi Germany, large numbers of women chose to join the anti-fascist resistance movement, including as fighters.7 Twenty years of fascist rule had placed strong emphasis on maternity and women’s role in the domestic sphere, but now many women entered the public sphere and took part in political life. As one female partisan, interviewed for a recent documentary, recalled: ‘There’s one thing that I will never forget: for the first time I heard the words democracy, women’s emancipation, elections, universal suffrage. These were new words for us. They intrigued us, they excited us, they filled us with hope’.8 In 1946 women were eventually granted the vote, while two years later, following a referendum in which Italians were asked to choose between a monarchy and a republic, 45 women were elected to the first parliament of the newborn republic. Molly Tambor’s collective biography of the first female parliamentarians of post-war Italy demonstrates the important role these women – through what she coins ‘constitutional rights feminism’ – played in gaining social consensus for women’s equality ‘that could reach across religious, ideological, and gender divides’ (2014: 4).9 Although the historian Maria Casalini, in a review of Tambor’s book, downplays the thesis that there was strong solidarity and complicity between women politicians of different political parties and hesitates to speak of feminism in this context, scholars do generally agree that women politicians engaged in some form of cross-party collaboration when debating laws that pertained to the welfare system. I would also argue that the efforts of these women, like those of the women’s associations active in the same period (on which more below), represented an initial, moderate, and institutionalised form of feminist political consciousness, even if strongly determined by the historical and (geo)political situation. Notwithstanding the progress made during and shortly after World War II, in the following decades the situation deteriorated as women’s political representation decreased, job opportunities diminished, and women’s employment was jeopardised as men returned from the front and claimed back ‘their’ jobs. In her study of the massive dismissals of women workers in 1950s Italy, Eloisa Betti places
Despite or in debt to 1968? 41 much of the responsibility for the systematic attacks on women’s right to work on the ruling political class and its incapacity – or unwillingness – to declare female redundancy without good cause unlawful.10 Betti’s case study focuses on dismissals as a reprisal for women’s political and unionist activism, but she observes that the dismissals were often motivated by the conviction that unemployment would be resolved more easily if women were expelled from the production sector (Betti and Giovannetti 2014: 48). Strikes and protest demonstrations by women workers were frequent in those years, and the issue of work and women’s right to work was a common topic of debate in conferences organised by female sections of left-wing political parties and women’s associations. On a more positive note, the economic boom of the 1950s created a new prosperity which allowed many Italian families to indulge in new lifestyles and invest in the education of their daughters (Willson 2010: 117). Similarly, migration to the industrial cities of the North gave young women – often coming from rural areas – the opportunity to escape social control and gain financial independence. But even if the arrival on the scene of new technologies and consumer goods provoked a certain degree of liberation for women (with the exception of the lower classes who could not yet afford washing machines or refrigerators), those same transformations promoted an image of women as devoted housewives and placed emphasis on the maternal role, thus returning women to the domestic sphere and to the subordinate, socially isolating role of wife and mother (Willson 2010: 123; Cutrufelli et al. 2002: 233). As for female employment made possible by internal migration, this had reached its peak between 1958 and 1963, but became less attractive with the introduction of equal pay (Willson 2010: 118–19). By 1963 women’s employment had dropped back to a mere 30 percent (Cutrufelli et al. 2002: 239), and in the following two years female employment in various sectors was reduced by more than 700,000 work units (ibid.: 251). More importantly, although improved legislation and subtle changes in social habits and family relationships throughout the 1950s and 1960s give evidence of a ‘process of mutual adjustment involving a redefinition of authority and tradition within the family and across generations’ (Saraceno 2004: 48), Italian society was still marked by contradictions and ambiguities about women’s roles and rights in the area of sexuality and reproduction (Passerini 1991: 142). Double standards persisted as female adultery remained legally punishable (unlike male adultery) until it was abrogated in 1968; and reparatory marriage was still widely viewed as an acceptable solution to rape, to be abolished only in 1981. Clearly the female politicians and women’s associations active in the post-war years had failed to fully address these issues, largely because they were closely linked to political parties. Thus the two mass organisations, the Union of Italian Women (Unione Donne Italiane, UDI) and the Italian Female Centre (Centro Italiano Femminile, CIF), had strong ties with the Italian Communist Party and Christian Democracy respectively. Both the UDI and the CIF originated towards the end of World War II and had many members in the 1950s and 1960s, although their successes waned in the 1970s (the UDI even underwent a structural change at
42 Andrea Hajek the end of the 1970s). In an early phase, the UDI operated autonomously, but as the Cold War enhanced competition between Catholics and Communists, it increasingly became a flanking organisation of the Communist Party (Hellman 1987: 36; Willson 2010: 140). Consequently, women’s associationism in those years was concentrated on mobilising the votes of Italian women (Casalini 2016: 224) and on the struggle for welfare and working rights, while matters pertaining to gender relations and sexuality remained side issues. Neither the Christian Democrats nor the Communist Party really believed in gender equality, and in order to avert anti-communist sentiment and compete effectively with Catholicism, the Communists refrained from challenging the family institution, focusing their struggles instead on social issues such as maternity allowances or pensions for housewives (Hellman 1987: 38–9). Women’s rights and conditions at the level of sexuality, reproduction, and personal relations therefore continued to be trampled on or relegated to the private sphere. Nonetheless, boundaries between private and public were very slowly beginning to blur, and women were ever more keen to liberate themselves – in the words of journalist Natalia Aspesi – from ‘the forced mystification of submissive, calm, satisfied fiancées, brides, and mothers shut by hypocrisy in a role that even then was beginning to be unsustainable’ (cited in Morris 2006: 120).11 As Perry Willson has observed, although sexuality for women was still bound to marriage, it was a period of transition (Willson 2010: 126). Thus it was in the rare public spaces offered for example by advice columns that traditionally private matters came to the fore, as Penny Morris (2004) has demonstrated in her study of an agony column published in a popular magazine of the time. Similarly, public scandals and trials involving celebrities helped change public opinion, as the case of cycling champion Fausto Coppi demonstrates: found guilty of adultery in 1955, Coppi and his lover were sentenced to relatively low penalties because of his celebrity status (Cutrufelli et al. 2002: 199). That stars fulfil a role as ‘cultural symbol and conduit for ideas about gender, values and national identity’ (Gundle 2008: 263) is even more evident in the case of the popular singer Mina, whose extramarital pregnancy in 1963 was initially perceived as a challenge to established ideas about gender relations and sexual behaviour (Haworth 2017: 258). Eventually, though, media emphasis on ‘the redemptive potential of maternity’ (ibid.: 254–5) allowed Mina to reaffirm her star status. In sum, by the mid-1960s the ambiguity and limitations of existing legislation, in the context of persistently backward cultural mentalities and oppressing social expectations, became increasingly visible and contested. Women were less and less inclined to accept the situation, and this is perhaps best illustrated by the case of Franca Viola, a young Sicilian woman who was abducted and raped by a local suitor. Instead of accepting reparatory marriage she denounced her rapist (receiving much criticism from her local community), and eventually won the case. The changes in habits, morals, and education that had marked the post-war period thus ‘came to a head’ in the 1970s, as the generation that had grown up in the 1950s and 1960s was coming of age (Willson 2010: 114–17).
Despite or in debt to 1968? 43
1968, feminism, and revolutionary agency The question that now arises is to what extent the 1968 protests determined the origins of the women’s movement in Italy. Towards the end of the 1960s, the gradual cultural changes and shifts towards a more modern society had, so to speak, gained ‘legitimacy’, and were ever more widely shared and politically claimed. As Luisa Passerini (1991: 155) has observed, 1968 ‘proposes on an extended scale a movement of liberation that departed from its own living conditions’.12 The political and generational rebellion of the 1968 movement, in other words, offered a public outlet for women’s struggles for personal freedom and a political framework in which to enact the rejection of authority. For women this meant a fierce criticism of the family, viewed as an ‘authoritarian institution which reproduces cultural values that tie down both man and woman to their respective roles’ (Fraire 2002: 52).13 This rejection of the family implied a rejection of women’s roles as real and symbolic mothers. The discovery of a sexuality not linked to reproduction, thanks also to the introduction of the contraceptive pill in 1966, as well as a stronger awareness of women’s sexual difference (and accordingly, the ever more urgent need for appropriate legislation, for example around birth control and abortion), necessitated the development of a feminist political consciousness that went beyond questions of emancipation and equality. The 1968 protests therefore reflected intergenerational discomfort, and a contradictory relationship between women’s personal stories and emancipationist cultures, or what has been defined a ‘wounded emancipation’ (Laura Derossi, cited in Bravo 2008: 69). In its promotion of different relations between the sexes and more autonomy in sexual matters, 1968 responded to a shared sense of escaping predetermined destinies (Guerra and Musiani 2009: 2). In doing so the protests of 1968 offered a timely, political, and public outlet for new necessities and demands, and second-wave feminism can be said to have a ‘debt’ to 1968 (Fraire 2002: 23). Nonetheless, the development of a feminist political consciousness in this period was strongly determined by women’s political activism in previous years, and – as we will see further ahead – by the failure of the 1968 movement to address the core problems of women’s oppression. As Hellman (1987: 40) has observed, ‘much of the initial stimulus for the development of feminist thought grew from women’s dissatisfaction with the traditional leftist conception of the questione femminile [female question]’, promoted primarily by the Union of Italian Women. This is illustrated by the fact that the first feminist group to appear in Italy, although not yet called feminist at the time, predated the 1968 protests: Demau (Demystification Authoritarianism) originated in 1965 and strongly criticised the emancipationist politics of the 1950s and 1960s. The mixed group, composed of highly educated professionals belonging to an older age cohort than the students of 1968, argued that women should seek autonomy through a ‘conscious assessment’ of women’s own essential values and of their personal situation (Spagnoletti 1977: 39). Rather than pushing through
44 Andrea Hajek social and political reforms, women should reject integration into a patriarchal, male-dominated society, if a new society was to be created. Many feminist histories interpret the experience of Demau, which lost influence when the majority of its members abandoned the group to join the student movement, as an anticipation of the great revolution sparked by the 1968 protests. Even feminist historiography, therefore, is not immune to totalising temporal logics. In one of the first histories of second-wave feminism, for example, Biancamaria Frabotta observed that ‘women’s gaining consciousness gets underway with the more general student protest’ (1975: 8). Frabotta thus sidelines earlier forms of women’s activism and the impact of societal changes, while the existence of Demau is seen to anticipate what lay ahead, rather than as a reaction to past and present issues: in Frabotta’s view Demau ‘predicted, like a small rivulet in the middle of a river, the by now forthcoming shake-up which was to invest the wobbly university structures’ (1975: 8).14 Other scholars have attributed a similar role to Demau: portraying the organisation as something that was ahead of its time (possibly ‘interrupted’ by the 1968 protests to then be picked up again by the women’s movement in the 1970s), these interpretations suggest that feminism moves in one direction, and thus they create a teleological narrative where successive ‘waves’ of feminism overtake previous waves. I would argue, rather, that the relation between the 1968 movement and the women’s movement was a dialectic and multidirectional one, simultaneously looking back and forwards, with multiple generations of feminists engaging in feminist activism simultaneously. One example of this is the Union of Italian Women, still active in the 1970s: although it often clashed with the more radical feminists, it was also strongly influenced by them (Hellman 1987: 47). The limits of 1968 were soon revealed as it became clear that even within the protest movement ‘the underlying crisis of patriarchy remained unarticulated’ (Bracke 2014: 49). If 1968 ‘consolidated’ an intensely felt need for changes in women’s lives in this historical moment, it soon proved a disappointment, as they were allowed only marginal roles in debates and meetings, and found themselves unable to compete with the more confident male protagonists (Willson 2010: 151). Traditional gender roles and identities were therefore ‘rearticulated and even re-entrenched’ as the double sexual standard was maintained and the sexual revolution played out as an almost exclusively male experience (Bracke 2014: 50). As one feminist from Milan lamented, ‘that which may seem liberating for men is definitely different for women’ (Sottosopra 1973: 52).15 Disillusionment is expressed even more clearly in a political document of 1969, written by the female collectives active within the Roman student movement: the document rejected the ‘capitalistic division of labour’ (Spagnoletti 1977: 70) that typically occurred within the context of the family, considered the ideological basis of capitalism. This rejection is what gives woman her ‘specific task in the revolutionary process’, which cannot take place within a female, emancipationist movement but only in the context of the class struggle that women share with their male counterparts (ibid.: 71). The shared struggle, however, presents many difficulties for women because ‘the very [male] companions in the class struggle are unaware
Despite or in debt to 1968? 45 of the extent of women’s emancipation’, and fail to acknowledge ‘the economic and ideological ghetto that they themselves contribute to perpetuating’ (ibid.).16 From a purely chronological perspective, then, the Italian women’s movement was initiated ‘after’ 1968, but its origins must be traced to the felt need to denounce the limitations of emancipationist feminism as much to the ’68 movement itself. In the words of Mariella Gramaglia (1976: 180), feminism was a ‘revolutionary pedagogy for revolutionaries’.17
A revolutionary pedagogy for revolutionaries The ‘missed promises’ (Fraire 2002: 23) of the 1968 rebellion opened women’s eyes to the internal ambiguities of the Italian student movement, and the conflicts between feminists and male activists in the various mixed political groups that originated during and after 1968 grew over the following years. This not only nurtured women’s dissatisfaction with traditional political activism, but could even lead to physical clashes between male and female activists, for example when men were excluded from separatist meetings or women-only protest marches (Bravo 2008: 257). The most notorious case is that of the extra-parliamentary left-wing group Lotta Continua, which dissolved as a result of violent, physical clashes during what would be the group’s last national conference in 1976.18 Hence if 1968 was important for the political formation of women, vice versa the women’s movement laid bare gender imbalances within social movements, and helped give shape to a wholly new way of doing politics that would characterise future student movements: more focused on emotions, the personal, and everyday experiences. In conclusion, although 1968 helped women develop a revolutionary agency, a gendered history of 1968 can only be constructed if we consider history as a nonlinear and multidirectional process of progress and regress, continuity and discontinuity, appropriation and detachment. 1968 consolidated the felt need for changes in women’s lives and offered a public outlet for expressing that need; but this newly found, political consciousness was very much an outcome of the long-term and ongoing process of societal change, as well as a rejection of emancipationism and, eventually, a denunciation of persisting gender roles and discrimination within the very protest movement itself. Only an autonomous, feminist revolutionary agency could give true value and importance to the body ‘as the material moment of one’s own identity and the specific location of oppression and estrangement’ (Menapace 1976: 173).19
Notes 1 ‘Eppure, secondo una vulgata di successo il femminismo nasce nel e dal sessantotto’. All translations from Italian are by the author. 2 Chronologically speaking the very first feminist groups in Italy originate in 1970, with the exception of the mixed group Demau, which is discussed later. 3 ‘D’altra parte per entrare in uno spirito femminista le giovani hanno dovuto scardinare non poco le parole d’ordine, i modi e i miti sessantotteschi. È stato malgrado il ’68 e non grazie al ’68 che hanno potuto farlo’.
46 Andrea Hajek 4 For a detailed account of the students’ and workers’ movement in Italy see for example Lumley (1990). 5 Gerd-Rainer Horn’s The Spirit of ’68 (2007) is an excellent example of a study that brings to the fore exactly those long-term aspects and marginalised subjects of the 1968 protests. 6 On the wave metaphor see Browne (2014); Withers (2015); and Hajek (2017). 7 The Women’s Defence and Assistance Groups, created in Milan in November 1943, had 70.000 female members, of which half were engaged in combat. 8 From the documentary La mia bandiera. La Resistenza al femminile (‘My flag. The Female Resistance’), dir. Giuliano Bugani (2011). 9 In an earlier publication, Tambor refers instead to ‘women’s rights constitutionalism’ (2006: 132). 10 In fact, it was not until 1963 that a law was passed which prohibited dismissal of female workers on the basis of their decision to get married. 11 Aspesi was referring to Gabriella Parca’s bestselling book Le italiane si confessano (‘Italian women confess’), published in 1959 and immediately dubbed the ‘Italian Kinsey Report’. 12 ‘[I]l sessantotto propone su scala allargata un movimento di libertà che parte dalle proprie condizioni di vita’. 13 ‘[L]a critica alla famiglia è la critica ad un’istituzione autoritaria che reproduce valori culturali che incatenano sia l’uomo che la donna ai loro ruoli’. 14 ‘Anche in Italia, a parte alcune sporadiche analisi compiute già dal 1966 dal Gruppo Demau (Demistificazione Autoritarismo), che preannunciavano, piccolo rivolo in mezzo al fiume, l’ormai prossimo scossone che avrebbe investito le traballanti strutture universitarie, la presa di coscienza delle donne prende il via dalla più generale contestazione studentesca’. 15 ‘[C]iò che può sembrare liberatorio per gli uomini è certo molto differente per le donne’. 16 ‘[S]ono i compagni stessi di lotta che non conoscono la portata dell’emarginazione della donna dal suo ruolo storico e produttivo [. . .], che non avvertono il ghetto economico e ideologico che essi stessi contribuiscono a perpetuare’. 17 ‘Perché il femminismo, almeno nei suoi primi gesti politici, nasce come pedagogia rivoluzionaria per i rivoluzionari, come denuncia vivente del loro limite’. 18 On this specific event and the role of the feminist activists in the dissolution of Lotta Continua, see Voli (2006: 184–200). 19 ‘la tematica del corpo come momento materiale della propria identità e luogo specifico dell’oppressione e dell’estraniazione’.
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Despite or in debt to 1968? 49 Von der Goltz, A. (2011b) ‘Introduction: Generational Belonging and the “68ers” in Europe’, in A. Von der Goltz (ed.), ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation’: Conflicts of Generation Building and Europe’s ‘1968’, Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 195–215. Willson, P. (2010) Women in Twentieth-Century Italy, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Withers, D. (2015) Feminism, Digital Culture and the Politics of Transmission: Theory, Practice and Cultural Heritage, London: Rowman & Littlefield International. Zancarini-Fournel, M. (2008) Le moment 68. Une histoire contestée, Paris: Seuil.
Transnational memories and gender Northern Ireland’s 1968 Chris Reynolds
Introduction Building on the preceding discussions of contested histories of 1968, this chapter challenges the absence of the ‘troubled province’ from the dominant transnational narrative of this seminal period of revolt, and examines the question of gender in Northern Ireland’s 1968 as one factor in that absence. Following a brief overview of how the case of Northern Ireland has been marginalised in an increasingly consensual interpretation of 1968 as a global wave of protest, the place of the gender issue in the Northern Irish context will be assessed. Drawing on the testimonies of a selection of interviews with female protagonists from the time, I argue that the perceived absence of the gender question is not something that need set Northern Ireland apart. I will problematise the predominant interpretation that 1968 stimulated (in a positive sense) the subsequent surge in feminist activism and explore the concept of this period as in fact a ‘negative catalyst’ in this domain. Citing evidence of the prominent role of women during Northern Ireland’s 1968 and in particular the leading role of one young woman activist, I will argue that the question of gender, far from further consolidating the argument for Northern Ireland’s absence from the transnational narrative of ‘68’, actually provides another example of how that anomalous absence merits a reassessment and is ripe for a serious challenge.
Sous les pavés . . . the Troubles – Northern Ireland and the global 1968 ‘1968’ has come to mean much more than a calendar year. Those four digits are today understood as something much broader, complex, and interesting. They represent a period that goes beyond the obvious 12 months to incorporate a longer time-span, stretching from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s when, across the globe, country after country was rocked by a wave of protest.1 In the areas affected, a number of striking commonalities have enabled the emergence of a transnational narrative around understandings and interpretations of this seminal ‘year’. The idea that something was happening on a global scale was recognised by activists at the time, and is one reason why so many people got involved and
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conducted their protests in the manner they did (Katsiaficas 1987; Caute 1988; Fraser 1988; Jameson 1984). Recognition of the international aspect of 1968 has been growing steadily over the years as the period has become the focus of increasingly intensive interest, particularly around the decennial commemorations. That process arguably came to a head in 2008, when a surge in interest around the notion of ’68 as a transnational revolt consolidated the idea that any understanding of what happened in individual countries was predicated on taking stock of the unquestionably exceptional international context (Crane and Muellner 2008; Førland 2008; de Groot 2008). Since 2008, the international focus has persisted, with more studies emerging to strengthen the transnational narrative (Frei 2008; Gassert and Klimke 2009; Gildea, Mark, and Warring 2013; von der Goltz 2011; Tismaneanu 2011.) More recently, attention has turned to what could be described as marginal or peripheral areas, further expanding the geographical spread of what is now broadly accepted to be a transnational revolt (Dramé and Lamarre 2009; Farik 2008; Førland 2008; Gildea, Mark, and Warring 2013; Klimke and Scharloth 2008; Zancarini-Fournel 2016: 778–865). In the 50th anniversary year it is clear that the emphasis on understanding 1968 through the international lens shows no signs of abating. Even while the last half-century has seen a forging of the transnational narrative of 1968, it has been very rare to see any mention of Northern Ireland. Even the academic literature on the period has almost completely marginalised what happened there (Cornils and Waters 2010; Dreyfus-Armand 2008; Fink, Gassert, and Junker 1998; Caute 1988). One could almost be forgiven for believing that nothing of any importance occurred; but anyone with a minimal understanding of Northern Ireland’s recent history knows how significant 1968 was. Not only did Northern Ireland experience a significant period of revolt, but a strong case can (and has) been made for what happened in the ‘troubled province’ to be included in the ever-expanding roster of areas to have experienced a ‘1968’ (Reynolds 2015). There were of course specificities that one can identify in 1960s Northern Ireland that led to a degree of difference in what drove the movement there, how it conducted itself, who was involved, and what its objectives were (Reynolds 2017: 636–8). However, to present Northern Ireland as a case apart and thus to explain its absence from the transnational memory of this period is not only insufficient, it also misses the point of how the transnational narrative of 1968 should be understood. ‘1968’ was a time when, in many places in the world, a gateway was opened for those wishing for change. Change was not the same in each country: rather, those protesting were plugged into an international zeitgeist that armed them with the confidence, the tools, and the forms of action that enabled them to take on and challenge the status quos of their specific national contexts (Prince 2006: 867). The idea that Northern Ireland was somehow immune to that makes no sense. So, if Northern Ireland did experience its own ‘1968’, how can its enduring absence from the transnational narrative be understood? The response lies not in seeing what happened as a case apart, but instead focusing on what could be described as its divergent aftermath. Generally speaking, 1968 is considered as a positive, progressive moment when those nations affected shook off the
conservative and archaic mores that had hitherto defined them and took important steps towards a more modern and liberal outlook (Reynolds 2015). In France (for example), a progressively celebratory mood has come to define commemorations of the period (Reynolds 2011; Rioux 2008). Such a positive spin has simply not been possible in the Northern Irish context. The post-’68 period there saw the onset of the nightmare that was the Troubles, which took Northern Ireland on a completely different and very negative trajectory.2 As a result, for a number of reasons, including personal security and the question of regret, the story of Northern Ireland’s 1968 was buried beneath the horror of the Troubles (Reynolds 2017: 638–40). That is why, both from within and from without, there has been no place for the Northern Irish story in the transnational narrative (Reynolds 2018). As will be argued later, as Northern Ireland adjusts to an era of peace, an opportunity now exists to right the wrong that is this absence. Before that, however, I will focus on the question of gender in order to demonstrate that not only did Northern Ireland have a ‘1968’, but there is a case to be made that, from a gender perspective, it was arguably leading the way.
The gender question and 1968 – stereotypical representations That 1968 has become the focus of so much public, media, and academic attention can be attributed to many different factors. There is of course the argument that what happened was really quite exceptional. The nature and magnitude of the events around 1968, whether in the USA, France, Czechoslovakia, or China (to name but a few), was striking. The forms of action, the demands being made, the people involved all stir interest, even 50 years later. Making sense of how and why so many nations were affected during a relatively short period of time has become one of the stand-out concerns of ‘1968 studies’. That such a spread was able to happen, even before the advent of a ‘world-wide web’, stirs up memories of similar type revolts in history (1789, 1848, for example) and begs the question as to how such a spread was able to happen (Graeber 2014). Because of its widespread consequences, 1968 it is commonly referred to as a watershed year. In almost every domain, it is commonplace to see reference to ‘a before’ and ‘an after’ 1968 (Fink, Gassert, and Junker 1998). Political transformations (at varying speeds) ensued. 1968 has also come to represent a turning point in the development of fashion, music, and the arts. Social mores are equally held up as having received a jolt, with the experiences of the 1968 events triggering or speeding up a transformation in the rules and regulations that underpin society. Economically, there are suggestions that 1968 paradoxically facilitated the development of some nations’ ability to adapt to the rigours of a modern-day capitalist system. It is possible to cite almost any institution or element of contemporary society and interpret 1968 as a pivotal moment. This would include areas such as the Church, justice systems, ecological movements, sport, media, trade unionism, regional identities, prison, antinuclearism, education, and so on. It would also include the question of gender. It is almost impossible to read any recent study that deals with this period and its consequences that does not refer
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to the role of women during the events and the subsequent impact on the rise of feminism (c.f. for example Horn 2007: 217–19; Sherman et al. 2013: 239–69; Gildea, Mark, and Warring 2013: 239–57). The dominant narrative posits 1968 as a pivotal turning point for what would become one of the most significant social movements in recent history. The conclusion one would be forgiven for drawing is that the feminist movement, too, came into being via the gateway opened by the experiences of 1968. When one considers the post-1968 trajectory of the feminist movement, it is understandable how such a conclusion is so commonly drawn. In the aftermath of 1968, the question of gender and feminism became one of the most significant and important areas of debate, right across the globe (Klimke and Scharloth 2008: 281–93). The chronology of the formation of significant feminist movements suggests that something gave way as a result of the 1968 events (Freedman 2003). Developments in key areas around gender also emerged in the post-1968 era: one could cite the continued granting of the vote to women during this period (in Yemen, Andorra, Switzerland, and Portugal, for example), a focus on greater gender equality in politics, changing attitudes to sexuality, important reforms to laws on contraception and abortion, or changes to family law in order to bring about greater parity (Walters 2005: 83–115). All of these changes appeared to come in the wake of the 1968 events and the new terrain they had cultivated. Before problematising the rather facile notion that 1968 somehow gave birth to the rise of feminism and subsequent associated developments, it is worth pausing to reflect on how activists in Northern Ireland’s 1968 perceive the issue in terms of their own experiences of the time. The following section therefore draws on testimonies from former female protagonists and on their reflections on the importance of gender.
The gender question in Northern Ireland’s 1968 Following the publication of Sous les pavés . . . the Troubles in 2015, I entered into a collaboration with the Ulster Museum in Belfast (Reynolds 2015). A series of videoed interviews was commissioned with protagonists from Northern Ireland’s 1968, including voices hitherto marginalised in how the story has been told. As well as the standard questions put to everyone as part of the structured interviews, a number of issues around the topic of gender were put to the interviewees. In both the general and specific questions on the place of women, it became clear that there were interesting and revealing reflections that deserved to be included in the story of Northern Ireland’s 1968. The questions around gender sought to examine the extent to which this was actually a prevalent issue at the time. What became abundantly clear was that the protagonists were more or less agreed on the general absence of gender as a central issue. As the former People’s Democracy (PD) ‘footsoldier’ Carol Tweedale explained: There was no concept that women’s rights had any relevance to the People’s Democracy or the civil rights movement, as far as I was aware of, right. I
Chris Reynolds don’t think we, as young women, were very aware of gender and equalities, your gender issues. [. . .] women’s issues were not, as far as my recollection is, were not on the agenda. There were a lot of girls about the place [. . .] But you know, the big talkers were the chaps [. . .] but I don’t remember anything about gender issues coming up in the general civil rights [. . .]. Not in Northern Ireland. (Tweedale 2017)
The former prominent PD activist Anne Devlin remembered that, at the time, questions around feminism were not on her radar: It took me a very long time and it took me a lot of reading to really figure out. And still I wouldn’t have been a feminist. I really didn’t think there was any need for it, and I didn’t understand [. . .] And so, it wouldn’t have been obvious to me, at first. So, it’s hard. It’s a difficult question. Because I’m very feminist now. (Devlin 2017) Judith Jennings, who also played an important role in the PD movement, explained that while feminism may have been an issue in general, the situation in Northern Ireland was somewhat different: Yes. It [feminism] was present, but it was more present in London. We were involved with groups in London, Grosvenor Square, for example, ‘Troops Out’ movement, but a lot of those women were Lesbians and would have been in communes. And so that was . . . and also a lot of literature, a lot of books at that time. Mainly American and of course . . . so much feminism there, but it was not so much in Ireland. (Jennings 2017) When asked to explain how it was that the gender issue was so absent, interviewees tended to present the context of Northern Ireland as specific, in keeping with the notion that the province was a case apart. Jennings spoke of a conservative context where religion made progressive ideas, such as feminism, unwelcome topics of debate: Well, I think we were too conservative in that respect with regards . . . well, my friends were anyway, but we read the books [. . .]. Everybody read them, but we weren’t so militant about it as they were . . . English people were. [. . .] Well, religious attitudes, obviously. Yes. There were certain things you didn’t do. If you did do them you were shunned and put away and babies were hidden and, you know, put into convents and people were treated badly if they overstepped the line. (Jennings 2017)
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Devlin recalled how any sign of her interest on politics was made difficult by the perception that politics was the reserve of men, and men only: [O]ne, it was regarded as I was boring. And two, I was also, it isn’t what girls were supposed to do. There was a very strong sense that this was a gender thing. Men, and even lads, could be like that. But women didn’t, weren’t like that. I was really aware of that, and it was kind of embarrassing. (Devlin 2017) Bernadette McAliskey (née Devlin), who would become one of the most prominent figures of Northern Ireland’s 1968, offered an interesting interpretation as to why the question of gender did not feature for her at the time. Drawing on economic and personal issues she explained: So my first understanding of that was around economics, was around poverty, was around class in a very broad sort of way. And then understanding that that differential in class was also mediated through how I was perceived by the state because I was perceived to be within the nationalist community. So being Catholic, nationalist, and poor was nearly enough for me to handle without having to process intellectually, gender. That’s intellectually where I was. But it was also something quite interesting for me personally. Up until I went to university, my world was populated by women. My father died when I was young. I only had one brother and he was the youngest. There were five girls in my house and my mother. My granny was a widow [. . .] and her family were predominantly girls. And I went to an all-girls school taught by nuns and women teachers from, I was five years until I was 18. So, in a way, my world was protected from the interference of male supremacy. And so, I wasn’t aware, in many ways I wasn’t aware that girls didn’t speak out in the class because there were no boys in it. I didn’t notice that no other women, young women put their hands up when to be on the faceless committee. So again, that’s just one of those things that happened, or at least that’s my explanation of it. I had the good fortune not to know my place in so many ways in life that, depending how you look on it, it was good fortune or poor fortune. But my own place in life was that I had, apart from poverty, I missed, you know, I was absent from the classes that taught the people what their place in life was. And so, I missed out on a clear understanding of where women fitted in society until I was in the student movement. (McAliskey 2017) On the surface, then, it would appear that the gender question was not only absent in Northern Ireland, but also the specific context made any discussion of the issue nearly impossible. Such an interpretation could be used to add credibility to the notion that Northern Ireland logically does not fit the consensual, transnational narrative of this period. However, such a conclusion can only be drawn if
one accepts the stereotypical connection between the issue of gender and the 1968 events. As the next section argues, the idea that the rise of feminism is indebted to the 1968 movement merits a degree of problematisation.
1968 – interdit aux femmes? The tendency of the dominant narrative to posit 1968 as a pivotal moment that paved the way for a new era for women could lead to the assumption that women were very much a part of the 1968 revolt, which demonstrated what was possible and inspired them to make the progress that was subsequently achieved. The reality is more complex. The dominant images of the 1968 period document a stark absence of women (Evans 2009: 332). The stand-out leaders of the protest movement were men; women were not given roles of any great prominence. The ‘revolution’ generally stopped short of questioning the role divisions that prevailed in society at the time, and women took on remedial tasks (answering phones, making food, printing posters, and staffing crèches), leaving the men to take care of what were seen as the more important and substantive aspects of the revolt (Evans 2009: 338; Allwood and Wadia 2000: 157). In fact, as will be discussed in the next section, the perpetuation of the subordinate roles reserved for women during the 1968 events served as a ‘negative catalyst’ for action in ’68’s afterlife. It is here that we can start to identify a strong crossover between what happened in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Bernadette McAliskey explained how, despite her undoubted primary role, she was treated differently and marginalised at times because she was a woman: I think the gender issue was actually in terms of the representation of me. [. . .] But when I look back, [. . .] I can reflect on the impact of gender. The hostility of the media to me in terms of where the media was and where I was should have come significantly earlier than it did but didn’t because I was a young woman. So, they were still talking about my long hair and my white boots and what I was wearing in parliament. They were still prioritising this as information that people might want to know, rather than what I said [. . .] people I don’t think heard what I said and I think sometimes people within the Civil Rights Movement didn’t hear what I said. They heard the music but the lyrics didn’t count because they were coming out of my mouth. [. . .] And there had been a meeting with Farrell and . . . which was a gender thing that again, never thought of at the time. You think of it retrospectively. The meeting with the leaders of the march was a meeting with Farrell and Kevin Boyle but did not include me. Why would you take the woman when you could speak for yourself and did not include any other female member of the faceless committee? (McAliskey 2017) Devlin commented thus on the subordination of women to less important tasks: Oh, but it might have been variations on . . . but I did make banners. For example, I’m not sure that there was . . . it’s very interesting that there wasn’t
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a . . . It was very much a male thing, the PD. Although there were lots of women in it, I don’t think that they would have pushed themselves into positions where they were writing speeches for Bernadette, and I think that’s a crucial thing. (Devlin 2017) Just as was the case elsewhere, then, women were involved in Northern Ireland’s 1968 but more often than not their participation was limited to subordinate tasks. Even when figures such as McAliskey rose to prominence, it was, as explained by Devlin, always in the shadow of a certain male dominance: There were hundreds and hundreds of women in the PD, hundreds of them. I see quite a lot of them now. And we’re all rather baffled by the fact that there only seemed to be one iconic image of the PD female, and it was Bernadette. Because there were hundreds of women. And I find it very interesting that structurally, when you look at films by Bernadette, and I’ve looked at rather a number of them, she’s surrounded by men. And I think what’s interesting about that is that once she became quite prominent, she was more or less taken off to this place where it was men. I mean, even in crowds, there was men. The cameras don’t seem to show her with other women. And I think that’s an interesting thing that women, even when you’re like Bernadette, and even when there were hundreds of women around Bernadette, there’s a sense in which that’s quite an unusual thing to do. (Devlin 2017) McAliskey herself shared a revealing reflection on how, in the collective memory of this period, the widespread participation of women has been distilled into the single figure of herself. Instead of the magnitude of female participation and involvement, we get the focus on a solitary, unquestionably exceptional, young woman: There were a lot of young women involved in the People’s Democracy and one of the interesting things that happens around storytelling is that I have become several of them or more correctly, several of them have been morphed into my history. And other people will tell me about when I took on Vice Chancellor on student committees or something. It wasn’t me. I have no idea who it was, but it definitely wasn’t me. I never participated in the anti-war protests in Belfast, so the young woman who lay down in front of the Lord Mayor’s coach or whatever, wasn’t me. But yet if you look back through the narrative, that was me, I did all those, I did all those things. And people remember me being there. People say to me, ‘I remember you’. And I get tired of saying, ‘No, you can’t remember me because I wasn’t there’. But they remember a young woman. And I’ve just become that, in many ways, that totem young woman. And sometimes what interests me is, I would like to go back and find out. Because these were young women activists and they were active. And as they have been . . . as they have been sort of moved into
Chris Reynolds my history, so their own history has not just become invisible, it has now been entirely removed, they didn’t exist. (McAliskey 2017)
Northern Ireland was perhaps not so different after all. Similarities are also discernible when we extend the analysis to make sense of why it was that the post-’68 era saw such a surge in the gender question.
Post-’68 feminism – the ‘negative catalyst’ There can be no questioning that there was a post-1968 surge that saw the issue of women’s place gain great currency and led to an unquestionable shift. However, the simple deduction that the women’s movement emerged from, or was somehow part of, the 1968 movement encounters some difficulties in the light of the reality that very few women were leading participants. How and why the feminist movement emerged from a set of events that effectively perpetuated the gender hierarchy against which it would define itself certainly requires some explanation. Women certainly participated in events and, in many instances, threw themselves fully into and behind the revolts that were taking place (Evans 2009: 338–42). However, having been inspired by the possibilities that these events seemed to have opened, the perpetuation of their subordination to secondary roles was the source of much disappointment. One can imagine the sense of injustice felt amongst female activists when the revolt that appeared to offer the possibility of forcing through modern, liberal reforms in reality perpetuated their position as the ‘second sex’. That frustration, it has been convincingly argued, in fact provided the impulse for the feminist movement (Horn 2007: 218). As the preceding chapters have explored, there is a line of argument that suggests that second-wave feminism did not emerge thanks to the 1968 events, but in opposition to what women had experienced during them. Frustrated by the inability of the revolts to provide the grounds for the changes they were advocating, women were inspired to put in place a new approach – and in that sense the period was indeed an important turning point for their movement. Female Northern Irish activists such as Tweedale have identified how the feminist ‘awakening’ did not happen during the events themselves, but actually in their aftermath. I remember being at a party in 1971, ’72, and we had a lecturer called Behringer, and he was American, and his wife Kate basically asked us why we weren’t more concerned with women’s rights. And that was, to me, nearly a surprise and a shock. [. . .] It disappoints me that we never saw the inequalities that women suffered from at that time, that we weren’t really aware of them. I heard on the radio a very good story being told by one of the wives/ girlfriends of the civil rights [. . .] she said they were on this big march, right,
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and they came back [. . .] and he puts his legs up on the settee and he said, ‘Okay, what are you making us for our dinner tonight?’ And she went into the kitchen to make it. Then, she came back out and she said, ‘I have been marching for civil rights all day, for equality and why is there not equality for women?’ And that was, I think, summed up basically what we were doing, and you never thought of the women’s cause in it. And she did, I didn’t. [. . .] I really don’t remember anything about feminism until, let’s call it 1970, right, thereabouts. Not in that first year, I don’t recall anything. And when I did first hear about it, I became very keen on women’s right issues very, very quickly. When it actually penetrated the brain, I was very receptive to it, but it took a while for it to get through. Well, no, it took somebody to point it out to me and then . . . . (Tweedale 2017) Devlin’s view that the ‘the feminist politics don’t kick in until later’ (2017) was echoed by McAliskey, who outlined how her understanding of feminism came not during the events but in their aftermath and connected, in a way interestingly similar to Tweedale’s, to international developments: I didn’t notice until a certain period of time. And I think the number of reasons for that as I say, I came very pragmatically to a worldview of where [. . .] my understanding of, intellectually, of gender and feminism came to me through being in America and seeing and working with black women. I could understand, I understood gender inequality through the prism of black America which is also quite interesting. (McAliskey 2017) These women’s experiences reflect those of their counterparts elsewhere in the world in terms of their relegation to secondary roles during the events; and the post-’68 ‘awakening’ after the frustrations felt during the period of revolt very much places Northern Ireland within the parameters of the transnational narrative. The next section goes one step further by arguing that not only was the Northern Irish experience in keeping with what was experienced elsewhere, but there are some grounds to argue that, from a gender perspective, Northern Ireland was actually leading the way.
Women in Northern Ireland’s 1968 – trailblazing? Despite the evidence that women activists in Northern Ireland – as elsewhere – were generally relegated to what could be described as secondary roles, there are also grounds to suggest that, from a gender perspective, Northern Ireland was setting an example that consolidates the case for its inclusion in the transnational narrative of the period. For example, Padrigan Drinan, who in 1968 would go on to be an active member of the PD, outlined the extent of her activity in the run-up
to that year, providing a strong counter-argument to the notion that young women were absent from political engagement: And whilst at school I joined the Republican Labour Party and being the only woman in it. I was the secretary at the age of 14 for the whole party. In 1966, I was involved in going up to Stormont. There was a thing called the ‘Council of Labour’ which was six representatives of the Irish Labour Party/Northern Ireland Labour Party and the Republican Labour Party. All Parties met up in Stormont and in the Dáil and at the age of 15/16 I was involved in these. At these meetings, I met up with young people in the N.I. Labour Party and we formed the Young Socialists. There was Eamon McCann and Mike Farrell and people like that and we were the Young Socialists and we met in Belfast. We heard about the Civil Rights movement in the United States and there was a Young Socialist movement in the United States so we began to be in contact with them to see what their issues were. We got involved in anti-apartheid campaign and South Africa at the Ideal Home Exhibition and campaigns for hairdressers and nurses. (Drinan 2008) Jennings described how, once the PD started, women were actively engaged: Well, women were involved from the very beginning [. . .]. There was a sort of middle class, convent-educated girls who could speak, but weren’t as fiery [. . .]. There would have been about six or seven in that category who had a bit of debating experience from Queens from school, you know and would have spoken up. (Jennings 2017) Tweedale explained how young women were not only involved, but that their involvement went beyond the subordinate, remedial duties that were so often reserved for females: There were some girls, women, who were involved in the elite group at the top of the movement, right? [. . .] Yeah. I think the one I’m thinking of was kind of the secretary or something, right. I think that’s . . . She wasn’t the tea maker. I think she was the secretary. (Tweedale 2017) Also noteworthy is the active participation of female protagonists in some of the most shocking and violent episodes of Northern Ireland’s 1968. Edwina Stewart, a key figure in the Civil Rights movement and member of the Communist Party, outlined her experience of the pivotal 5 October 1968 demonstration in Derry that served as the trigger for Northern Ireland’s 1968: I was walking along. Well we walked along and then we were not allowed to walk were we wanted to go, so we went to the next street which was Duke
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Street and walked up Duke Street and it was then barricaded off quickly and we stopped and somebody leant Betty Sinclair a chair and she started the meeting and you couldn’t really hear her because there was no loudspeakers stuff or anything and when she stopped the meeting and said the will all go home now the Head Constable got up and said you’ve contravened whatever it was, I couldn’t even hear him. ‘Disperse, disperse’, and Jimmy said he was looking, I was gabbling to people because we were all excited having done this you know, I was talking to people on the footpath and I don’t know where he was, he was further in, and he said that he saw the police getting white in the face while this one was shouting ‘disperse, disperse’. So, he moved into the side too and he didn’t get hit either or arrested so it was shocking just seeing it. I mean I shouldn’t have been so naïve but I couldn’t understand why that peaceful march was going to be attacked so viciously, god I’m sure there is, people regret now that they didn’t, like the demands were very moderate. So anyway, when I saw the people leaving I got fuming. When I get raging, I feel as if I’m swelling up and I was running up and down looking for press photographers to come and see these people in the houses all bleeding. I went to one, and he said, ‘Wee girl away on home, I’m the chief police photographer’. (Stewart 2009) The two testimonies below, first from former PD activist Brìd Ruddy and then Jennings, outline their vivid memories of the shocking attack on the PD march from Belfast to Derry in January 1969. Not only were young women present, they were as caught up in the violence as anyone else: And then at Burntollet Bridge which again there was a bit of pre-warning of, Major Bunting and Paisley were there with hundreds of men with cudgels. We were warned all along the way by police as usual. ‘This is an illegal march. You need to turn back’, and we would stop and make speeches and move on totally disregarding that. We neared Burntollet Bridge. We’re stopped and told that this was definitely an illegal march. We were likely to meet trouble up ahead. They didn’t say what kind of trouble. So, we knew there would be trouble but we were like in a ravine and when we were in the ravine walking through and looked up, it was like seeing in the cowboy pictures the ranks that looked paramilitary right along both edges at the top with stones, cudgels, and they just rained down on us. So, people were falling like nine-pins, blood, all of that. People tried to get away, going through streams. They were cudgelled in the streams. The police managed to keep us all together, get us through, battered, bruised, and all the rest of it. (Ruddy 2016) Well, again, I was there. And . . . we were absolutely shocked and horrified . . . I mean, certainly I was. I couldn’t believe it when this man who looked like my father, you know, in a good tweed coat came up to the march
Chris Reynolds at Burntollet where we were having spent the night in Derry. And I thought he was just going to ask for information, but instead, he took my little furry hood down from the coat I was wearing which was a rabbit coat and he produced a chair leg with nails sticking out of it. And he hit me just there very, very hard. So, I fell down and my friend Katy O’Cain got me up on my feet, but he kept going. He pulled down the hood again and hit me again. [. . .] So, I think I was maybe the first one hit and blood all pouring down, it was horrible. And they brought me to the tender to try and get me in away from the melee and I do remember being . . . the thing that shocked me most was the policeman just said . . . took a look at me with the blood coming down and just said ‘fuck off’. And I mean, I didn’t . . . don’t use that language. I just will never forget that. (Jennings 2017)
As well as their involvement in some of the more difficult aspects of the revolt, it becomes clear that the women also had some influence on the conduct and direction of the movement, and that this influence had a bearing on how women were subsequently perceived. As Jennings explained: Well I suppose it was slightly a moderate approach from the women [. . .]. And new avenues were introduced [. . .] it increased respect for women, I think. That they could do more than just look pretty or not pretty. Or worry only about clothes and make-up. And, you know, there were more things that were important and you could prove that. And then there was respect there because of that. [. . .] I think it’s a more liberal way of thinking that brought women’s rights, yes. So that was in parallel to the rights of everyone, you know, included women of course. Who were very much the second sex if you like. (Jennings 2017) One final element that merits attention in this section is the role of Bernadette McAliskey as arguably the most prominent figure of Northern Ireland’s 1968. Internationally, as outlined above, there were few, if any, women who figured as key actors in the 1968 events. The contrary was the case in Northern Ireland’s 1968. McAliskey would become the face of the movement. Her involvement as a prominent figure started at the creation of the PD on 9 October 1968, and from that moment on she became one of the most important actors in that period of revolt. McAliskey herself described how she, to everyone’s surprise (including her own), was prepared to step up and help the first PD demonstration take place: I didn’t see it coming, I just was, and it was part of that, and that’s the only way I can explain it that it was part of that way that I had of thinking was right, so I started to do this, for God sake get out of my road and if we are going to do it, if you are going to do it would you do it, so why are we sitting here taking six hours talking about, like people used to do it all the time, you know the first thing they agreed was that we were going to march again
Transnational memories and gender
and there was no doubt about that, we were all going to march and we are all going to do this and we are all going to do that, but whose going to sign the dotted line for the police and we had a long discussion about that and [. . .] so I signed for it. That was my first mistake, if it was a mistake, that was my decisive action [. . .]. Everybody is looking who was that, and people didn’t know me. They would say who was that and it wasn’t Kieran McKeown and it wasn’t Fred Taggart and it wasn’t Michael Farrell and it wasn’t your other woman and threw eggs and the police it wasn’t them, it was the wee dippy person with the country voice, who is she, the one with the space in her teeth, people didn’t know who I was. But if she was stupid enough to sign on the march, she’ll do. (McAliskey 2017) Jennings also recalled this pivotal moment and described how this set McAliskey on course to become one of the most important figures in the subsequent period of revolt: Well, I do remember somebody had to sign for a march to take place. Somebody had to volunteer that they would take responsibility and nobody was rushing. And then Bernadette stood up and said I’m an orphan, nobody will worry, you know, I can sign this. And from that moment she was very prominent in all our debates and discussions and meetings. And it was . . . I think people were surprised that a young girl could speak so eloquently. [. . .] That was very new, yes. (Jennings 2017) McAliskey would go on to secure such a significant place that she eventually was sensationally elected at the very young age of 21 to the Westminster Parliament, where she continued to break conventions and conduct herself in her own inimitable style (Devlin 1969). Reflecting on her experiences, McAliskey plays down the significance of her role: There are similar experiences and I think if you look, and because I was young and female, I look at in different ways at who were other young women around at that time, women in the Palestinian Movement, women in the Quebec Movement, so the women were there. [. . .] It’s in that volatility that the unexpected can happen. But I don’t see, because people will always say that to me in terms of young people and, how would you advise young people about making a career in politics? And I say, I didn’t have . . . I didn’t have a career in politics. My political life happened because I wasn’t looking and the circumstances created it. (McAliskey 2017) Despite such modesty, it is hard to over-estimate the groundbreaking significance of her impact, and in particular how she was prepared to challenge the gender
barriers that elsewhere were so frustrating for female activists at this time. As Devlin explained, ‘if you looked across at the European scene [. . .] I can’t think of very many females who rose to the same prominence’ (Devlin 2017).
Conclusion This chapter has argued that, not least from a gender perspective, there is ample evidence to counter the suggestion that Northern Ireland has no place in the story of ’68. A broader set of factors could be cited to make a case for the inclusion of Northern Irish events in the transnational narrative of the period. In terms of the contexts, the actors, the forms of action, the objectives or the sources of inspiration, there is sufficient grounds to challenge the anomaly that is the absence of Northern Ireland from the story of what is increasingly perceived as a global wave of revolt (Reynolds 2015: 83–115). Northern Ireland had its own ‘1968’, even if the divergent post-1968 afterlife that was the onset of the Troubles has meant that the memory of those events has been buried. However, Northern Ireland has since 1998 been living in an era of (albeit fragile) peace, and much has changed. Since the Good Friday Agreement of 20 years ago, the peace process and the conclusion of the Troubles has opened up many new opportunities, and whilst there is still much work to done before the situation can be described as normal, there can be no questioning the fact that Northern Ireland has come a long way from the dark days of the 1968–98 period. A central and extremely challenging plank of the ongoing peace process is ensuring that the past is sensitively handled. The shifting context that is the post-Troubles era has opened a window of opportunity, permitting a challenge to some of the limitations on how the past is understood. Northern Ireland’s 1968 is a pertinent example of the possibilities on offer to reassess and even recalibrate memories of such seminal moments. This was strikingly evident in the first peacetime decennial commemoration of the 1968 events that took place in 2008 (Reynolds 2017: 642–3). A plethora of events organised to mark the 40th anniversary for the first time saw Northern Ireland’s 1968 experience the full glare of commemorative treatment (Reynolds 2015: 194–201). Early signs of a will to examine this period anew were in evidence and, in particular, a marked desire to break out of the insularism that supported the marginalisation of Northern Irish events in the transnational narrative (Reynolds 2018). That trend is likely to continue in the forthcoming 50th anniversary period, and the connections between Northern Ireland’s 1968 and what was happening elsewhere given greater prominence. A more nuanced understanding of the gender question, I have argued in this chapter, is one element in allowing Northern Irish events to take their rightful place in the global collective memory of this period.
Notes 1 In work on the 1968 events in France, the term les années 68 is used to capture this broader temporal frame (c.f. Dreyfus-Armand, 2008; Artières and Zancarini-Fournel 2008). More generally, the term ‘the long 68’ has become increasingly popular (c.f. Vinen 2018; Sherman et al. 2013)
Transnational memories and gender
2 Too many studies of the troubled history of Northern Ireland exist to be all cited. Some particularly useful starting points would include Hennessey (1997); McKittrick and McVea (2001); Patterson (2007); and Wichert (1991).
References Allwood, G. and Wadia, K. (2000) Women and Politics in France 1958–2000, London: Routledge. Artières, P. and Zancarini-Fournel, M. (2008) 68 Une Histoire Collective [1962–1981], Paris: La Découverte. Caute, D. (1988) Sixty-Eight: The Year of the Barricades: A Journey through 1968, London: Harper and Row. Cornils, I. and Waters, S. (eds.) (2010) Memories of 1968: International Perspectives, Bern: Peter Lang. Crane, C. and Muellner, N. (2008) (1968) Episodes of Culture in Contest, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. de Groot, G. (2008) The Sixties Unplugged, London: Pan Books. Devlin, B. (1969) The Price of My Soul, London: Pan Books. Dramé, P. and Lamarre, J. (eds.) (2009) 1968. Des sociétés en crise: une perspective globale/Societies in Crisis: A Global Perspective, Laval: Les Presses de l’Université de Laval. Dreyfus-Armand, G. (2008) Les Années 68. Un monde en mouvement. Nouveaux regards sur une histoire plurielle, Paris: Syllepse. Duchen, C. (1986) Feminism in France: From May ‘68 to Mitterrand, London: Routledge. Evans, S.M. (2009) ‘Sons, Daughters, and Patriarchy: Gender and the 1968 Generation’, The American Historical Review, 114(2): 331–47. Farik, N. (2008) 1968 Revisited: 40 Years of Protest Movements, Brussels: Heinrich Böll Stiftung. Fink, C., Gassert, P., and Junker, D. (eds.) (1998) 1968: The World Transformed, Washington: Cambridge University Press. Førland, E. (2008) ‘Special Issue on 1968’, Scandinavian Journal of History, 33(4). Fraser, R. (1988) 1968: A Student Generation in Revolt, New York: Pantheon. Freedman, E. (2003) No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women, London: Profile Books. Frei, N. (2008) 1968. Jugendrevolte und globaler Protest, Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag. Gassert, P. and Klimke, M. (eds.) (2009) 1968: Memories and Legacies of a Global Revolt, Washington: German Historical Institute. Gildea, R., Mark, J., and Warring, A. (2013) Europe’s 1968: Voices of Revolt, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Graeber, D. (2014) The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement, London: Penguin. Hennessey, T. (1997) A History of Northern Ireland: 1920–1996, Basingstoke: MacMillan. Horn, G.-R. (2007) The Spirit of ‘68: Rebellion in Western Europe and North America, 1956–76, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jameson, F. (1984) ‘Periodizing the 60s’, Social Text, 9(10): 178–209. Katsiaficas, G. (1987) The Imagination of the New Left: A Global Analysis of 1968, Boston: South End Press. Klimke, M. and Scharloth, J. (eds.) (2008) 1968 in Europe: A History of Protest and Activism, New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
McKittrick, D. and McVea, D. (2001) Making Sense of the Troubles, London: Penguin. Patterson, H. (2007) Ireland since 1939: The Persistence of Conflict, Dublin: Penguin. Prince, S. (2006) ‘The Global Revolt of 1968 and Northern Ireland’, The Historical Journal, 49(3): 851–75. Prince, S. (2007) Northern Ireland’s 68: Civil Rights, Global Revolt and the Origins of the Troubles, Dublin: Irish Academic Press. Prince, S. (2013) ‘Pushing Luck Too Far: ‘68, Northern Ireland and Non-Violence’, in D.J. Sherman, R. van Dijk, J. Alinder, and A. Aneesh (eds.), The Long 1968: Revisions and New Perspectives, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 139–68. Reynolds, C. (2011) Memories of May ’68: France’s Convenient Consensus, Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Reynolds, C. (2015) Sous les pavés . . . the Troubles: Northern Ireland, France and the European Collective Memory of 1968, Bern: Peter Lang. Reynolds, C. (2017) ‘Northern Ireland’s 1968 in a Post-Troubles Context’, Interventions, 19(5): 631–45. Reynolds, C. (2018) ‘Enduring Insularity and the Memory of Northern Ireland’s 1968’ in E. Crooke and T. Maguire (eds.), Heritage after Conflict: Northern Ireland, London: Routledge. Rioux, J.-P. (2008) ‘L’événement-mémoire. Quarante ans de commémorations’, Le Débat, 149: 4–19. Sherman, D.J., van Dijk, R., Alinder, J., and Aneesh, A. (2013) The Long 1968: Revisions and New Perspectives, Indiana: Indiana University Press. Thornton, C., Kelters, S., Feeney, B., and McKittrick, D. (2004) Lost Lives: The Stories of the Men, Women and Children Who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles, Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. Tismaneanu, V. (ed.) (2011) Promises of 1968: Crisis, Illusion and Utopia, Budapest: Central European Press. Vinen, R. (2018) The Long ‘68: Radical Protest and Its Enemies, London: Penguin. von der Goltz, A. (2011) ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation’: Conflicts of Generation Building and Europe’s 1968, Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag. Walters, M. (2005) Feminism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wichert, S. (1991) Northern Ireland since 1945, London: Longman. Zancarini-Fournel, M. (2016) Les luttes et les rêves. Une histoire populaire de la France. De 1685 à nos jours, Paris: Zones.
Interviews Devlin, Anne (2017) conducted by CR, Belfast. Drinan, Padrigan (2008) conducted by CR, Belfast, 31 October. Jennings, Judith (2017) conducted by CR, Belfast, 13 October. McAliskey, Bernadette (2017) conducted by CR, Belfast, 8 June. Ruddy, Brid (2016) conducted by CR, Belfast, 9 June. Stewart, Edwina (2009) conducted by CR, Belfast, 17 July. Tweedale, Carol (2017) conducted by CR, Belfast, 20 September.
Violence and/as counterviolence
On liberated women in an un-liberated society Ula Stöckl’s The Cat Has Nine Lives (1968) Christina Gerhardt
In 1968, Ula Stöckl’s Neun Leben hat die Katze/The Cat Has Nine Lives (1968), one of the first feminist films of the sixties and her thesis film, premiered. In Nine Lives four women consider how to achieve their personal and professional goals, realise their intellectual endeavours, and fulfil their sexual and emotional desires, given the patriarchal frameworks in which they live. Their approaches vary: some of the women challenge the sexist structures, opting out of traditional roles in relationships or in work, and argue for alternative models; some of the women do not challenge existing roles but focus instead on deploying extant models for fulfilment. This constellation of women and of approaches thus conveys an array of oppressions and of paths to freedom The film’s form complicates the narrative. It blurs lines throughout. It features techniscope, a new motion picture camera film frame technique developed in the early 1960s, designed for widescreen effects and used predominantly for westerns, in order to show an expanse of landscape through both the widescreen and long shots; yet half the film is shot in apartments, which conjures up the genre of melodramas. By vacillating between these two styles and the associated genres, the film creates stark contrasts. Essayistic, the film also oscillates between dream sequences and fantasy, on the one hand, and realistic sequences that draw on the stylistics of cinéma vérité, on the other hand. Associated with cinéma vérité documentary style are the film’s minimalist sound, which emphasises onscreen acoustics rather than a soundtrack, and film’s use of non-professional actors. This chapter considers Stöckl’s Nine Lives and the situation of women around 1968 with a focus on what I call ‘slow violence’. That is, I shift the analysis from event-based violence, such as an event related to a war, a terrorist attack, an incident of domestic assault, or a murder, to what, drawing on Rob Nixon’s writing (2011), I call ‘slow violence’, or events that unfold over a durée, as a result of systemic violence associated, for example, with racism, sexism, or poverty, and of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.1 Using this shifted framework, my essay focuses in particular on the nexus of patriarchal power structures, sexism, and poverty engaged by Stöckl’s Nine Lives In this article, I explore how these thematics together with the stylistics of Stöckl’s Nines Lives contributed to debates about women and violence around 1968.
Context: feminist filmmaking in West Germany in the long 1960s Like in other countries, for example, the US, West German feminist filmmaking associated with 1968 is typically dated to the 1970s (Rabinowitz 2018). To some extent, this dating makes sense, as many key events related to feminist filmmaking took place during the 1970s (Acker 1985; McCormick 1991a). In 1973, Claudia von Alemann and Helke Sander created a venue to support feminist filmmaking by co-organising the first international women’s film seminar. Subsequently, in 1974, Sander founded the first feminist film journal in Europe, Frauen und Film (Women and Film), which continues to the present day. Over the course of the 1970s, some of the best-known West German feminist feature films were released. This feminist cinema includes Sander’s first feature film, Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit/The All-Round Reduced Personality: REDUPERS (1977), and her second feature, Der subjektive Faktor/ The Subjective Factor (1980);2 Helma Sanders-Brahms’ Unter dem Pflaster liegt der Strand/Under the Pavement Lies the Beach (1975) and Deutschland, bleiche Mutter/Germany, Pale Mother (1979) (see Silberman 1980a, 1980b, 1982, 1983, 1984). Support for filmmaking in production and distribution, as both Knight and Möhrmann point out, was certainly in part responsible for the lag in the first feminist feature films (Möhrmann 1980: 9–46; Knight 2001). As Richard McCormick puts it ‘In the early 1970s, there were few women in a position to make feature-length films’; Stöckl’s Nine Lives was rejected by critics, ‘and it would be years before she would get another chance’ (McCormick 1991b: 85). Yet a decade earlier, during the 1960s and especially at its tail end, women had produced other, sometimes shorter films that ran parallel to work to agitate for women’s rights and to co-establish the second-wave feminist movement. Returning this feminist filmmaking to studies of 1968 expands the history of feminism and of cinema; it also underscores that feminist filmmaking formed part of 1968. Feminism and feminist filmmaking should not, therefore, be read solely as a phenomenon of the 1970s but rather as part of what, following Fredric Jameson, I call the long 1960s (Jameson 1984; see also Sherman et al. 2013).3 The reasons for excluding feminist filmmaking from narratives about 1968 are numerous. They include the following: (1) the film schools established in the 1960s in response to the 1962 Oberhausen Manifesto and at which many women, such as Stöckl, made their first films, are often not included in narratives about 1968;4 and (2) when the film schools are discussed, feminist filmmaking tends not to be the focus.5 This essay attempts to attend to both issues, returning the work of the film schools, in this instance, Ulm, to narratives about 1968 and focusing in particular on its feminist filmmaking, in this essay, that of Stöckl. Ulm’s film school was established in response to and by signatories of the Oberhausen Manifesto. The Oberhausen Manifesto demanded, not explicitly but de facto, (1) a radical revamping of the West German television and film industry; (2) an overhaul of its funding mechanisms; and (3) the establishment of film schools (‘Oberhausen Manifesto’ 1988).6 As Eric Rentschler, writing about the
Liberated women in an un-liberated society 71 Manifesto on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, pointed out: ‘despite substantial opposition, the initiative proved a valuable catalyst with significant and lasting results, including, but not limited to, the founding of film academies in Ulm, West Berlin and Munich’ (Rentschler 2012: 276; see also Rentschler 1984). In 1962, Oberhausen signatories Kluge and Schleiermacher together with Edgar Reitz co-founded West Germany’s first film school, the Ulm Institute for Film Design (Institut für Filmgestaltung Ulm) at Ulm’s School of Design (Maus and Schubert 2012). In 1966, as the social movements were approaching their peak, the German Film and Television Academy (Deutsche Film und Fernsehakademie Berlin, dffb) was established in West Berlin at the frontlines of the uprisings (Pantenburg 2007; see also Stenz 2008). In Munich, the University for Television and Film (Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München, hff) was established on 19 July 1966, and officially opened on 6 November 1967.7 Stöckl was one of the first students of the film school at Ulm (Schippert 2006). Madeleine Bernstorff (2017) argues that ‘perhaps it was easier for the film department at the School of Design Ulm, which taught film starting in the mid-1960s, than the dffb, to accept young women, because one consciously connected to the Bauhaus Tradition’.8 Bernstorff continues, underscoring also the revised timeline whereby feminist filmmaking starts in the 1960s, with the directors Ula Stöckl, Marion Zeeman, Claudia von Alemann, Recha Jungmann, Jeanine Meerapfel, to some extent even before the advent of the second-wave women’s movement, directors appeared whose self-conscious cinematic point of departure was often their own experience of the lived reality as a young woman. (Bernstorff 2017) Stöckl’s Nine Lives, to be sure, focuses on daily life as experienced and lived by women. Stöckl studied at the Ulm Institute from 1963 to 1968, working with Kluge and Reitz. Nine Lives was her thesis film. It combines an essayistic approach, for which Kluge was to become well known, with a feminist focus well before the rise in feminist filmmaking of the 1970s (Silberman 1984: 55; Stöckl 1984; see also Alter and Corrigan 2017). When the film premiered at the International Film Festival Mannheim on 12 October 1968, it was met with mixed responses. While some critics panned it, other critics recognised that the film grappled thematically with the challenges women faced and that it featured novel formal stylistics. Nonetheless, the film slipped into obscurity. Erika Richter noted that although the film had been scheduled for 600 screenings, due to the financial bankruptcy of the film distribution company these screenings were cancelled and the film disappeared without the recognition it merited, only later re-emerging as West Germany’s ‘first feminist film’ (Richter 1995). It was screened anew at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival in 1987. In 2015, a restored version screened at the Berlin International Film Festival and only recently has it been made available again through special order.
Ula Stöckl’s feminist filmmaking in the long 1960s The narrative features five women, one of whom is the figure Circe. In the summer of 1967, Anne (Kristine Deloup) visits her friend Katharina (Liane Hielscher), a journalist in Munich.9 The film documents the next few days, as they visit friends, go on excursions during the day and to parties in the evening. The women discuss the possibilities of fulfilment for women in an un-liberated and male-dominated society. Katharina is not married and a journalist. She is in a relationship with a married man, Stefan, but foregoes emotional ties and sentimentality. Anne is recently divorced and feeling liberated but also somewhat disoriented about her future direction, personally and professionally. Magdalena (Elke Kummer) insists on preserving her marriage, although her husband, Stefan, relentlessly pursues other women. Gabriele (Heidi Stroh) is a singer and talks candidly with Katharina in an interview about being a female sex symbol. Kirke/Circe (Antje Ellermann) is an invention or a dream. (Thus, descriptions of the film vary as to whether it features four or five women.) She can apparently do anything: turn men into pigs or seduce them. She is, Stöckl’s homepage tells the reader, ‘an ideal woman, not suppressed and does as she pleases’.10 And yet, she is a dream. Nine Lives presents the challenges individual women face to realise their hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations as they aim to find fulfilment sexually, emotionally, intellectually, politically, and otherwise. But the film not only engages the challenges patriarchy poses for individual women. It also considers the hurdles patriarchy creates for solidarity among women, or for relationships between women. Each woman only thinks about her own situation, in terms of the obstacles she must overcome (often blaming herself for the situation) and in terms of the goals she wishes to achieve or the dreams she wishes to realise. The women do not see the systemic or structural issues that prevent them from realising their goals and being fulfilled. They do not recognise that they could work together to overcome the obstacles and to be fulfilled, even if only in part.11 Stöckl’s first short film, Antigone (1964), which premiered at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, had already grappled with how the iconic figure from Sophocles’ Greek tragedy, who would reappear in the cinema of the 1970s, grapples with which register of authority or which moral compass to heed.12 Sannwald argues that, with Antigone [. . .] Stöckl nailed a tendency that would inform all of Stöckl’s later films. She used her own experience and background as a basis for her themes without simply drawing on autobiographical material and putting herself at the film’s focal point. (Sannwald 1995: 41) She ‘stages reality’, ‘pushing on the boundaries of documentary cinema’ (ibid.). Stöckl states that the film is only seven minutes long because she envisioned it as ‘something she could see as an evening [news] report’.13 She said that both classical Greek tragedy and the evening news informed this film.
Liberated women in an un-liberated society 73 In her 1965 short, Do You Have a High School Diploma? (Haben Sie Abitur?), which also premiered at Oberhausen, Stöckl had dealt with the challenges facing women around equal access, in this case, to education. Access was determined less, her film showed, by laws and more by the differing attitudes of men and women regarding for whom access to education should be prioritised and what the differing gendered priorities were with regard to who should do what work. In the film, a husband and wife couple with a young child discusses why they attend night school. They agree that the degree is important for the husband’s future success in career life. They disagree, however, about the role of education for women. The woman thinks it is important for her future success in a career. The man, by contrast, thinks it is only important for women who prioritise their career over relationships and having a family. Implicitly, he assumes a gendered division of labour in a presupposed heterosexual configuration and that women can either have a career or a family. Stöckl shifted the focus entirely on to women in her 1966 short, Saturday at 5 pm (Sonnabend 17 Uhr), grappling with what high school girls can and cannot do at the specified time. As Daniela Sannwald put it, through close ups, which open up onto long shots through slow long takes – or vice versa – Stöckl captures the notable carriage of girls and relays impressions of the self-image of an entire generation of women . . . The seating order on a couch around a coffee table conveys the still untouched authoritarian structures extant within West German families and throws a spotlight onto the genesis of women’s feelings of subordination. (Sannwald 1995: 41) Sannwald furthermore underscores that ‘the images often contradict the sound, as the camera seeks out fissures in the smooth surface’ (ibid.). Nine Lives builds on these previous works, thematically and stylistically. Thematically, the focus remains on women and on how to achieve happiness when considering a variety of paths and of life options, including education, work, relationship(s), and having a family, subjects she had engaged in Do You Have a High School Diploma? and Saturday at 5 pm. Stylistically, Nine Lives blends the stylistics of a fictional feature with those associated with a documentary, as she had done previously in Antigone and Saturday at 5 pm. Nine Lives Nine Lives opens with Katharina driving a car. The independence that vehicles offered women sets the tone for the figure Katharina. Its use both draws on and revises the genre of road movies, associated at that time with the freedom of the open road – a freedom reserved mostly for men. In 1960s road movies, such as Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Easy Rider (1969), characters find themselves on the road, both invoking contemporary novels such as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) and drawing on classical epics such as Homer’s Odyssey. In the mid-1970s, Wim Wenders contributed to the road movie genre, shifting its setting
from the US to West Germany through his road trilogy: Alice in the Cities (Alice in den Städten, 1974), The Wrong Move (Falsche Bewegung, 1975), and Kings of the Road (Im Lauf der Zeit, 1976). It would not, however, be until Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise in 1991 that a road movie would star not one but two female protagonists. Shortly thereafter, Christian Petzold, in his first made-for-television film, Drifters (Die Pilotinnen, 1995), also cast two women as on the road, this time as travelling saleswomen. In Petzold’s films, as Marco Abel has argued, vehicles stand in for the homelessness or un-rootedness of itinerant or modern-day precarious labour, evidenced from the outset in Petzold’s Drifters. Here, in contrast to the 1950s or 1960s Avon lady, peddling wares to her neighbours and community, or the freedom of the road movie offered during the era to men, the two travelling saleswomen make their living by journeying from town to town and shop to shop in order to sell cosmetics (Abel 2014: 78). The competition and logic of the free market economy abounds. Petzold’s fixation on cars and mobility postreunification exhibits the incessant need to be travelling, typically in pursuit of better employment (or any employment), characterising the modern era of precarious labour. Viewers are trapped in a constant mobility, narratologically, economically, emotionally, etc. – on ‘a road to nowhere’ as the Talking Heads (1985) once put it (see also Koepnick 2013). In the summer of 1967, however, a woman driving a car signalled her freedom. At the outset of the film, Katharina appears independent: rather than having set employment at one institution, she is a freelance journalist; and rather than being married or in a committed relationship, she is in a leisurely affair with a married man. But the framing of Katharina suggested by the opening sequence shifts suddenly. Anne, who is French, arrives on the train. Katharina greets her at the station with a yellow rose. That gesture of friendship is quickly contrasted with the tensionfilled attempts of the two women to converse at an outdoor café. After a medium close-up shot and a pregnant pause in their conversation, where Katharina looks off to the side and into the distance while Anne stares into and stirs her coffee, the film cuts, oddly or surprisingly, to an extreme long shot as Katharina asks Anne why she came to visit. Anne is rather reserved and says, ‘Just cause. Is that bad?’ The film cuts to a close-up of Katharina observing Anne, who smokes a cigarette, does not offer details and shifts the conversation back to Katharina, asking her to tell stories. ‘About what’, Katharina replies? Anne says, ‘I don’t know, how about your work?’, suggesting the focus in Katharina’s life from the outset. Katharina coolly replies, ‘My work. Successful. A little demanding. But that’s just how it goes, right?’14 Again, Katharina seems career-focused and composed, taking the demands of work in stride. Their conversation turns to the personal, as Anne asks Katharina about Stefan. Katharina looks away, as the voiceover says: ‘Somebody told his wife that he is having an affair’. The shot cuts. There is no sound. A close-up shot shows, as the viewer eventually learns, Stefan’s wife Magdalena, smiling. A reverse shot shows Stefan, smiling, as he walks towards her, kisses and embraces her. The silence
Liberated women in an un-liberated society 75 continues, as though the sound is cut, and a quick succession of shots ensues: of Magdalena pointing a gun at Stefan’s head; of Stefan and Magdalena sitting near one another, as he puts a cigarette in his mouth; and of Stefan, sitting outdoors, near a river, looking pensive. Then, the film cuts to a shot of Anne, also outdoors, followed by Anne’s interior monologue in French: ‘I really cannot tell Katharina right now that I am arriving after having divorced’. A long shot shows Stefan and Anne sitting on either side of a river. What was this sequence? A fantasy? The visual or cinematic equivalent of an interior monologue? If so, whose? Does it show how Katharina imagines Magdalena to have responded to the news that Stefan is having an affair or how she imagines they interacted? Does the sequence showing Stefan and Anne suggest a potential future affair between them? Or, if it is Anne’s fantasy, her wishes for one? Thus far, the viewer has not seen them meet. The film cuts back to the conversation between Katharina and Anne. Katharina replies to Anne’s question about Stefan that divorce and honesty are not even options. Everything would be even more difficult. She repeats this line a few scenes later, in response to Anne’s question if she would consider marrying Stefan, stating that divorce is not an option and marriage is not either (in that order). The meaning of this inversion eventually becomes clear as the viewer puts together the pieces: that Stefan is married (implying he would need to divorce to marry Anne). While the conversation is strained, the tone shifts as they arrive in Katharina’s apartment. Katharina carries Anne’s suitcase. She asks Anne to carry it herself, but Anne says no. It is unclear how to read this exchange. Is it because Katharina is more self-reliant and able? Is it because Katharina is subservient to Anne? They take a short nap together in the same bed, playfully fighting over the one blanket. (Katharina has just moved in and does not have more furniture or bedding yet.) A subsequent short sequence shows Anne sitting on Katharina’s lap as they spend time with Stefan in a garden. Throughout the film, the women publicly exhibit physical affection, walking arm-in-arm and sitting entangled together. But this perhaps flirtatious display of female friendship is often interrupted by men or by heterosexual male desire. The film cuts to a sequence that has the tenor, visual, and acoustic qualities of an experimental short. As non-diegetic music plays, Anne, wearing a white turtleneck, loads short tree branches with white blossoms onto a small wooden rowing boat. The music becomes dissonant. The film cuts to a close-up shot of the water gently rippling and then to a shot of her in the water, Ophelia-like, but with her face visibly above the water line and outside of the water. It then cuts back to the water, and then to a long shot of her barely visible near the boat. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia is associated with the colour white and with wildflowers. The combination has been read as symbolic of her de-flowering (Showalter 1985). From the opening shot and throughout Nine Lives, Anne is associated with wildflowers, an association that builds to the closing sequence. The opening song sung by Marie Philippe is ‘Fleurs de Vacances’ (The Flowers of Vacation). The line ‘Je serai la fleur de vos vacances’ (I will be the flower of your vacation) is repeated. The line is striking for the use of the formal vos (you). It then changes
to ‘Je serai le rêve de vos vacances’ (I will be the dream of your vacation). A long shot shows a storefront with the signage ‘Süsswaren Blumen’ (literally translated: sweet wares flowers) and then a medium shot shows Katharina purchasing a yellow rose to welcome Anne at the station. The shot associates flowers and sweet wares, the German term used to refer to confectionary but which in this film has other suggestive overtones, that is, it could be read as referring to the women. Later, at a party, Anne creates a bouquet of flowers out of paper. Anne poignantly wears white throughout the majority of the film. Only in one sequence is the colour pattern reversed, as will be discussed below. In a new sequence Anne floats down a hallway in a white dress. In a voiceover, she begins a sentence never finished: ‘The last time I died . . .’. The music continues. She glides into a room where two men stand. One man hands her a chalice. She drinks its liquid. Her eyes close. Then, they are open but vacantly stare. Has she died? Ophelia’s madness, Elaine Showalter has argued, stems from erotomania, or a desire for sex, which, at the time of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, was believed to lead to madness in women. To refer to this centuries-old myth about female desire for sex again in 1968 reveals different blockages preventing liberated women from living freely in an un-liberated society. And this, I argue, marks Stöckl’s particular contribution to feminism and to feminist filmmaking around 1968. That is, while the film is ostensibly about five women and their attempts to live fulfilling lives, it winds up showing how much women’s fulfilment or happiness is entangled with or contingent on men. In this admittedly entirely heterosexual framework, four of the five women are involved with Stefan: Magdalena, his wife; Katharina, his lover; Anne, who pursues him; and Circe, whom he pursues. At every turn, the women’s attempts to achieve satisfaction, personal or professional, hinges on men or on a patriarchal structure. The film cuts to a long shot of Anne, Katharina, and Stefan eating dinner. Stefan says, ‘We said there are people who live easily and people who live heavily or with heaviness’. Cut to a close-up of Stefan looking at Anne, stating, ‘And you said you are a person who lives heavily’. Cut to a close-up shot of Katharina and then to a close-up shot of Anne. ‘One could be more playful’, he continues. ‘One does not always need to take things in such absolutes’. It is easy for him to be playful, since everything revolves around him. He is like the hub of a wheel, the point from which numerous spokes radiate or to which they connect. And of course, not taking things in absolutes or having absolutes defines his relationships or emotions and facilitates his pursuit of numerous women. Power, Stöckl’s film suggests, makes play easy; conversely, not having power complicates play.15 ‘Do you love Katharina?’ asks Anne. ‘Yes’, he replies, ‘and I also love my wife’. ‘That does not work!’ Anne retorts. ‘Yes, it does’, he responds. ‘And you also love Gabriele, and you also love Circe, and perhaps even me’, Anne states. At which point, Katharina intervenes: ‘Please stop ruining the evening!’ Anne says, ‘Leave me in peace with Stefan, please’, and he interrupts saying, ‘Yes, just let her [Anne] continue, it’s interesting’. Continuing her conversation with Stefan, Anne says, ‘So with me, too, Stefan?’ ‘Yes, with you, too’, he replies. ‘But that’s much too simple!’ Anne replies in French.
Liberated women in an un-liberated society 77 The film cuts again to non-diegetic dissonant music and to shots of a lake. It is raining. Close-up shots show the falling rain creating ripples on the lake’s surface. Again, the sequence suggests an experimental interlude. But given the previous imagery suggestive of Ophelia and the fact that this sequence follows on the heels of the aforementioned exchange, these intercuts perhaps suggest tensions around free love and free sexuality. The very next sequence shows Stefan, Magdalena, and their two sons at the breakfast table. In another very brief sequence, Katharina interviews for a position as a personal secretary. She assertively requests a higher salary. The man interviewing her tells her that she seems quite capable and if she proves herself, after a test period, she will be granted the requested raise. As she tells Stefan after, she applied and interviewed merely to test if she could still land a job as easily as she used to be able to. This sequence suggests that while Katharina relishes the independence afforded her by her work as a freelance journalist, she still likes to test her ability to impress in an interview. Again, the power here is tied to a male. Anne arrives and again sits on Katharina’s lap, putting her arms around Katharina’s neck while Katharina embraces her, and draping her legs over Katharina’s. Stefan says, ‘I cannot concentrate when I see you two this way here’. Katharina and Anne untangle from their embrace and Anne climbs off Katharina’s lap and sits in the middle of the swinging bench they are on, asking, ‘Is that better?’ Stefan is not satisfied and responds, ‘Well, one could re-establish the world order, if I sat there’, pointing to a spot between the two women. He gets up and sits down between them again, as at dinner. Then, using the encompassing third-person plural, he states, ‘Well, we just have a patriarchal eroticism. Nothing can be done about it’.16 The two women burst out laughing. Stefan perplexed and holding his empty wine glass, suggests he needs to ‘bring in reinforcements’. It is unclear if he is suggesting another round of wine or more women or more men. One evening marks a turning point in the film and in the friendship between Katharina and Anne. Katharina and Anne go to a party that Sascha (Alexander Kaempfe) hosts at his place. Anne is weary of Sascha, her suitor, and asks Katharina to dance with him. In this sequence, the usual colour arrangement is reversed: Anne, rather than wearing the white associated with Ophelia, dons an orange-red dress, and Katharina wears a white dress. While Katharina and Sascha dance, Anne and Stefan talk and kiss. The night is long. It is insinuated that Katharina sleeps with Sascha, as she emerges at sunrise to find Anne seated on the curb near her car. The next morning, the two women sleep in and are hung over. Anne asks, ‘Why did you accept my declaration of war last night?’ and Katharina responds: ‘I was not even prepared for war’. Anne counters: ‘It was not war but it turned into war. Whenever I see your face, I immediately want to hurt you. One is not allowed to show one’s weak side’. Katharina retorts: ‘Actually, one should’, repeating it: ‘Actually, I think one should. To the person that one loves, it is the only chance to find out if one is loved. One should be able to deliver oneself’. Then, in another bizarre interlude, an aeroplane experiment is conducted. The aeroplane has a lance sticking out of its front end. Its phallic shape is hard to overlook. Stefan sits amidst the other men in the air traffic controllers’ tower and
watches. The experiment fails. A committee that includes women meets to discuss whether or not the project should be continued. Stefan states that he does not understand why, if so much has been invested in a project, one does not see it through. The personal. The professional. Why indeed, if one is invested in a project, does one not see it through? The question hangs in the air. It seems applicable not only to a state- or company-sponsored project, and investment seems applicable not only to the economic register. It could be applied to a personal context and both project and investment could be read vis-à-vis other registers: the sexual, the emotional. Katharina interviews the singer, Gabriele. She tells Anne beforehand that she is interested in Gabriele as a person. The film cuts to the interview. Gabriele asks: ‘What would like to know about me?’ Katharina responds: ‘For whom do you like to sing the most and what do you like to sing the most?’ Interestingly, Katharina’s question first focuses on the audience. Gabriele replies that ‘she has had a very good commercial success, and that it also depends on the audience’. Katharina then asks, ‘Is it connected to your profession that you are not married?’ to which Gabriele responds, I cannot be 100% attuned to or focused on another person. [. . .] It’s like this: my career is so important to me. Even if I try, really try, to do everything for that person, it costs one’s nerves and then, at some point, it explodes anyway. And then one has arguments and one is annoyed. And even if one makes an effort, it happens one day anyway. And . . . it costs me. Then, accelerating, Gabriele says, ‘And worries or hassles make one ugly. And ugliness makes one ineligible for work. And if one cannot work, one is unhappy because one does not have any money. And it never works’. Then, the two women share a hearty laugh, as photographs of Gabriele are visible on the wall behind each woman. The interaction pinpoints the (gendered) importance of being attractive for Gabriele’s career and how, for a woman, a heterosexual relationship challenges being happy and thus being attractive and thus being employable. In order to be successful, Gabriele, the sequence suggests, ironically has to be appealing to men and avoid being in a relationship with one. The antepenultimate sequence underscores the Ophelia motif. Anne and Stefan meet up at a pool. A sudden rainstorm leads most people to seek shelter under nearby awnings. Anne, in a white swimsuit, jumps into the pool instead. Then, in the penultimate sequence, she is shown in a red shirt and white pants in a field of yellow flowers and starts plucking them here and there, and eating their blossoms, one by one. The next shot shows Anne sitting on a park bench. Then, a close-up shot of her mouth shows her sucking provocatively on a lollipop. The film cuts to a close-up shot of chocolates in a box next to her, then back to a close-up shot of her mouth as she proceeds to eat them. The two sequences are reminiscent of Věra Chytilová’s Daisies (1966), which culminates with the two main characters, who are also women, engaged in a food orgy or fight as they have been unable otherwise to fulfil their desires.
Liberated women in an un-liberated society 79 In the closing sequence, Katharina gives Anne a necklace as a going-away gift, and tells her she thinks she is a real Electra. Electra, together with her brother Orestes, famously plotted to kill her mother Clytemnestra and her stepfather Aegisthus to avenge Clytemnestra’s murder of their father, Agamemnon. (Clytemnestra had killed Agamemnon when he returned from the Trojan Wars with Cassandra, with whom he had had two sons.) The Electra complex is named after the figure. The term was coined by Carl Jung in 1913 and is used to refer to the competition between a woman and her mother for the attentions of the father. (It is the parallel to the male Oedipal complex.) Katharina’s reference to it suggests a woman’s competition, in this case Anne’s, with another woman for the attentions of a man. In this way, the film not only pinpoints the limitations that a patriarchal society places on women, professionally or personally, but also the competition between women that prevents healthy relationships between and among women.
Conclusion Stöckl’s Nine Lives pinpoints the hurdles preventing women from achieving fulfilment or from being liberated when living in an un-liberated or patriarchal society. In the film, the male-dominated structures create obstacles for women personally and professionally. The figures of Ophelia and Electra from Shakespearean and Greek tragedy, respectively, further highlight the challenges women face when attempting to live free or fulfilling lives, sexually and emotionally. Doing so, as the figure of Ophelia, overlaid onto Anne in this film, shows, one runs the risk of being pathologised. And competition between women – as Katharina reads the war Anne declared upon her, by calling her an Electra figure – only heightens rather than resolves the tensions. The formal innovations Stöckl uses – including an essayistic structure and experimental sequences – convey fantasies, dreams, and alternative realities as well as the visual equivalences of interior monologues. Helke Sander’s fourminute short, Subjektitüde (1967), produced around the same time at the dffb, had also grappled with the male desire a woman is subjected to by two men at a bus stop, using an interior monologue. Stöckl’s inserted sequences that draw on avant-garde stylistics show the subjective experiences of the film’s five female characters. Despite the oft-repeated comments about the various ways that the 1960s liberated women, sexually, professionally, and otherwise, the film pinpoints the very real challenges and limitations that the continued patriarchal order poses for women to achieve fulfilment, personally and professionally.17 Already in the late 1960s, feminist filmmaking, including Stöckl’s Nine Lives and also the work of countless other female directors, such as Cristina Perincioli, Helke Sander, Helma Sanders-Brahms, and Gisela Tuchtenhagen, to name only a few, conveyed these shortcomings. Returning Stöckl’s Nine Lives to analyses of cinemas around 1968 at once expands the narratives about the era’s filmmaking to include feminist films and draws the history of feminism and feminist filmmaking back from the more oft-discussed 1970s to include the long 1960s.
Like in the United States, this history of feminism and of feminist filmmaking can be dated back to the mid-1960s. Paula Rabinowitz, in her influential article on feminism, film and 1968, draws the history of the nexus back to 1965. She argues that for ‘The long 1968 for the integration in the United States of feminism and film stretches between 1965 and 1972, from Gunvor Nelson’s and Dorothy Wiley’s Schmeerguntz to the founding of Women Make Movies’ (Rabinowitz 2018). In fact, she argues that ‘By 1975, the whole picture of feminist work in film had changed: Laura Mulvey’s influential article “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, signalled the shift’ (Rabinowitz 2018). In short, second-wave feminism, politically and cinematically, did not start in the late seventies but rather in the late 1960s.
Notes 1 Nixon describes slow violence as follows: ‘By “slow violence”, I mean violence that occurs gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all. Violence is customarily conceived as an event or action that is immediate in time, explosive and spectacular in space, and as erupting into instant sensational visibility. We need, I believe, to engage a different kind of violence, a violence that is neither spectacular nor instantaneous, but rather incremental and accretive, its calamitous repercussions playing out across a range of temporal scales. In so doing, we also need to engage the representational, narrative, and strategic challenges posed by the relative invisibility of slow violence’ (2011: 2). He uses the term to examine the relationship among colonialism, racism, and poverty in disproportionately creating situations of environmental degradation and toxicity among poor people of colour in the global South. I think this non-event-based notion can be useful for other contexts. 2 For more about Helke Sander’s Der subjektive Faktor, see also Puw Davies (2019). 3 I elaborate key aspects of the long 1960s, internationally and domestically in West Germany, in Gerhardt (2018). It should be noted at the outset that Ula Stöckl herself states, ‘I have never been active in the women’s movement and have been criticised frequently for that. Yet the women’s movement developed parallel to me [. . .] Moreover, leaders of the organized women’s movement in West Germany completely ignored my work. Indeed the fact that I had already achieved what they were struggling for was counted against me’ (Silberman 1984: 55). 4 For a recent special issue that seeks to correct this oversight and return these film schools to the narrative of 1968, c.f. Gerhardt (2017). 5 For recent essays that seek to counteract this tendency, see Bernstorff (forthcoming 2019) and Gerhardt (forthcoming 2019). 6 On the working conditions of filmmakers, see the various documents by New German Cinema directors in Rentschler (1988). On the history of these and other film schools in West Germany, see Slansky (2011). 7 That the establishment of these three schools did not resolve issues raised by the Oberhausen Manifesto is made explicit in the Mannheim Declaration (1967), which opens thusly: ‘[S]ix years have passed since the Oberhausen Declaration. The renewal of [West] German film has not yet taken place’ (‘Oberhausen Manifesto’ 1988). The Mannheim Declaration criticises the film funding law (FFG, Filmförderungsgesetz) implemented in 1967 and viewed as ‘a victory of the old guard’ as it was ‘based solely on economic not artistic criteria’ (Rentschler 1988: 4). 8 ‘Der Filmabteilung der Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, in der seit Mitte der 1960er Jahre Film unterrichtet wurde, fiel es anfangs leichter als der dffb junge Frauen
Liberated women in an un-liberated society 81
9 10 11
aufzunehmen, womöglich weil man bewusst(er) an die Bauhaus-Tradition anknüpfte’. Unless otherwise noted, translations throughout the author’s. On the women of Bauhaus, who have also been slighted, see for example, Müller (2015). The names and spellings for Kristine Deloup’s name vary. Ula Stöckl’s official website provides her name as Marie Philippine/Kristine Deloup (‘9 Leben hat die Katze’). Synopsis based on Ula Stöckl’s website. www.ula-stoeckl.com/Film-Seiten/04_9_Leben.html (accessed 28 November 2017). As Stöckl put it in an interview with Marc Silberman, in her subsequent films, this issue of solidarity and awareness of the systemic issues underlying women’s oppression changed. ‘In my films now, the characters perceive each more clearly and recognize their shared misery as something they don’t have to be ashamed of – as in Erikas Leidenschaften’ (Silberman 1984: 55). In the segment of Germany in Autumn (1978), directed by Volker Schlöndorff and written by Heinrich Böll, the executive board of a television channel weighs whether or not to air a performance of Antigone, during the height of events related to the West German Red Army Faction in the ‘German Autumn’ of 1977. On Antigone in films of the 1970s, see also Elsaesser (1999). As Stöckl put it in an interview with Marc Silberman, in her subsequent films, this issue of solidarity and awareness of the systemic issues underlying women’s oppression changed. ‘In my films now, the characters perceive each more clearly and recognize their shared misery as something they don’t have to be ashamed of - as in Erikas Leidenschaften’ (Silberman 1984: 55). www.ula-stoeckl.com/Film-Seiten/01_Antigone. html (accessed 28 December 2017). ‘Oh. Die Arbeit. Erfolgreich. Aber ein bisschen anstrengend. Aber das gehört ja dazu, oder?’ I disagree somewhat with this line of argument suggested by the film and think that power precisely provides the basis for playful challenges to it, for subterfuge, for clowning, as the role of the jester or joker suggests. And yet, I agree with Stöckl’s overall assessment put forward by the film, that the possibility for (heterosexual) women to lead a fulfilling life within a patriarchal society is a challenge, to put it mildly. ‘Tja wir haben einfach eine patriarchale Erotik. Da ist nichts zu machen’. For different strategies of resistance to these sexist and racist societal structures, see Smith (2019) and Scribner (2019).
Bibliography Abel, M. (2014) The Counter-Cinema of the Berlin School, Rochester, NY: Camden House. Acker, R. (1985) ‘The Major Directions of German Feminist Cinema’, Literature/Film Quarterly, 13(4): 245–9. Alter, N. and Corrigan, T. (eds.) (2017) Essays on the Essay Film, New York: Columbia University Press. Bernstorff, M. (2017) ‘Feminismen an der dffb 1966–1985’. Online. Available at: https:// dffb-archiv.de/editorial/feminismen-dffb-1966-85 (accessed 7 November 2017). Bernstorff, M. (forthcoming 2019) ‘Film Feminisms in West German Cinema: A Public Space for Feminist Politics’, in C. Gerhardt and M. Abel (eds.), Celluloid Revolt: German Screen Cultures and the Long Sixties, Rochester, NY: Camden House. Elsaesser, T. (1999) ‘Antigone Agonistes: Urban Guerilla or Guerilla Urbanism? The RAF, Germany in Autumn and Deathgame’, in J. Copjec and M. Sorkin (eds.), Giving Ground: The Politics of Propinquity, New York: Verso, 267–302. Gerhardt, C. (ed.) (2017) ‘1968 and West German Cinema’, Special issue of The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture, 10(1).
Gerhardt, C. (2018) ‘Looking Back: The Historical and Political Context, 1945–1970’, in Screening the Red Army Faction: Cultural and Historical Memory, New York: Bloomsbury, 15–64. Gerhardt, C. (forthcoming 2019) ‘Helke Sander’s dffb Films and West Germany’s Feminist Movement’, in C. Gerhardt and M. Abel (eds.), Celluloid Revolt: German Screen Cultures and the Long Sixties, Rochester, NY: Camden House. Jameson, F. (1984) ‘Periodizing the 60s’, Social Text, 9(10): 178–209. Knight, J. (2001) Women and the New German Cinema, New York: Verso. Koepnick, L. (2013) ‘Cars . . . ‘, in R.F. Cook, L. Koepnick, K. Kopp, and B. Prager (eds.), Berlin School Glossary: An ABC of the New Wave in German Cinema, New York: Intellect, 75–82. Maus, M. and Schubert, P. (2012) Rückblicke. Die Abteilung Film – Institut für Filmgestaltung an der hfg ulm 1960–1968, Detmold: Verlag Rohn Dorothea. McCormick, R.W. (1991a) ‘The Politics of Memory’, in Politics of the Self: Feminism and the Postmodern in West German Literature and Film, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 175–228. McCormick, R.W. (1991b) ‘Productive Tensions: Teaching Films by German Women and Feminist Film Theory’, Women in German, 6: 86–97. Möhrmann, R. (1980) Die Frau mit der Kamera: Filmemacherinnen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Situationen, Perspektiven. Zehn exemplarische Lebensläufe, Munich: Hanser. Müller, I. (2015) Bauhaus Women: Art, Handcraft, Design, Paris: Flammarion. Nixon, R. (2011) Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Manifesto and its signatories (1988)‘Oberhausen Manifesto’, in E. Rentschler (ed.), West German Filmmakers on Film, New York: Holmes and Meier, 2. Pantenburg, V. (2007) ‘Die Rote Fahne: Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin, 1966–1968’, in M. Klimke and J. Scharloth (eds.), Handbuch zur Kultur- und Mediengeschichte der Studentenbewegung, Stuttgart: Metzler, 199–206. Puw Davies, M. (2019) ‘Women, Words, and Images, 1968: Textual/Sexual Politics in Helke Sanders’ the Subjective Factor’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 76–94. Rabinowitz, P. (2018) ‘Medium Uncool: Women Shoot Back: Feminism, Film and 1968’ (1984), in C. Gerhardt and S. Saljoughi (eds.), 1968 and Global Cinema, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 241–71. Rentschler, E. (1984) West German Film in the Course of Time: Reflections on the Twenty Years since Oberhausen, Bedford Hills: Redgrave. Rentschler, E. (1988) ‘The Price of Survival: Institutional Challenges’, in West German Filmmakers on Film, New York: Holmes and Meier, 9–38. Rentschler, E. (2012) ‘Declaration of Independents’, Artforum: 273–9. Richter, E. (1995) ‘Zum Film’. Online. Available at: www.ula-stoeckl.com/Film-Seiten/04_9_ Leben.html (accessed 7 November 2017). Sannwald, D. (1995) ‘Aufklärung statt Unterhaltung’, in G. Hörmann (ed.), Anschauung und Begriff: Die Arbeiten des Instituts für Filmgestaltung Ulm, 1962–1995, Frankfurt am Main: Roter Stern, 41. Schippert, C. (2006) ‘Survival and Rebellion: Recovering Ula Stöckl’s Feminist Film Strategies’, Visual Culture and Gender, 1: 30–45. Scribner, C. (2019) ‘The Militancy of Nina Simone’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 63–75.
Liberated women in an un-liberated society 83 Sherman, J.D., van Dijk, R., Alinder, J., and Aneesh, A. (eds.) (2013) The Long 1968: Revisions and New Perspectives, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Showalter, E. (1985) ‘Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism’, in P. Parker and G. Hartman (eds.), Shakespeare and the Question of Theory, New York: Methuen, 77–94. Silberman, M. (1980a) ‘Women Filmmakers in West Germany: A Catalog’, Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture and Media, 2: 123–52. Silberman, M. (1980b) ‘Cine-Feminists in West Berlin’, Quarterly Review of Film Studies, 5(2): 217–32. Silberman, M. (1982) ‘Film and Feminism in Germany Today, Part 1’, Jump Cut, 27: 41–2. Silberman, M. (1983) ‘Women Filmmakers in West Germany: A Catalog, Part 2’, Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture and Media, 4: 132–45. Silberman, M. (1984) ‘Do Away with Taboos: Interview with Ula Stöckl’, Jump Cut, 29: 55. Slansky, P.C. (2011) Filmhochschulen in Deutschland. Geschichte – Typologie – Architektur, Munich: Edition text + kritik. Smith, C. (2019) ‘Aesthetic Motions of Resistance in Feminist Creative Work’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 95–110. Stenz, K.H. (2008) Kampfplatz Kamera. Die filmkulturelle Bedeutung der filmstudierenden ‘68er Generation: Am Beispiel der Protestaktivitäten an der neu gegründeten Deutschen Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (dffb), Munich: GRIN Verlag. Stöckl, U. (1968) Neun Leben hat die Katze/Nine Lives. Stöckl, U. (1984) ‘Ula Stöckl: How Women See Themselves’, in K. Phillips (ed.), New German Filmmakers: From Oberhausen through the 1970s, New York: Ungar, 320–34. Talking Heads (1985) ‘On a Road to Nowhere’, Little Creatures.
Feminism and violence against women in Yugoslavia during state socialism Zsófia Lóránd
In the aftermath of 1968, a new generation of feminists became active in Yugoslavia. In the early 1970s, a network of women’s groups – called Žena i društvo, Woman and Society – formed in Belgrade, Zagreb, and Ljubljana. The issue of violence against women was both a driving force and a major theme of feminism and women’s rights groups all over the world in the 1970s and beyond (see e.g. Bielby and Gerhardt in this volume; also Bourg 2019; Jones 2019; Karcher 2019; Melzer 2019). It was also a dominating topic for the new Yugoslav feminists. In this chapter, I give an overview of how the new Yugoslav feminists, as they often referred to themselves at the time (in reference to earlier feminist traditions in the country), started their activities, and show how these relate to the effects of 1968 in Yugoslavia. I then analyse the role of violence against women in feminist activism in Yugoslavia, focusing particularly on the significance of knowledge transfer from academia to activism, and from activism to academia. Chronologically and intellectually, the new Yugoslav feminists’ trajectory can be described as a transition from theory to activism.
Origins and institutions of new Yugoslav feminism It was mostly young women who started to think about the possibilities of a new feminist discourse in Yugoslavia, alongside a few women who were a generation older and some men. Their first discussions took place in small groups at the universities and the student centres in the big cities of Belgrade, Zagreb, and Ljubljana. The first feminist analyses and critiques of a self-managing socialist Yugoslavia were published in the early 1970s. Although the socialist regime had taken important steps towards women’s equality, Yugoslav feminists argued that these were insufficient. They were inspired by the feminist ideas emerging in North America and Western Europe in the 1960s and 1970s (often described as ‘second-wave’ feminism). The wave metaphor is probably inadequate with regard to the long and complex history of feminism all over the world (a wide array of women’s rights were implemented in socialist Eastern Europe in the 1940s and 1950s, for example; see Donert 2013; de Haan 2018). Nonetheless, feminist reactions in Western Europe and North America to the retraditionalisation of gender roles after World War II, and then to the patriarchalism of 1968, inspired
Feminism and violence in Yugoslavia 85 and mobilised feminist intellectual production and organising worldwide. Western ‘second-wave’ feminism had its effect on the members of what would later become the Woman and Society (Žena i društvo) groups. Importantly enough, these groups appeared in the aftermath of the student protests in Belgrade and the movement behind the Croatian Spring in 1971.1 The suppression of both led to compromises between the Tito regime and its domestic critics, creating a semiofficial semi-public space embodied in a variety of institutions, as I explain below. Early texts written by future members of the Woman and Society groups began to appear in journals as early as 1972. The institutional framework was provided by youth organisations and by the universities in Zagreb and Ljubljana: the Woman and Society groups were part of the sociology departments of those universities. In Belgrade, the most important stronghold of new feminism was the Students’ Cultural Centre (Studentski Kulturni Centar or SKC). The Students’ Cultural and Art Centre (Študentski kulturno-umetniški center or ŠKUC) in Ljubljana played an equally important role. The group members were in touch with each other across the cities. Some of them studied in several locations and therefore had personal contacts, but they also read each other’s writings in the journals and followed the events in the student centres. For this reason, I refer to the new Yugoslav feminist group in the singular, even though there were three centres and each of them had a group of intellectuals with individual agendas and ideas. The institutional framework that allowed for the existence of a group critical of the regime, and inspired by Western texts, was an outcome of the protests stimulated by 1968 in Yugoslavia. The Serbian student protests of 1968 (which were mainly socialist and criticised inequality in Yugoslavia) ended with an agreement between Tito and the students. Students from the Faculty of Arts at the University of Belgrade demanded an independent cultural centre, or more specifically, that the building of the secret police be turned into what we know today as the SKC (Westcott 2010: 38). The first Student Centre, which became the model for the other centres of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, had already been founded in Zagreb in 1961 (Becker 2006: 392). According to the curator and art historian Branislav Dimitrijević, the Student Centre in Zagreb had been a progressive space before 1968, but as a place of both control and autonomy (Dimitrijević 2006: 288). The main means of control was funding, while the political context also created a dynamic of self-censorship. The other formative event of the era, the Croatian Spring (a term which ‘denotes the process of democratisation, liberalisation and national enthusiasm that overcame Croatian communist party politics and was consequently widely felt in public life at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s’) was harshly suppressed in 1971 (Zubak 2005: 191). After imprisoning and dismissing a number of liberal and nationalist politicians and intellectuals associated with the Croatian Spring, the regime granted more freedom of expression and organisation to its citizens, mostly in order to maintain its legitimacy.2 The institutions and the relative freedom of institutions created the conditions for the formation of the prolific new Yugoslav feminist movement.
Violence against women in early feminist writings in Yugoslavia The new Yugoslav feminists were active in the social sciences and the humanities, arts, and literature, and in the popular mass media. They turned to grassroots activism in the 1980s. How this activism connects to their early history is well revealed by their interest in violence against women, which was already present in the early academic writings and became a driving force behind their activism. As early as 1977, the historian Lydia Sklevickỳ, who would later become one of the main intellectual inspirations for feminists in the country, had published an analysis of violence against women in the public and private sphere (Sklevický 1977). The philosopher Blaženka Despot, who focused on a re-reading of Marx through feminist philosophy as well as on the concept of time and women, wrote in 1981: Besides the question of their participation in the new, historical change of attitude to nature, a participation shared with the entire working class of Yugoslavia, [women] also have a specific problem – a restricted participation in the historical events in the sphere of self-management [. . .]. Self-managers beat their wives, too, a proof of the old relationship to nature. (Despot 1981: 37)3 This quote predicts what the activists who addressed violence against women later in the 1980s (and were already inspired by radical feminism) emphasise: as long as women are subjected to systemic and regular gender-based violence, men and women cannot become equal. The visual artist Sanja Iveković worked on a multi-layered problematisation of violence against women in her work. She confronts the viewer with the relations between the political and the violent, the two prevailing motives in Personal Cuts (Osobni rezovi, 1982). We are confronted with these themes in Personal Cuts in an unusual format: images from the the state TV show The History of Yugoslavia from the past 20 years flash up between two ‘personal cuts’: the artist inserting a cut into the stocking covering her head. She has a black stocking pulled over her head, evoking a terrorist or a bank robber. Silvia Eiblmayer (2001: 13) has pointed to the interplay between levels of violence and the problems the piece makes us aware of: The terrorist act that Iveković associates with this takes place in the field of vision in which real violence – the cut in the mask – merges with structural violence – represented by the relationship of the individual and the medium of television, which is political power in the broader sense. In other pieces, Iveković focused on the relations between violence, politics, mass media, and consumerism (the latter part of the idea of Yugoslav exceptionalism, with Yugoslavia’s flourishing consumer culture). Her early photo montage projects, Double Life 1959–1975 (Dvostruki život 1959–1975, 1975), Tragedy of a Venus (Tragedija jedne Venere, 1975), Bitter Life and Sweet Life (Gorki život,
Feminism and violence in Yugoslavia 87 Slatki život, 1975–76), and The Black File (Crni fascikl, 1976) work with pairs of images: one from the media, usually the tabloid press, juxtaposed with photos from the artist’s personal collections, or in the case of The Black File, the nudes from sex advertisements are contrasted with small portraits of missing girls from the dailies. Tragedy of a Venus follows a similar pattern, but here 25 photographs from a special issue of the magazine Duga on Marilyn Monroe are juxtaposed with images from the artist’s personal collection. The piece reconstructs the chronology of the magazine, showing the artist and Marilyn Monroe in parallel pictures from their childhoods to young adulthood. Bitter Life and Sweet Life are both series of pairs of photographs. One side of Bitter Life encompasses images from the ‘bad news’ (deaths, murders) sections in newspapers, one side of Sweet Life from the scandal columns; in both works the images on the other side depict the artist. Iveković thus exposes how the female body is used for urging and propagating consumerism, and challenges the underlying dichotomy between the public and the private spheres. Iveković’s complex notion of violence against women reflects feminist debates in this period, and has influenced feminist activists and academics in Yugoslavia.
The first SOS helplines and shelters in East Central Europe, and the importance for the feminist movement of activism addressing violence against women Women’s rights and feminist groups and movements started to focus emphatically on violence against women in the 1970s. The importance of the SOS helplines and women’s shelters is analysed in detail in R. Emerson Dobash’s and Russell P. Dobash’s Women, Violence, and Social Change, a book that the sociologist Gordana Cerjan-Letica quotes in her article on the topic in 1988. In her review article, Cerjan-Letica explains the basics about the feminist struggle against violence against women, paying special attention to the feminist response to the problem, including SOS telephones, consultation centres, a network of safe houses and shelters, and public education (Cerjan-Letica 1988: 32). Like feminists in other countries, Yugoslav feminists regarded violence against women not as a personal but as a political problem. The theoretical and academic work of Cerjan-Letica was a crucial contribution to the work on violence against women, which was further accelerated by the work of the psychologist Lepa Mlađenović in Belgrade. Mlađenović’s travel experiences, the contacts she made, and her thinking gave the necessary push to the ‘activist turn’ of Yugoslav feminism. The first SOS telephone hotline for women and children victims of violence was founded in Zagreb in 1988 (SOS telefon za žene i djecu žrtve nasilja). The Zagreb helpline started with 50 volunteers – an impressive number.4 The helpline was active 24 hours a day, with its 50 volunteers working in four-hour shifts (Perani and Hamulić 1988). During the first month, they had calls from 500 women and 32 children (Mimica 2011). In an apartment in Trešnjevka, they set up a shelter with three beds, where one woman could stay for up to 20 nights.
The women in Belgrade, who had been discussing a SOS helpline for longer than the group in Zagreb, have colourful memories of the foundation of the Zagreb telephone. As Vera Litričin, one of the most important members of the Belgrade group, recalled in an interview with me in 2011: The idea came from abroad [. . .]. Nada Četković translated texts from French, and Katarina Jeremić did a master’s degree in the US, where she also attended a course on SOS hotlines. Dafinka Večerina, a lawyer, was also helping. Lepa [Mlađenović] went to this three-month course on women’s health in Geneva. We were discussing this theme in the all-Yugoslav gatherings in more and more depth. We have always been interested in the topic, but our discussions were becoming more specialised over time. I was very much surprised when the Zagreb women succeeded, they were so young, and it was we advising them. It was a big step and a good model, the way they just started it without any hesitation. (Litričin 2011) The preparations for a helpline in Belgrade had begun in 1985, but its establishment took some time. The Ljubljana SOS helpline started in 1989; in Belgrade, a helpline was finally set up in 1990 when a woman in the House of Youth (Dom Omladine, a cultural centre for youth programmes) of the city of Belgrade offered her office from six until ten o’clock every evening for the purposes of the line. Unlike its sister project in Zagreb, the SOS helpline in Belgrade had no official status. Together, the helplines in the three capitals had a reach throughout the respective member states.
New language in the feminist scholarship on violence against women In Yugoslavia, the academic discourse around violence against women developed first and fastest within criminology, drawing heavily on victimology, with a more and more visible feminist influence on parts of the discourse. Victimology revealed itself to be a controversial field, not only because of its longstanding opposition to feminist approaches to violence against women, but also because of its instrumentalisation in nationalist discourse in the Yugoslav republics. The discourse of the victim has therefore been read as a prelude to the nationalist discourse of the 1990s (see e.g. Helms 2013; Kesić 2002; Miškovska-Kajevska 2017; Žarkov 2007). Victimology had begun promoting the idea of collective victimhood in the late 1980s, and during the wars of the 1990s it was a nationalist discursive strategy for countries to claim victim status as a means of legitimising the killing of others. Feminist activists were critical of victimology’s focus on the victim as the explanatory element behind the crime. Their aim was to help women victims of violence, and to achieve justice. Starting from the insight that punishing the perpetrator is not enough, they emphasised the need for the psychological, physical, and financial recovery of victims. Victimology, on the other hand, investigates the
Feminism and violence in Yugoslavia 89 reasons and sources of victimisation: how someone becomes a victim. Looking at the victims’ role in their victimisation, this approach easily turns into victim blaming.5 Feminist criminologists insisted that the person responsible for a crime is not the victim, but the person who committed it. The knowledge coming from feminist criminology was introduced into the Yugoslav discourse through the work of Vesna Nikolić-Ristanović. Her work was complemented by the work of the activists who set up the SOS helpline, the shelters and the entire anti-violence against women movement. Nikolić-Ristanović later became one of the greatest authorities in the field of gender-based violence from the former Yugoslavia. As she was one of the first Yugoslavian experts on victimology (a discipline which was a novelty all over the world in the 1960s), her work in the 1980s reflects the development of the field in the country.6 NikolićRistanović contributed significantly to the reinterpretation of the meaning of rape and other forms of violence against women. The new conceptualisation was the basis of further action, and in the Yugoslav case, also the terrain of an explicit criticism of the state. Feminists rejected the regime’s class-based approach to gender inequality, and reinterpreted economic inequality and subjugation as stemming from a specifically gendered oppression. Nikolić-Ristanović’s book Women as Crime Victims (Žene kao žrtve kriminaliteta, 1989) offers a systematic typology of different forms of women’s victimisation. One of the most important cases is rape. Here Nikolić-Ristanović examines existing regulations and new normative literature on how rape needs to be assessed. Her innovative input into the discourse on rape was her introduction from other countries, especially the US, of good practices that had started to appear as a result of the feminist movements’ demands and actions. NikolićRistanović highlights, for example, that in Florida rape was no longer understood as an assault on one’s ‘moral’ integrity but as a form of physical assault (traditionally, legislation has treated sexual offences as a matter of morality; signs of this can be seen in the legal language about rape to this day). She also emphasises two other crucial aspects of the law in Florida, which had helped to improve the treatment of victims: the clauses on a victim’s ‘masochistic tendencies’ and on the ‘[physical] resistance of the victim as an essential criterion for rape’ had been removed from the Florida lawbooks (Nikolić-Ristanović 1989: 37). This meant that the law allowed less space for victim blaming. Nikolić-Ristanović’s position on rape corresponds to that expressed by a range of feminist authors and artists in Yugoslavia in the period. Rape is the focus of several levels of feminist discussion. Approaches from other fields than criminology involve different sources and offer new definitions. While Nikolić-Ristanović focused on the legal aspects and her explanations stem from a criminological approach, an article in the journal Gledišta edited by Daša Duhaček in 1990, written by Nevenka Gruzinov-Milovanović, explores the topic from a cultural and sociological perspective. She places rape in the context of patriarchy and interprets it in the context of gender-based violence against women, perpetrated by men. She relies on new feminist literature from the US, such as Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will (1975), but also Andra Medea’s
and Kathleen Thompson’s Against Rape (1974), Jennifer Temkin’s Rape and the Legal Process (1987), and articles from various journals, including from the field of criminology and psychology. From Against Rape, she quotes: ‘Rape is not an isolated act. It is not aberration, deviation of sexual behaviour. Rape is, very simply, a final act on the continuum of male-aggressive female-passive’ (GruzinovMilovanović 1990: 171).7 The article refuses the biological or natural motivation of rape and pertains that it is a social product, ending with the strong claim that ‘rape, above all, is a form of brutal psychological and physical violence [. . .] a form of physical violence where sex is just a weapon’ (Gruzinov-Milovanović 1990: 183). It also refers to Nikolić-Ristanović, and the two approaches complement and support each other. Nikolić-Ristanović discusses prostitution and human trafficking in the same section as rape. Although the analysis is not detailed, the structure of the book suggests that the author treats these two phenomena as related to sexual violence. The other big field of violence against women she identifies is the ‘criminal act which enters the domain of family violence’ (krivični deo koji ulaze u domen porodičnog nasilja): that is, domestic violence (Nikolić-Ristanović 1989: 48). While her main focus is on physical violence, the author also delineates (and thereby introduces the concepts of) other forms of victimisation of women. For example, the failure to pay alimony is also a form of victimisation, as someone is breaking the law and a victim is suffering the consequences. Nikolić-Ristanović always also interprets violence against women from an economic and class perspective. Her conclusion is that the frequency of this type of victimisation of women is indicative of the fact that women are still often economically dependent (ibid.: 46). This confirms ‘the need for a sex [pol] specific legislation’,8 as most laws do not specify the sex of the subjects, which is ‘crucial for a real protection of women under criminal law’ (ibid.: 47). While the omission of the payment of alimony is an economic form of victimisation, Nikolić-Ristanović brings contraception and reproductive rights into the framework of the general victimisation of women (ibid.: 24). Reproductive rights were the basic rights women fought for from the early days of the women’s movements. Considering the denial of reproductive rights as a crime against women signals a new approach, where reproductive rights become basic, inalienable rights. The author describes ‘women’s right to choose whether to give birth to children’ as ‘one of the most important proclamations following the triumph of the socialist revolution’ (ibid.). She criticises socialist societies for not abiding by that proclamation, in a context where ‘a growing demand for increased natality in socialist societies’ was leading to more and more restrictions on women’s right to choose and the growth of a ‘family ideology’ (ibid.). Both forced abortion and the denial of abortion are considered forms of violence against women: a violation of their physical integrity. In this context the book mentions clitoridectomy and infibulation, both of which are forms of female genital mutilation that were garnering attention in feminist discourse in Yugoslavia in the mid1980s, as the programmes of the Woman and Society group in Belgrade show.9
Feminism and violence in Yugoslavia 91 Nikolić-Ristanović’s book discusses the phenomenon of psychological violence as a separate form of violence, and the concept entered the activist discussions of the time. She also emphasised the victim’s fear of the perpetrator as a key reason for the latency of violence against women (lack of public or official knowledge due to lack of reporting). The most radical and therefore fascinating part of the book from the perspective of the relationship of feminism to state socialism is the historical overview of women’s social position in different sociopolitical systems. While the aim of socialism is ‘the humanisation of human relations and of the relations between the sexes and the emancipation of women’, Nikolić-Ristanović observes that the socialisation of women in the family in socialism is barely different from that in capitalism (1989: 23). The ‘complex social action’ has not taken place, as the persistence of the double burden shows, among other things (Tomšič 1981: 86, in Nikolić-Ristanović 1989: 23). Questioning the state narrative on women’s equality, Nikolić-Ristanović claimed that capitalism had also done a lot for women’s equality, largely because of pressure from the women’s movement. Although, she adds, ‘it only went halfway’, which meant that there were half-finished processes to counter violence against women in both socialist and capitalist societies.
Activism and the activist literature engaging with the state Ideationally, the helplines and shelters were based on feminist principles. Most of the activists involved had a background in feminist theories and methodologies, and all volunteers got a training in these in their preparation for the work on the helplines and in the shelter. Women with established academic careers also worked for the helpline. The actors involved drew on insights from a range of sources and movements, including the anti-psychiatry movement which had inspired Lepa Mlađenović. Feminist scholarship offered explanations of and data about the oppression of women, implicitly or explicitly even solutions to tackle inequality. For the helplines’ methodology, manuals from the US and UK were used, most of them acquired informally. The abovementioned Katja (Katarina) Jeremić studied in Amherst, Massachusetts, and with the encouragement of her friends at home offered training for Yugoslav activists about violence against women. Women from the US also came to Yugoslavia to train the volunteers. The basic principles of the helplines in Zagreb, Belgrade, and Ljubljana were (and still are) those shared internationally by feminist organisations working to help women and children suffering from domestic violence. In an issue of the journal Woman (Žena) in 1988, a publication of the official women’s organisation in Croatia, two founders of the SOS helpline, Jasenka Kodrnja and Katarina Vidović, explained the most important principles of the freshly started SOS helpline in Zagreb. The key concept behind the SOS methodology was women’s solidarity, and the feminist explanation for the existence of violence against women was ‘the patriarchal principle of power, which feminism
considers the foundational one among the other aspects of power’. The authors find it important to elucidate that the feminism they talk about is not delimited or exclusive [. . .] rather it uses all that’s available from the existing discoveries and aspires for syntheses, in the core of which one finds, as constitutive elements, Marxism, existentialism, anti-psychiatry, syntheses which would mean a different lens of looking at and a different pattern of the male-female, individual-society, human community-cosmos relations. (Kodrnja and Vidović 1988: 69–70) The work on violence against women calls for a mix of methodologies and emphasises the importance of providing definitions of feminism. One basic principle of the SOS helpline is that volunteers on the helpline do not blame the woman for her problem, and this is the biggest difference between the SOS and the more established therapeutic methods one encounters in the social work centres and psychiatric practices. So that women, who are the victims here and who come to the SOS line for help, are not burdened any further. (ibid.) This is later marked by the concept of victim blaming. As Kodrnja and Vidović emphasise, victim blaming happens even in the Yugoslav institutions of social work, healthcare, and law enforcement (1988: 76). The SOS volunteers never fail to emphasise that women from all social groups can become victims of domestic violence. When it comes to institutions and methodology, Vidović explained later at a conference, the SOS approach is different: not better or worse, but different. ‘We talk. We have a telephone, we give information, we support women, our discussion is full of support’ (Kodrnja 1989: 71).10 The positions of the institutions, which are criticised by the SOS volunteers and the new Yugoslav feminists in general, were spelled out at a conference in 1989, co-organised by the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia (Socijalistički savez radnog naroda Hrvatske or SSRNH), the editorial board of Woman journal (Žena), and the Zagreb office of the KDAŽ, the Conference for the Social Status of Women, and the Family of the City of Zagreb (Konferencija za društveni položaj žene i porodice grada Zagreba) (Žena 1989). The event pointed again to how important the foundation of the SOS helpline was and how much a new approach to violence against women was needed. The participation of the SOS activists at the conference illustrates that while the feminists were highly critical of the state, when there was a purpose – either that of gaining publicity or that of changing how institutions worked – they were willing to engage in dialogue and discussion. The dialogue was similar to earlier occasions, for example the Žena conferences where a representative of the official or state organisations met with feminists: each party repeated its own positions, and the official side was expected to react to the criticism of its work. The overall tendency in the
Feminism and violence in Yugoslavia 93 Yugoslav context after the foundation of the helplines was that the political and social institutions still focused on the family and children, in an attempt to exclude the gender aspect. They preferred not to speak about incest or the sexual abuse of children; even if they did, the gendered aspect of the family and its patriarchal roots were not mentioned (cf. Mikšaj Todorović 1989; Pető Kujundžić 1989). I will focus on the feminist input at the conference. In her lecture, Katarina Vidović introduced a whole set of concepts the previous speakers had not used. She spoke of patriarchal power, constituted by the psychological, social, and economic dependence of women on men. This dependence, she argued, made various, yet interrelated types of violence possible; moreover, claimed Vidović (together with many other feminist experts in the field), ‘violence against women generates the other forms of violence’. A different concept of the family was needed. In the terminology of the state institutions, the family was ‘a priori a harmonious community and an ideal form of human life’ (Vidović 1989: 65). The problem here, again, was that if violence happens, ‘it is the family that is to blame, and not the concrete individual with his or her own concept of sex and family roles’. The concepts used by the institutions influenced their responses to gender-based violence, or as Vidović put it: ‘the reactions from the institutions are not just unsatisfactory, they indirectly contribute to the maintenance of the status quo, the existing relations between men and women’ (Vidović 1989: 65). In line with other feminists, Vidović (1989: 65) found that the oppression of women is conceptually built into the bases of civilisation and throughout human history and in all societies (irrespective of class, ethnicity, race, religion, and all other differences), on the negation of women’s individuality and capability and the power of women. The participants from different institutions, such as social services, youth centres, and hospitals, did not agree with her position. The representative of the institute of social work of the city of Zagreb, Rafael Pejčinović, even claimed that the gender of the victim did not matter and should not be considered so important (1989: 74). A paediatrician, Ivo Švel, at least mentioned incest, but in an argument fraught with problems and contradictions. In Yugoslavia, Švel claims, we have a much more humane approach to children than the German, the French or some others. There are differences. For example, while children are sometimes raped here [silovanje nad djetetom], there has never been a case of sexual abuse of a child [seksualnog zlostavljanja djeteta] here. We have not seen such a thing yet. (1989: 69) ‘Sexual abuse of a child’, he specifies, in graphic language, is the rape of infants. But the argument is hard to decipher, as the rape of a child is of course also the sexual abuse of that child, and can result in the kind of serious physical injuries detailed.
Countering these statements, the SOS volunteer Biljana Kašić spoke explicitly of incest and was the first speaker to use the term. She emphasised a ‘negation of the existence of incest’, designed to enable a Yugoslavian fantasy ‘that in our country it does not happen’. She also pointed to an avoidance of recognising the perpetrator, citing statistical data of ‘world experience’ that indicates that between 95 and 99 percent of acts of incest against children within the family are perpetrated by men (Kašić 1989: 67). Using statistics from the first 10 months of the SOS helpline in Zagreb, the volunteer Nina Kadić indicated that during that time 560 children had turned to the helpline, of whom 20 percent reported an experience of incest (Kadić 1989: 76). This is a good demonstration of how important the research function of the SOS helplines was; Vidović calls it ‘action research’ (Vidović 1989: 66). The very fact that in the first 10 months 4,000 women turned to the helpline proved that violence against women was a burning issue in Yugoslav society, and that the existing institutions, including healthcare, did not offer sufficient help for the problem.11 Through their work on violence against women, the new Yugoslav feminists joined a trend initiated in the 1970s that had in many ways been inspired by 1968’s rethematisation of human rights. The UN Year of Women in 1975 contributed significantly to the globalisation of the discussion (Dobash and Dobash 1992; Weldon 2002; Peters and Wolper 1995; Keck and Sikkink 1998). According to Janet Elise Johnson, writing about Russia and basing her analysis largely on Keck and Sikkink’s work on the globalisation of activism, this new global feminism was expedited by the creation and popularization of the composite concept of ‘violence against women’. [. . .] Although different groups of feminists, from the North and South, had raised various gender violence issues – such as rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, torture of political prisoners, and dowry deaths – until the mid-1970s these had been separate campaigns (Keck and Sikkink 1998: 171). Framing all these issues as violence against women created solidarity between movements – all forms were constituted equal, none exoticized – but also allowed for ‘autonomous self-organization’. (Johnson 2009: 19–20) Women’s rights and human rights converge so clearly in the case of violence against women that women’s issues (the ‘woman question’) can no longer be treated as purely economic. The UN played an important role in the internationalisation of the campaign against violence against women; but the networks and transfers happened at much lower, activist levels, as the Yugoslav case demonstrates so well. The debate with the official organisations analysed above was the last big public event where the new Yugoslav feminists confronted the state of Yugoslavia as the state that had been created in 1945. It testifies to the journey of the new Yugoslav feminists from scholarly and theoretical work to activism, and the subsequent translation of that knowledge into policies.
Feminism and violence in Yugoslavia 95
Notes 1 Following Marko Zubak, the Croatian Spring can be understood as ‘the process of democratisation, liberalisation, and national enthusiasm that overcame Croatian communist party politics and was consequently widely felt in public life at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s’ (Zubak 2005: 191). 2 Jasna Dragović-Soso identifies three topics in Yugoslav historiography that were unquestionable, and this is characteristic of the entire public sphere: (1) the ‘inherently positive value of Yugoslav unification’, (2) the absolutely negative nature of the Yugoslav regime between the two world wars (depicted as a ‘monarcho-fascist dictatorship’ and ‘subject to Greater-Serbian hegemony’, with the support of non-Serbian ‘bourgeoisies’), and finally, (3) the official interpretation of the ‘war of national liberation’ and the communist revolution. The untouchable status of Tito can be added to this list (Dragović-Soso 2002: 71). 3 This quote is from the English-language text by Despot. All further quotations from the Serbo-Croatian texts are my translation. 4 For the sake of comparison, the Autonomni ženski centar [Autonomous women’s centre], which currently runs the SOS in Belgrade, has 15 to 20 volunteers at most, and the Hungarian helpline of the NGO NANE is maintained by around 10 volunteers. 5 Yugoslav feminists adopted the concept of victim blaming from the US, where the antiracism and anti-poverty movements, as well as the feminist movement started using it extensively in the 1970s (Williams 1984). 6 On Yugoslavia, see Vodinelić (1990) and Simić-Jekić (1985). 7 The translation is mine, from the Serbo-Croatian translation of the original English text. 8 Today we would use gender, but as the original uses sex [pol]. I have kept the author’s terminology. 9 ‘Female circumcision’ comes up also in the Woman and Society (Žena i društvo) programmes, showing a BBC film about FGM in Sudan, together with a discussion, introduced by Vanda Krajinović, 24 June 1987. ŽINDOK D-73/1987. 10 Kodrnja (1989: 71). See my next footnote. For an article from after 1991, which however contains many of the crucial insights of the work of the feminists on the SOS helplines, see Dobnikar (1997). 11 A year later, another important conference takes place in Ljubljana, which is documented in Pavlović (1990). Here, again, volunteers from the helplines participated alongside with scholars, for example the lawyer Dafinka Večerina. Feminist scholarship was represented by Nikolić-Ristanović and Mirjana Ule.
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Despot, B. (1981) ‘Women and Self-Management’, Socialist Thought and Practice: A Yugoslav Monthly, (March): 34–8. Dimitrijević, B. (2006) ‘A Brief Narrative of Art Events in Serbia after 1948’, in IRWIN (ed.), East Art Map: Contemporary Art and Eastern Europe, London: Afterall Book, 287–97. Dobash, R.E. and Dobash, R.P. (1992) Women, Violence, and Social Change, London: Routledge. Dobnikar, M. (1997) ‘Feministično socialno delo? Ne, hvala! Za političnost in proti izgubi spomina’ [‘Feminist Social Work? No, Thank You: For the Political and against the Losing of Memory], Delta, 3(3–4): 117–30. Donert, C. (2013) ‘Women’s Rights in Cold War Europe: Disentangling Feminist Histories’, Past & Present, 218: 180–202. Dragović-Soso, J. (2002) Saviours of the Nation?: Serbia’s Intellectual Opposition and the Revival of Nationalism, London: Hurst & Co. Eiblmayer, S. (2001) ‘Personal Cuts’, in Sanja Iveković (ed.), Personal Cuts, Vienna: Triton, 13–16. Helms, E. (2013) Innocence and Victimhood: Gender, Nation, and Women’s Activism in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina, Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. Gruzinov-Milovanović, N. (1990) ‘Sociološki i kulturni aspekti silovanja’ [Sociological and Cultural Aspects of Rape], Gledišta, 1–2: 170–84. Johnson, J.E. (2009) Gender Violence in Russia: The Politics of Feminist Intervention, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Jones, A. (2019) ‘Anti, Anti, Anti! Counterviolence and Anti-Sexism in Hamburg’s Autonomous Rote Flora’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 142–57. Kadić, N. (1989) ‘Najbitinja je ipak prevencija’ [The Most Important Thing is Still Prevention], Žena, 47(1–2): 76–7. Karcher, K. (2019) ‘“Deeds Not Words!” A Comparative Analysis of Feminist Militancy in Pre- and Post-1968 Europe’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 30–45. Kašić, B. (1989) ‘Negacija problema – na primjeru incesta’, Žena, 47(1–2): 66–7. Keck, M.E. and Sikkink, K. (1998) Activists beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Kesić, V. (2002) ‘Muslim Women, Croatian Women, Serbian Women, Albanian Women’, in D. I. Bjelić and O. Savić (eds.), Balkan as Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 311–21. Kodrnja, J. (1989) ‘SOS – drugačije od institucija’ [SOS: Differently from the Institutions], Žena, 47(1–2): 71–2. Kodrnja, J. and Vidović, K. (1988) ‘SOS telefon za žene i djecu žrtve nasilja’ [SOS Telephone for Women and Children Violence Victims], Žena, 46(5): 68–77. Litričin, V. (2011) Interview with the author, Belgrade, 31 May. Melzer, T. (2019) ‘ “But What about Our Fury?” Political Violence as Feminist Practice’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 46–60. Mikšaj Todorović, L. (1989) ‘“Tamna brojka” u otkrivanju počinitelja’ [‘Dark Numbers’ in Revealing the Perpetrators], Žena, 47(1–2): 61–3. Mimica, V. (2011) ‘Kako smo u Zagrebu počele da se organiziramo protiv nasilja nad ženama. Povodom 20 godina rada skloništa AŽKZ-a – 2011’ [How We Started to Organise against Violence against Women in Zagreb: On the Occasion of 20 Years
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Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue The Ihns/Andersen case and its impact on the New Women’s Movement Clare Bielby
The notion that women are affected by the ‘slow’ violence of patriarchal structures, and need to defend or protect themselves, came to a head in a case that hit the West German headlines in the early 1970s. In October 1974, the lesbian couple Marion Ihns and Judy Andersen were sentenced to life imprisonment for hiring a contract killer to murder Ihns’ husband.1 The two women’s arrest two years earlier in November 1972 had generated misogynistic and homophobic press attention. Their trial began in August 1974, leading to a further wave of press coverage. On account of Ihns’ and Andersen’s treatment in the press but also in court, the murder case became an important feminist issue for West Germany’s New Women’s Movement,2 both after the couple’s arrest and during their trial. Virtually all historical accounts of the movement that I have come across include a section on the case (see for example Schwarzer 1981: 59–61; Kühn 2007; Perincioli 2015: 206–14). Feminists asserted, it was the sexuality of these two women that was under scrutiny and in effect on trial, rather than their role in a violent crime. ‘The murder charge is a pretext. It’s lesbian love that’s in the stocks’,3 one feminist banner summarised it in 1974 (cited in Beyer 1997: 17). In this chapter I focus on the feminist discussion of and activism around the Ihns/Andersen murder case, paying close attention to feminist flyers and other documents that it generated. My particular interest is in the discourse of violence and how feminists positioned Ihns and Andersen with regard to that violence. In organising and paying for a murder, Ihns and Andersen most obviously functioned as the agents or subjects of violence. But, as feminists emphasised, they were also its victims: Marion Ihns claimed that her husband had repeatedly raped and attempted to poison her; and both Ihns and Andersen had been subjected to violent abuse as children. In this regard feminist constructions of Ihns and Andersen have a great deal in common with those of Aileen Wuornos, a working-class lesbian and sex worker who killed seven men between 1989 and 1990 in the USA and was finally executed in 2002, as analysed by Lisa Downing in her exploration of the discursive construction of the modern killer: The Subject of Murder (2013). As Downing identifies, American feminists tended to represent Wuornos as a victim of patriarchal violence, representing her violence as self-defence, in a context in which she was being vilified in the press as monstrous serial killer. But the framing of Ihns and Andersen was more complicated than that. In fact the complex and often ambiguous ways in which feminists represented them with regard
Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue 99 to violence arguably reflects how the New Women’s Movement was developing its ideas on violence at the time. The movement was in the process of distancing itself from the notion of political violence, which it was understanding in increasingly gendered terms as patriarchal, not least in the context of the escalation of violence in militant left-wing groups such as the Red Army Faction (RAF) and the 2nd June Movement, and, in response to that development, on the part of the state.4 It was furthermore heavily influenced by impulses from feminist movements outside West Germany. Already in the late 1960s, feminist activists within the leftist Action Council for the Liberation of Women (Aktionsrat zur Befreiung der Frauen) had been reading and discussing radical feminist texts from the US, such as Robin Morgan’s anthology Sisterhood is Powerful (see Karcher 2017: 25–6). In 1971, Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics (1970) had been published in German as Sexus und Herrschaft, paving the way for feminist analyses of the links between power, sexuality, and violence. Then in March 1974, in the third issue of the Women’s Newspaper (Frauenzeitung), an issue devoted to the Women’s Liberation Movement in the US, an article on rape was published (Frauenzeitung 1974). According to documentation in the feminist archive FrauenMediaTurm, it was through the reception of American radical feminist texts such as this that the topic of rape entered West German feminist discussion (‘Dokumentation zur Chronologie’). This was the context in which the New Women’s Movement was starting to develop its critique of the pervasiveness of patriarchal violence in all its forms, and of women as its universal victims. That would become perhaps the defining idea for the movement by the second half of the 1970s. Patricia Melzer asserts that ‘probably the most significant development – in terms of a lasting theoretical premise – in the [. . .] women’s movement [was]: the reframing of the political debate on violence into one of violence against women’ (2015: 58; italics in original). This case, then, provides a fascinating focus for tracking changes in the New Women’s Movement with regard to feminist ideas on the topic of patriarchal violence against women, but also with regard to lesbian emancipation and the development of a lesbian feminist position in the movement. Ihns and Andersen have attracted some scholarly attention beyond the more general inclusion of their case in accounts of the New Women’s Movement. While Pater (2006); Bayramoğlu (2014); and Bielby (2012) have focused on the mainstream press and, in particular, representations of the case in the right-wing tabloid Bild, Beyer (1997) and Hark (1996) concentrate, as I do in this chapter, on the significance of the case for lesbian feminism and for the New Women’s Movement more generally. Unlike Beyer and Hark, however, I focus on the discourse of violence in feminist treatment of the case, offering a sustained close reading of feminist documents in order to trace changes in that discourse and to reflect on the wider repercussions of those changes for the movement.
1973: ‘crimes against lesbian women’ In January and February 1973, prompted by the arrest of Ihns and Andersen, Bild published a series titled ‘Lesbian Women’s Crimes’ (‘Die Verbrechen der
lesbischen Frauen’) on 17 consecutive weekdays (on this series, see Bayramoğlu 2014; Pater 2006). Ihns and Andersen were the subject of the first instalments,5 before Bild picked up further examples of violent criminal lesbians. The series opened by drawing attention to the supposedly fatal consequences of lesbian love and evoking the figure of the violent criminal lesbian: A woman’s love knows no bounds. That’s a sentence that men like to hear. But there have also been men whose skin crawled when they heard that sentence. Almost all of these men are now dead. They were married to lesbian women, they stood in the way of lesbian women, and they had to die.6 (cited in Beyer 1997: 14) The series is telling on a number of levels. Clearly Bild journalists sensed an appetite in the tabloid’s readership for this salacious series linking lesbian sexuality to violent crime. This type of coverage would not have been possible without the so-called ‘sex wave’ of the 1960s and attendant pornographic turn in the press (Herzog 2005: 142). A voyeuristic appetite for the combination of female sexuality, violence, and crime had arguably already been developed through tabloid representations of women terrorists since 1970, which tended to sexualise them and most often portrayed their political motivations as of a personal or sexual nature, sometimes directly linked to lesbianism (Bielby 2012). In June 1972, for example, the Sunday edition of Bild suggested that one of the most high-profile women members of the Red Army Faction, Gudrun Ensslin, exploited lesbian desire to recruit women to the RAF: ‘Ensslin was usually friendly for a time with the girls she had recruited. Most of the girls in the gang have same-sex or bisexual tendencies and love a man one day, a woman the next’7 (Kakl 1972: 14). Bild’s representation of women terrorists and the violent criminal lesbian draws on a long history of explaining female criminality with recourse to the female body and supposedly aberrant forms of sexuality (see also Grisard 2019). The Italian criminologists Cesare Lombroso and Guglielmo Ferrero had linked criminality in women to female sexuality in the nineteenth century (2004 ), and in West Germany Hans von Hentig had published a study of ‘the criminality of the lesbian woman’ (Hentig 1959), a text from which Bild would draw its further examples of violent criminal lesbians in the series. The Bild series is suggestive furthermore of a conscious or unconscious desire to discipline female sexuality – in the Foucauldian sense (1991 ) – in the context of the growing visibility of non-heterosexual forms of sexuality postStonewall and post-1968,8 and in the context of advances in the feminist movement, particularly with regard to women’s activism around the self-determination of their bodies. As Grisard (2019) outlines for Switzerland, and Hilary Neroni asserts in her study of the cinematic representation of violence and femininity in the North American context, ‘nothing can bring up the discussion of proper womanly traits like a violent woman’ (Neroni 2005: 60). With its postulation of the lesbian as the violent criminal female subject par excellence – and with the discourse on terrorism hovering somewhere in the
Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue 101 background – this series provoked outrage from lesbians, feminists, and lesbian feminists. But it also provided an opportunity at this early moment of feminist and lesbian activism. On 17 February 1973, 50 women of different sexualities took part in a protest against the Bild series and its discrimination and criminalisation of lesbian women. Positioning themselves at seven central locations in West Berlin, they distributed 10,000 flyers, before activities culminated in a so-called ‘stand-in’ on Berlin’s Wittenbergplatz, where they held placards and banners and provided further information for passers-by. Fifteen of the women were members of the women’s group of the HAW (Homosexual Action West Berlin), the first political lesbian organisation in the Federal Republic of Germany, founded in early 1972, shortly after the founding of the men’s HAW group;9 35 of the women were from the group that would found the Berlin women’s centre that would open one month later in March 1973; some women were in both groups. On the front of the flyer produced for the event, the Bild series is cited (from 17 January) and the clichéd and salacious depiction of lesbian subjects as masculine and violently aggressive is derided: ‘How Bild sees “lesbians” . . . masculine close-cropped hair . . . gruff deep voice . . . hardly any bosom . . . laced in . . . proud of their A-cup bra size . . . leather clothing . . . knuckle duster’ (‘Verbrechen an die lesbischen Frauen’).10 The detail of the ‘knuckle duster’ makes the violence of the criminal lesbian overt. The German word is ‘Schlagring’ (which combines the word ‘ring’ with the German verb ‘schlagen’: to hit). The fact that a ring, symbolic of marriage and eternity, is repurposed for violence marks out lesbian subjects as the perversion of what a good German woman and wife ought to be.11 On a rhetorical level, the lesbian criminal subject of the title of the Bild series is reframed as the lesbian object of crime, or victim, on this flyer. Bild’s evocation of the ‘crimes of lesbian women’ here becomes ‘crimes against lesbian women’; even linguistically, the lesbian becomes the object. There is little reference to violence on the flyer, but when that term does appear, a man is represented as the violent agent: Wolfgang Ihns, the murder victim. With reference to a further quotation from Bild from 17 January, Wolfgang Ihns is cast as the perpetrator of violence against a woman, rather than as the victim of female violence: the text of the flyer notes that Ihns drank frequently, as a precursor to marital rape: ‘He had to intoxicate himself in order – through violence – to claim what was his by law’.12 Although Ihns was alleged to have violently abused his wife, he was the murder victim. While Ihns’ violent abuse of his wife and the violence that Ihns and Andersen had been subjected to more generally were discussed in the Bild series (Pater 2006: 152–8), it is as violent criminal agents that lesbian women were overwhelmingly represented in that series, as the title so clearly illustrated. The feminist flyer’s subtle recasting of gendered roles when it comes to violence sets the tone for the later feminist treatment of the case. The reverse side of the flyer, addressed to all women, seeks to explain what drove the Bild series on an ideological level, making a case for why all women, not just lesbians, should be concerned. It points to the disciplinary function of publications such as Bild with regard to female sexuality: they want to prevent women from recognising and acknowledging their own sexual desires, and from
accepting themselves as homosexual women. Hence, all women, regardless of their sexuality, the flyer concludes, should protest against such attempts to intimidate women. The flyer and the protest itself called for, and were an almost unprecedented example of, solidarity between heterosexual and non-heterosexual women (Kuckuc 1975: 73). The importance of the protest at the level of a burgeoning lesbian political identity is arguably suggested on the flyer itself. In a box at the centre of its reverse side is the following statement: ‘It’s us! We know what’s going on. We know that we are neither abnormal, nor pathological, nor criminal. We are simply women who do not enjoy sleeping with men’.13 The insistent repetition of the pronoun ‘we’, assertively positioned at the start of each punchy clause, is striking, as though the women were performatively constituting themselves as a group through this protest and flyer. Even though the demonstration involved both heterosexual and non-heterosexual women, the final sentence makes clear that the ‘we’ refers specifically to lesbian women – defined here through their sexuality, although the statement is less than assertive in tone: lesbian sexuality is defined negatively: those who do not like sleeping with men, rather than those who like sleeping with women. These are tentative first steps in the public assertion of a lesbian sexual identity and in the performative constitution of a lesbian political (group) identity. Evidence suggests that this protest was highly productive for the lesbian group in particular and for lesbian emancipation more generally: it led to the founding of further political groups (Beyer 1997: 21); it attracted 10 new women to the next HAW women’s group meeting, as well as reinforcing a sense of both individual and group identity. In a document written after the event, HAW women assert: ‘This action had an emancipatory effect for us: we learnt that we can act in solidarity with other women’s groups and that the group’s sense of self and that of the individual (publically identifying as gay) is strengthened’14 (‘Aktion am Wittenberg Platz’). An important dimension here was the experience of solidarity: the realisation that lesbian women could work productively with other women’s groups. Three months later, at the annual gay ‘Pentecost meeting’ (Pfingsttreffen)15 of June 1973, lesbian women would for the first time organise their own events, independently of the men, and would discuss this protest that they had undertaken with heterosexual women (‘Dokumention zur Chronologie der Ereignisse 1973’). They also held a discussion on the position of the HAW women’s group between the broader women’s movement and the HAW men’s group (‘Programm der Pfingstaktion der HAW-Frauengruppe’). What we might term the ‘feminist turn’ of lesbianism was starting to occur. Until this point, gay men had been considered the natural coalition partners of lesbian women. As sources show, the New Women’s Movement had not been a welcoming place for lesbians in its earliest years, with lesbian women not daring to come out (‘Lesben gemeinsam sind stark’ 1975).16
1974: ‘a life sentence for an act of self-defence’ In late August 1974, 18 months after the protest in West Berlin, the case of Ihns and Andersen was picked up a second time in the mainstream press when the trial opened in Itzehoe, Schleswig-Holstein. Once again, Bild led the way in
Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue 103 misogynistic and homophobic press coverage, resuming its series on the crimes of lesbian women. Given the increased visibility of non-straight sexualities by 1974, both in the feminist movement and society more generally (the activism of early 1973 had contributed in no small part to that) there was arguably an even greater need to discipline female sexualities and female subjects. The violent criminal lesbian, whose sex life is presented in sensational detail, both in court and in the press, again fulfils a disciplinary function. One of the main criticisms voiced by feminists was that the wider life experiences of Ihns and Andersen, and specifically their experiences as victims of male violence, were not discussed or taken into account during the trial: Ihns’ allegations about her husband’s repeated rapes, for example, were not considered to have been motivating factors (Beyer 1997: 16). The prosecution argued for premeditated murder with base motives, whilst the defence argued for mental incapacity on account of the lesbian relationship, which, Beyer suggests, led the judge to justify the salacious presentation of intimate details about the two women’s sexuality, as though such details might explain their crime. That he also granted the press unrestricted access and permission to take photographs, in an unprecedented move in German legal history (Beyer 1997: 16), meant that the details were passed on to the public via the popular press. Alice Schwarzer’s later diagnosis in an article for the feminist magazine Emma of 1977, of the ‘complicity of male justice and the male press’,17 seems particularly appropriate here (Schwarzer 1977: 9). Feminist activism in 1974 included demonstrations, for example one organised by the Frankfurt Women’s Centre on 30 August. Around the same time, the Berlin Women’s Centre initiated a campaign that saw 136 female and 41 male journalists appeal to the German Press Council on 5 September to criticise various publications for sensationalist reporting. The publications included those of the notorious Springer Press that owned Bild, as well as the illustrated glossy magazine Quick. HAW women organised a tribunal on ‘crimes against lesbian women’, citing their own flyer of early 1973. Most spectacular, however, was the protest of HAW women and women from the Hamburg Women’s Centre in the courtroom in Itzehoe on 16 September. In the middle of the proceedings the women stood up, declaring ‘lesbian love is beautiful’. Six women had the words ‘against the lewd press – for lesbian love’ printed on their t-shirts.18 Following their activities in the courtroom, the women spontaneously staged a demonstration outside the courthouse (Beyer 1997: 17–18).19 Unlike in early 1973, this spectacular example of feminist activism did generate press coverage.20 And as in 1973, sources suggest that the protest had positive effects for the lesbian women involved. A report written by a member of the HAW women’s group drew attention to the emotional resonance of the event and the positive effect it had on the women’s sense of identity: We were glad that we had undertaken the action, we shared our experiences and our feelings with each other, we were glad that we had met each other and – that we were and would remain lesbian! (and that didn’t exclude the Hamburg women, for they had been lesbian for a day, and perhaps . . .).21 (Einemann 1975: 15)
The repeated use of the pronoun ‘we’ suggests a strong sense of group cohesion in the wake of a protest that, the author suggests, might even have the power to make the Hamburg women lesbian. The author imagines herself and fellow activists as (national) heroines fighting on the front line for women back home: ‘We felt strong; yes almost like heroines, of whom women in the Heimat are thinking intensely’22 (Einemann 1975: 13). Reference to Heimat, a distinctly German and highly emotive concept that translates roughly as ‘home’ or ‘homeland’, but connotes a stronger sense of belonging, is striking here. The concept of Heimat has a long history in German culture (Boa and Palfreyman 2000), but it still carries overtones of the Nazis’ repurposing of the notion, most particularly in their ‘blood and soil’ literature. Einemann is in some ways affirming this conservative, militaristic, and indeed sexist notion of fighting for women and/as Heimat back home; but she is at the same time challenging and queering that discourse, because it is women who are fighting for women. In more explicit terms, Einemann goes on to imagine herself as a potentially violent agent when Ihns and Andersen are led into the courtroom. Her affective investment in the two women is made very clear here: At 9.40 Marion and Judy were shown in. When I saw them I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I trembled – not only out of fear, but above all out of sympathy and anger [. . .]. No sooner had the victims entered the room, than the press pounced on them. It was hideous! I believe I would have been capable of violence in that moment; of hitting, perhaps even of shooting! We didn’t have any weapons.23 (Einemann 1975: 13) Strikingly, she refers to the two women as victims here: victims of the press and of the court, though these institutions are not (yet) being discussed as perpetrators of violence. Instead, violent agency is ascribed to the author herself, who imagines herself capable of hitting or even shooting a gun. Although this fantasy of female violence is safely expressed in the past conditional tense, the statement ‘we didn’t have any weapons’, in the indicative mode, as the reason why no violence was committed, leaves open the potential for violent feminist resistance. As well as reflecting the increasing complexity of feminist discourse on violence, Einemann’s report is suggestive of a problematic dimension to feminist activities, indicative of a broader problem in feminist commentators’ treatment of the case in 1974: the tendency to speak for Ihns and Andersen with little regard for the two women’s own voices, needs, and desires (cf. Hark 1996: 129). Einemann explains that when the feminist intervention in the courtroom began she ‘saw Marion’s face for a brief moment: no reaction’, and immediately interprets: ‘how could she [react] after having experienced so much shit’24 (Einemann 1975: 13). Rather than pausing for a moment to reflect on how Ihns might have felt about the demonstration, of which she had not been notified, the author projects her own understanding on to the accused woman: that Ihns may not have welcomed this sort of attention seems not even thinkable for her.25
Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue 105 This objectifying gesture is most overt when the discussion turns to Ihns and Andersen as the victims of violence. In early 1973 women activists had, in rhetorical terms at least, reframed lesbians as the objects or victims, not the perpetrators, of crime. In the late summer/early autumn of 1974 they reframe them somewhat differently, as the objects or victims of a specifically male violence. Feminist debates had moved on in the meantime. As Kristina Schulz notes in the opening chapter, Susan Brownmiller’s groundbreaking study of systemic male violence, Against our Will: Men, Women and Rape was published in the US in 1975,26 and in 1976 the idea of women as the victims of all-pervasive patriarchal violence reached a high point with the International Tribunal of Crimes Against Women that took place in Brussels in March 1976 and the opening of the first women’s refuge in West Germany in November 1976. But the idea of patriarchal violence was clearly starting to take hold of the movement by the autumn of 1974. The Ihns/Andersen case, I would argue, did important work in focusing feminist attention on, and sharpening the critique of, patriarchal violence in its various forms. On a flyer produced by the Frankfurt Women’s Centre after the verdict had been announced on 1 October, Andersen’s and Ihns’ violent crime was reframed as an act of self-defence in the face of male violence.27 The title reads: ‘A life sentence for an act of self-defence in the trial against Judy Andersen and Marion Ihns’28 (‘lebenslänglich für Notwehr’ 1974). As well as picking up the assertion that Wolfgang Ihns violently abused his wife, the Frankfurt feminists broadened out the experience of violence. The second paragraph positions the two women as the victims of male violence in no uncertain terms: When Marion and Judy fell in love, they had many experiences in common: both were raped as children. Judy at 4, Marion at 9. Both were beaten as children. Judy had to watch as her mother brought men home who would beat and rape her. Later Judy attempted to defend her mother from them. Judy and Marion have experienced the brutality of men in their life to a monstrous degree.29 The level of personal detail here is striking, as though the lives of these women were public property for consumption. The paragraph is replete with terminology associated with violence: ‘rape’; ‘beat’; ‘hit’; ‘brutality’. Repeated use of the passive voice strengthens the sense of the women as passive objects of male violence. Also notable is the degree to which Frankfurt feminists seem to be projecting. A strong sense of a ‘story’ is created, fleshed out with what must surely be invented details. In their account of how and why Ihns and Andersen became a couple, for example, the Frankfurt feminists relate what Ihns was thinking and how she was feeling, and her sexual attraction to Andersen is presented as an afterthought: Then Judy and Marion met and Marion realised for the first time that somebody could support her. Judy is the only person who understands her troubles and to whom she can commit. Marion finally feels that she is accepted and
Clare Bielby understood. The two women also embark on a sexual relationship that is very good for both of them.30
Written in large handwriting across the reverse side of the flyer is the assertion: ‘Their right to free themselves from this terror led them to resort to violence. This violence was self-defence. That’s why we are showing solidarity with Judy and Marion and demanding their acquittal’.31 While the flyer concedes that the couple did in fact use violence, it asserts they were driven to do so; they were not its authors or agents. Moreover, Ihns and Anderson’s violence, the flyer suggests, was in the face of something much worse: ‘terror’. ‘Terror’ marks an escalation in terminology associated with violence, making the latter appear more acceptable, not least because the term ‘terror’ clearly evokes the thorny subject of terrorism. That introduces a political dimension to Wolfgang Ihns’ violence: the Frankfurt feminists are starting to understand male violence against women as a political, rather than purely personal, phenomenon. HAW women, too, invoked the spectre of terrorism during their tribunal on the ‘crimes against lesbian women’. They refer to the ‘terror’ of the court proceedings to which the two women were exposed (Beyer 1997: 18). Patriarchal violence, as well as being associated with terrorism and politicised, takes on structural and symbolic dimensions here, something that will prove central to the feminist critique of violence. Like the Frankfurt feminists, HAW women in a press statement also framed the act of violence as self-defence. Referring to Andersen’s recruitment of a contract killer to perform the murder, they claim: ‘it is only through defending herself against this society, embodied in that situation through Herr Ihns, that she is able to take on the role of protector [of Marion Ihns]’32 (‘Presseerklärung der Homosexuellen Aktion Westberlin-Frauengruppe’ 1974). Again, there seems to be a degree of projection occurring here: Andersen’s past act of violence is reframed in the present tense as ‘defending oneself’. The HAW women continue: ‘And Judy has to defend herself in this way, as Marion is not able to escape her husband’.33 Echoing the flyer produced by the Frankfurt Women’s Centre, the statement ends by postulating the act as self-defence in the face of male violence: ‘Before the man loses her as his property, he would rather kill her. In this way the lives of both women became a situation of permanent self-defence’.34 But the HAW women go further than that, specifically in their – now familiar – critique that the court did not take into account the violence to which Ihns and Andersen were subjected: ‘The court has never given any thought to the social and societal setting in which these women, in which women in general, find themselves. Naturally, it has never considered whether society, through forcing people to be heterosexual, well-nigh invites counterviolence’.35 The movement from ‘these women’ to ‘women in general’ is noteworthy: in a strategy familiar from much radical feminist discourse, which tends to frame all women as structurally in the same position, the HAW women universalise Ihns’ and Andersen’s particular experience of violence. They also project lesbian feminist counterviolence onto them. Discussed by the antiauthoritarian student movement from the late 1960s
Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue 107 as a legitimate, positive, and even emancipatory form of political violence against the violence of the state and of capitalism, counterviolence was conceived as a way to exert one’s revolutionary political agency, with, following Frantz Fanon (2001 ), transformative and humanising potential. Early feminist texts of what was becoming the New Women’s Movement were also starting to argue for feminist counterviolence in the late 1960s. For example, the feminist philosopher Karin Schrader-Klebert explicitly asserted in an article published in 1969 that women must use violence or counterviolence against men in order to become self-consciously female political subjects and to gain a sense of their feminist agency (on that see Bielby 2017b). Although there is no explicit reference to male or patriarchal violence in the quotation cited above, the HAW women are clearly framing the murder as an act of lesbian feminist violent resistance (or counterviolence) not only against the individual violence of Wolfgang Ihns but against patriarchal structural and symbolic violence. Ihns and Andersen appear by extension as lesbian feminist political subjects and violent agents. When they suggest that patriarchal violence manifests as what we would today term heteronormativity (‘through forcing people to be heterosexual’), the HAW women convey their understanding of the symbolic and structural dimensions of patriarchal violence: a critique of male/patriarchal violence beyond the physical is developing. Indeed, in many ways feminist discourse on this case seems to be a forum for expounding ideas about male and patriarchal violence. Kuckuc cites a report on the protest in the courtroom in Itzehoe in which the author asserts: We were afraid [. . .], afraid of possible consequences: of pig violence, of arrest, of prison [. . .] afraid of violence against women! Also of the type of violence that was being exercised against Marion I. and Judy A . . . . State violence . . . judicial violence . . . male violence . . . ruling violence . . . .36 (Kuckuc 1975: 76) The enumeration of types of violence, separated each time by an ellipsis, creates a sense of the overwhelming and all-consuming nature of patriarchal violence. In the Aileen Wuornos case, which I cited at the beginning of this chapter, Wournos’ representation by certain US feminists did not particularly take account of Wournos’ own voice. In listening to the voice of her subject and taking her violence seriously, Downing in her study diagnoses a political, lesbian feminist subjectivity for Wuornos: ‘Wuornos was killing as a more or less conscious gesture of defiance of the patriarchy’ (162), she asserts, reading the murders as ‘acts of radical dissent’, ‘as a political statement’, and positioning Wuornos as ‘reactive social agent, not a passive, defensive victim’ (154–65). Here, Downing draws a parallel with Valerie Solanas, who famously shot Andy Warhol in 1968, but who, unlike Wuornos – and as Downing hypothesises, for reasons ‘related to class, cultural capital, and education’ – was recognised as a feminist activist on account of her violence (162–63), celebrated even as the ‘first outstanding champion on women’s rights’ (Ti-Grace Atkinson, cited in Downing: 163; compare Bourg 2019).
Like their US counterparts in the Wuornos case, West German (lesbian) feminists were speaking for Ihns and Andersen and in that way objectifying them, as they developed their ideas on different forms of male/patriarchal violence. Ihns’ own words in an interview published during the trial in the magazine Quick (if we believe the words attributed to her) show just how far removed her own understanding of her situation was from that of feminists: ‘I advise all women to give lesbians a wide berth’, she asserts. ‘They can confuse the feelings of a “normal” woman to such an extent that she is prepared to give up everything and even to commit a crime. I’m the best example of that’37 (Quick 1974: 80).
Conclusion Feminist discussion of the Ihns and Andersen case, in particular as it intersected with the discourse on violence, was complex and changed over time. Whilst in early 1973, HAW women and women from the Berlin Women’s Centre reframed Ihns and Andersen (and lesbians in general) as the victims/objects of a crime, in late summer/early August 1974 they recast the couple as the victims/objects of male violence. There were various strands to this later framing: Ihns and Andersen were represented as the victims of male violence of a physical nature, acting in self-defence, with lesbian feminists at times fantasising about violently defending them; male violence against Ihns and Andersen was constructed as political; male/patriarchal violence was increasingly understood to also incorporate structural and symbolic forms of violence; Ihns’ and Andersen’s particular experience of violence was universalised as an experience that all women share; and finally, in a contradictory move that nudges Ihns and Andersen into a genealogy of ‘feminist terrorist[s]’ (Downing 2013: 165) even, the couple’s violence was imagined as counterviolence, and the two women as lesbian feminist political subjects and agents of violence, rather than its victims. The ambiguous nature of this discourse clearly reflects the difficulty that feminists had in reconciling the fact that Ihns and Andersen were the victims of male/patriarchal violence whilst also having organised a murder. It reflects furthermore the effort required as the New Women’s Movement redefined its ideas on violence more generally: feminists were increasingly rejecting violent resistance and violence as a political practice as patriarchal notions, while at the same time traces of the idea of violent feminist resistance persisted in the form of lesbian feminist counterviolence (Karcher 2016; Bielby 2017b). As a result of this – and apparently unconsciously – ambiguity itself becomes a discursive practice in feminist discussion of the case: feminist activists become mired in the contradictions of the discourse and their ideas on violence. Ultimately, perhaps this is what leads to the gesture of speaking for the two women and universalising their experience. The case of Ihns and Andersen, then, led to significant developments within the New Women’s Movement. It empowered lesbians to find a voice, to assert that voice in public, thus strengthening lesbian identity on personal, political, individual, and collective levels (cf. Beyer 1997) and ultimately contributing to the feminist turn of lesbianism.38 The case led furthermore to lesbianism becoming
Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue 109 part of the collective understanding of the New Women’s Movement; in Hark’s terms, part of the feminist ‘we’, although, as she argues, there were limitations to that inclusion.39 As I have been elaborating, the case played a crucial role in the development of the feminist critique and politicisation of male violence against women in all its forms: an idea that would become central to the New Women’s Movement by the second half of the 1970s. That the first feminist group to organise around violence against women in the Federal Republic – ‘Women against violence against women’, a subgroup of the Berlin Women’s Centre – was founded in September 1974 during the trial seems telling in that regard (‘Frauen gegen Gewalt gegen Frauen’ 1974). The case certainly helped lesbian and other feminists to recognise and develop their ideas on the structural violence to which lesbians in particular were subjected (Beyer 1997: 21), an analysis that had been fully developed by 1976 when the topic of patriarchal violence against women reached its height. Indeed, the Frauenjahrbuch ’76, the second issue of the West German women’s journal founded in 1975, includes a section devoted to the subject of violence against women and a nine-page entry on ‘Violence against Lesbians’ in which activists discuss the ‘terror of the heterosexual norm, the violence of compulsory heterosexuality’40 (Frauenjahrbuch 1976: 217). Those notions had been rehearsed in the statement produced by the HAW discussed above. These ideas on patriarchal and heteronormative forms of violence were clearly becoming increasingly established in feminist discourse. ‘Violence’, lesbian activists elaborated in 1976 (ibid.), ‘is not only what is done to your physical body. Violence against women in this society mainly expresses itself through your possibilities for living being restricted, your identity being taken from you, you being forced to live in fear’.41
Notes 1 An earlier version of this chapter, in German, was published in Bielby (2017a). 2 The New Women’s Movement (‘die neue Frauenbewegung’) refers to what an international audience would understand as West Germany’s ‘second-wave’ feminist movement. Other terms, such as the autonomous women’s movement (‘die autonome Frauenbewegung’), are also used regularly, whilst Ilse Lenz has argued for the term the New Women’s Movements (‘die neuen Frauenbewegungen’) in the plural to account for the diversity of positions (Lenz 2009). All translations in this chapter are the author’s own. 3 ‘Die Mordanklage ist Vorwand. Am Pranger steht die lesbische Liebe’. 4 Speaking of the mid-1970s, Karrin Hanshew asserts that feminists ‘explicitly criticise[d] counterviolence as a macho myth’ (Hanshew 2012: 185). 5 From 15 to the 24 January, the series focused on Ihns and Andersen, before moving on to other cases. See Beyer (1997: 14). 6 ‘Die Liebe einer Frau kennt keine Grenzen. Das ist ein Satz, den Männer gerne hören. Aber es hat auch Männer gegeben, denen dieser Satz eine Gänsehaut über den Rücken gejagt hat. Fast alle diese Männer leben nicht mehr. Sie waren mit lesbischen Frauen verheiratet, sie standen lesbischen Frauen im Wege, und sie mußten sterben’. 7 ‘Mit den von ihr angeworbenen Mädchen war die Ensslin gewöhnlich auch eine Zeitlang befreundet. Die meisten Frauen der Bande sind gleichgeschlechtlich oder bisexuell veranlagt und lieben heute einen Mann und morgen eine Frau’.
8 The movement for queer liberation in West Germany tends to be traced back to two key events: the liberalisation of Paragraph 175, the notorious provision of the German criminal code that criminalised homosexual acts between men, the reforms of which came into effect in September 1969, and discussions around Rosa von Praunheim’s Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt (It is not the homosexual who is perverse, but the society in which he lives), first screened in July 1971 (Dennert, Leidinger, and Rauchut 2007: 33–6). 9 The men’s HAW group had been founded in November 1971 after discussions around screenings of von Praunheim’s film. 10 ‘[W]ie Bild die “Lesbischen” sieht: . . . männlich kurzgeschorenes Haar . . . rauhe [sic.] tiefe Stimme . . . kaum vorhandener Busen . . . enggeschnürt . . . stolz auf ihre BH Größe 2 . . . Lederkleidung . . . Schlagring’. 11 Bild and other publications tended to represent Andersen as masculine lesbian and Ihns as woman led astray (Bielby 2012; Bayramoğlu 2014). 12 ‘Er musste sich einen Rausch antrinken, um sich mit Gewalt holen zu können, was ihm von “Rechts wegen” zustand’. Rape within marriage did not become a crime in German law until 1997; for comparison, it was criminalised in Canada in 1983, Scotland in 1989, in England and Wales in 1991, in Switzerland in 1992, and in all states in the US in 1993. 13 ‘Wir sind es! Wir wissen, worum es geht. Wir wissen, daß wir weder unnormal noch krankhaft veranlagt noch kriminell sind. Wir sind einfach Frauen, denen es keinen Spaß macht, mit Männern zu schlafen’. 14 ‘[D]iese aktion hatte für uns selbst einen emanzipatorischen effekt: wir haben gelernt, daß wir gemeinsam mit anderen frauengruppen solidarität zeigen können und daß das selbstbewußtsein der gruppe sowei des einzelnen (öffentlich identifizieren mit dem eigenen schwulsein) gestärkt wird’. 15 The annual gay Pfingsttreffen had first taken place the previous year in 1972. From 1974, lesbian women would organise their own independent lesbian event. 16 According to Hark, the topic of love between women was just as much a taboo subject and just as stigmatised in the women’s movement of the early seventies as it was in society more generally (Hark 1996: 124). 17 ‘[D]ie Komplizität von Männerjustiz und Männerpresse’. 18 ‘Lesbische Liebe ist schön’; ‘gegen geile Presse – für lesbische Liebe’. 19 See Beyer (1997: 19–20) for further examples of feminist activism around the case. 20 See for example the Bild headline: ‘Richter flüchten vor lesbischen Frauen’ (Judges flee from lesbian women) (Bild 1974). 21 ‘Wir freuten uns, daß wir die Aktion gemacht hatten, tauschten unsere Erfahrungen und Gefühle aus, freuten uns, daß wir uns kennengelernt hatten und – daß wir lesbisch waren und auch bleiben würden! (Die Hamburgerinnen nicht ausgenommen, denn einen Tag lang waren sie lesbisch gewesen, und vielleicht . . .)’. The report is published in the 7th Frauenzeitschrift, devoted to the topic of lesbians in the women’s movement and a double issue. 22 ‘[wir] fühlten [uns] stark, ja fast wie Heldinnen, an die die Frauen in der “Heimat” ganz fest denken’. 23 ‘Um 9.40 Uhr wurden Marion und Judy hereingeführt. Bei ihrem Anblick bekam ich einen Kloß in den Hals und die Tränen schossen mir in die Augen, ich zitterte – nicht nur vor Angst, sondern jetzt vor allen Dingen vor Mitgefühl und Wut . . . . Kaum daß die Opfer den Saal betreten hatten, stürzte sich die Presse auf sie. Es war widerlich! Ich glaube, ich wäre zur Gewalt fähig gewesen in dem Moment; zum Schlagen, vielleicht sogar zum Schießen! Wir hatten keine Waffen’. 24 ‘[S]ah für einen kurzen Moment Marions Gesicht: Keine Reaktion’; ‘woher auch bei soviel erlebter Scheiße’. 25 As Monne Kühn, who took part in the protest, self-critically reflects, the activists ought to have discussed the intervention with Ihns and Andersen beforehand, although this
Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue 111
26 27 28 29
31 32 33 34 35
37 38 39 40 41
would have meant that the intervention would probably have been prevented (Kühn 2007: 70). The text would not be published in German until 1977, when it was also serialised in the feminist magazine Emma. According to Kühn, not all feminists were in agreement that this act of violence should be represented as an act of self-defence (Kühn 2007: 70). ‘[L]ebenslänglich für Notwehr im Prozeß gegen Judy Andersen und Marion Ihns’. ‘Als Marion und Judy sich in einander verliebten, hatten sie viele Erfahrungen gemeinsam: Beide sind als Kinder vergewaltigt worden. Judy mit vier, Marion mit neun Jahren. Beide sind als Kinder verprügelt worden. Judy mußte mitansehen, wie ihre Mutter Männer mit nach Hause brachte, von denen sie geschlagen und vergewaltigt wurde. Später versuchte Judy dann ihre Mutter dagegen zu verteidigen. Judy und Marion haben die Brutalität der Männer in ihrer Umwelt ungeheuer stark zu spüren bekommen’. ‘Dann lernten sich Judy und Marion kennen, und Marion merkte zum ersten Mal, daß ihr jemand Unterstützung geben kann. Judy ist die einzige, die ihre Sorgen versteht und auf die sie eingehen kann. Marion fühlt sich endlich einmal akzeptiert und verstanden. Die beiden Frauen gehen auch eine sexuelle Beziehung ein, die für beide sehr schön ist’. ‘Ihr Recht, sich von diesem Terror zu befreien, ließ sie zur Gewalt greifen. Diese Gewalt war Notwehr! Deshalb solidarisieren wir uns mit Judy und Marion und fordern ihren Freispruch’. ‘sie kann diese Beschützerrolle nur übernehmen, indem sie sich gegen diese Gesellschaft, in der damaligen Situation verkörpert durch den Herrn Ihns, wehrt’. ‘Und Judy muß sich auf diese Art wehren, denn Marion kann dem Ehemann nicht weglaufen’. ‘Bevor der Mann sie als sein Eigentum verliert, will er sie lieber töten. So wird das Leben für beide Frauen zu einer ständigen Notwehrsituation’. ‘Das Gericht hat sich nie über die gesellschaftlichen und sozialen Hintergründe Gedanken gemacht, in der sich diese Frauen, in der Frauen überhaupt sich befinden. Es hat selbstverständlich nie berücksichtigt, ob nicht die Gesellschaft, indem sie Menschen zur Heterosexualität zwingt, nachgerade zu Gegengewalt auffordert’. ‘[W]ir hatten Angst [. . .] Angst vor möglichen Folgen: Bullen, die schlagen, Festnahme, Knast [. . .] Angst vor Gewalt gegen Frauen! Auch vor der Art von Gewalt, wie sie gegen Marion I. und Judy A. geübt wurde . . . Staatsgewalt . . . richterliche Gewalt . . . Männergewalt . . . herrschende Gewalt . . . ’. Curiously, Kuckuc maintains that this quotation derives from a report written about the protest – presumably the report written by Einemann. However, neither in the version of the report published in the feminist newspaper Frauenzeitung of 1975, or in the original report document archived in Berlin’s FFBIZ archive (‘Bericht von der 1. Itzehoe-Aktion (15/16.9.74)’) did I find that quotation. ‘Ich rate jeder Frau, um Lesbierinnen einen großen Bogen zu machen. Sie können die Gefühle einer “normalen” Frau derart verwirren, daß sie bereit ist, alles aufzugeben und sogar ein Verbrechen zu begehen. Ich bin doch das beste Beispiel dafür’. In a statement from early 1975, the HAW women’s group declares that it is renaming itself the Lesbische Aktionszentrum (Lesbian Action Centre (LAZ)), to reflect its primary identification with women rather than gay men (HAW-Frauen 2009: 123–5). ‘[I]n feminism it was not lesbians who were accepted, but rather the “magical sign” (Katie King) “lesbian”, the politically, sexually, and culturally correct being, the carrier of the lesbian-feminist consciousness’ (Hark 1996: 107; my translation). ‘Terror der heterosexuellen Norm, d[ie] Gewalttätigkeit der Zwangsheterosexualität’. ‘Gewalt ist nicht nur, was mann [sic] deinem physischen Körper antut. Gewalt gegen Frauen drückt sich in dieser Gesellschaft vor allem auch darin aus, daß deine Lebensmöglichkeiten eingeschränkt werden, daß dir die Identität geklaut wird, daß du gezwungen wirst, mit Angst zu leben’.
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Murder is a (lesbian) feminist issue 113 Grisard, D. (2019) ‘Coherence in Contradiction: The Spectacle of the Female Terrorist’, in S. Colvin and K. Karcher (eds.), Women, Global Protest Movements, and Political Agency: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968, London: Routledge, 117–34. Hanshew, K. (2012) Terror and Democracy in West Germany, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hark, S. (1996) ‘Magisches Zeichen’, in S. Hark (ed.), Grenzen lesbischer Identitäten. Aufsätze, Berlin: Querverlag, 96–133. HAW-Frauen (2009) ‘Von der Homosexuellen Aktion Westberlin zum Lesbischen Aktionszentrum’, reprinted in I. Lenz (ed.), Die Neue Frauenbewegung in Deutschland. Abschied vom kleinen Unterschied. Ausgewählte Quellen, Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 123–5. Hentig, H. von (1959) Die Kriminalität der lesbischen Frau, Stuttgart: Enke. Herzog, D. (2005) Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Kakl, W. (1972) ‘Gudrun Ensslin – die eiskalte Verführerin’, Bild am Sonntag, 11 June, 14–16. Karcher, K. (2016) ‘From Student Riots to Feminist Firebombs: Debates about “CounterViolence” in the West German Student Movement and Women’s Movement’, Women in German Yearbook, 32: 50–75. Karcher, K. (2017) Sisters in Arms: Militant Feminisms in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1968, New York and Oxford: Berghahn. Kuckuc, I. (1975) Der Kampf gegen Unterdrückung. Materialien aus der deutschen Lesbierinnenbewegung, Munich: Verlag Frauenoffensive. Kühn, M. (2007) ‘“Haut der geilen Männerpresse eine in die Fresse”. Itzehoer ProzessProtest 1974’, in G. Dennert, C. Leidinger, and F. Rauchut (eds.), In Bewegung bleiben. 100 Jahre Politik, Kultur und Geschichte von Lesben, Berlin: Querverlag, 68–71. ‘lebenslänglich für Notwehr im Prozeß gegen Judy Andersen und Marion Ihns’, ‘Dokumentation zur Chronologie der Ereignisse 1974’, ‘Chronik der Neuen Frauenbewegung 1974’, FrauenMediaTurm, Ordner 1974.PD-FE.03.01. Lenz, I. (2009) ‘Die unendliche Geschichte? Zur Entwicklung und den Transformationen der Neuen Frauenbewegungen in Deutschland’, in I. Lenz (ed.), Die Neue Frauenbewegung in Deutschland, Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 9–28. ‘Lesben gemeinsam sind stark’ (1975) in Frauenjahrbuch ‘75, Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Roter Stern, 200–3. Lombroso, C. and Ferrero, G. (2004 ) Criminal Woman, the Prostitute, and the Normal Woman, trans. N. Hahn Rafter and M. Gibson, Durham: Duke University Press. Melzer, P. (2015) Death in the Shape of a Young Girl: Women’s Political Violence in the Red Army Faction, New York: New York University Press. Millett, K. (1977 ) Sexual Politics, London: Virago. Neroni, H. (2005) The Violent Woman: Femininity, Narrative and Violence in Contemporary American Cinema, Albany: SUNY. Pater, M. (2006) ‘ “Gegen geile Männerpresse – für lesbische Liebe”. Der Andersen/IhnsProzess als Ausgangspunkt für das Coming-out von Lesben’, Invertito – Jahrbuch für die Geschichte der Homosexualitäten, 8: 143–68. Perincioli, C. (2015) Berlin wird feministisch. Das Beste, was von der 68er Bewegung blieb, Berlin: Querverlag. ‘Presseerklärung der Homosexuellen Aktion Westberlin-Frauengruppe’, ‘Dokumentation zur Chronologie der Ereignisse 1974’, ‘Chronik der Neuen Frauenbewegung 1974’, FrauenMediaTurm, Ordner 1974.PD-FE.03.01.
‘Programm der Pfingstaktion der HAW-Frauengruppe’, ‘Chonik der Neuen Frauenbewegung 1973’, FrauenMediaTurm, Ordner 1973.PD-FE.03.01. Quick (1974) ‘Ich warne alle Frauen vor der lesbischen Liebe’, Quick, 19 September, 78–82. Schwarzer, A. (1977) ‘Männerjustiz’, Emma, February, 6–14. Schwarzer, A. (1981) So fing es an! 10 Jahre Frauenbewegung, Cologne: Emma-Frauenverlag. ‘Verbrechen an die lesbischen Frauen’, ‘Chronik der Neuen Frauenbewegung 1973’, FrauenMediaTurm, Ordner 1973.PD-FE.03.01.
Women as violent actors
Coherence in contradiction The spectacle of the female terrorist Dominique Grisard
In this chapter the phenomenon of 1970s left-wing terrorism is considered as a product of the increasing amalgamation of media, political, and social reality. The mass media of the 1970s enabled people to participate in the spectacle of terror without having to witness a terrorist attack on the ground. Terrorist events greeted media consumers as soon as they opened their newspapers or turned on the television; they had an effect on the social-cultural climate and were visible in the practices of the courts, police, and politics. According to Jean Baudrillard (2003), terrorism’s mediatisation and the terrorist imagination together turn disinterested civilians (that is, ‘us’) into accomplices of terrorism (Puar 2007: 61). In other words, if the significance of terrorism emerges through its mediatised articulation with the local and national knowledge of media consumers in the seeming privacy of their homes, then it seems crucial to consider the private sphere as a site of construction of the terrorist phenomenon. Terrorist acts do not exist independent of gender discourses and media representations, and turning a blind eye to gendered media representations supports the gendered logic that constructs the contradictory figure of (in particular) the female terrorist. I therefore propose to direct attention away from the public sphere of left-wing terrorist action, and towards what to date have been considered minor or secondary, private arenas. By considering the private sphere as a constitutive part of the phenomenon of terrorism, I offer a critique of the historical research on terrorism that has focused on public events rather than their privately consumed representations. The epistemological interest of this chapter lies, therefore, less in the terrorist attacks per se than in the way in which both popular and expert publications constructed terrorism, and how the public and private sphere changed as a result. In this context it seems important to acknowledge the gendered logic of the private and the public, the former coded as a feminine, intimate place for women and children, and the latter coded as the masculine, rough world of (men’s) work and politics.1 Theories of the gendered gaze add an additional layer to theorising the spectacle of the female terrorist. The film theorist Laura Mulvey (1992: 55) has argued that, in the bourgeois imaginary, the so-called masculine sphere is where the action is, where decisions are made and shots are called, whereas the feminine sphere is a place of emotion, intimacy, and presentation, essentially a refuge from masculine
action. Much like a trophy, the feminine serves to display men’s success in the public sphere. In this logic, masculine characters in mass-mediated stories tend to be portrayed as active (Mulvey 1999: 837; Berger 1972: 46). Their gaze, and less overtly the director’s gaze through the camera lens, directs the narrative and propels it forward. In contrast, the role of women characters is to be looked at by the other characters in the story and by media consumers (Berger 1972: 47). The function of the feminine body in representation is to halt the narrative and allow the senses to linger and take pleasure in its spectacle. As objects of desire, feminine figures divert the observers’ attention from potential inconsistencies in the story (Berger 1972: 46). Indeed, the spectacle of woman allows for contradictions to remain in place unquestioned, ‘for the sake of visual show’ (Polan 1986: 59; also Hall 1997). In Writing and Difference, Derrida (1978: 279) theorised the act of signification as a ‘coherence in contradiction’ (also Polan 1986: 58; Wood 2009: 144), which ‘expresses the force of a desire’ for conflicting messages to magically cohere (Derrida 1978: 279). Derrida underscores that ‘signification is potentially and finally an infinite polysemy but that a historical sedimentation, an institution of particular ways of meaning-making, closes off this potentiality’ (Polan 1986: 58). He thus concedes that meaning is shaped by a ‘desire for coherence in spite of the contradictions that make coherence impossible’ (DuBois and Lentricchia 2003: 175). From a gender perspective, I am particularly interested in the ways in which the figure of the female terrorist is shaped and contained by a historically sedimented and institutionalised gender order, but also in how the same figure also keeps calling the same order into question. My thesis is that the spectacle of the female terrorist and the naturalisation of messy gender as coherent sex follow a heteronormative, binary script of continuous display. Arguably the naturalised process of meaning-making (the masculine gaze surveying feminine bodies, thereby governing what women do and defining what women are) is key to understanding representations of terrorist phenomena, in the 1970s and today (Grisard 2008). At the same time the inconclusive representations of bodies of women terrorists trouble the body politic of the nation (Grisard 2014: 140–1).2 The dominant gender order and media rationalities contribute to rendering the figure of the female terrorist in/coherent, and thus keep terror on the agenda. Terrorist women’s contentious relationship to what is deemed ‘female nature’, I argue – drawing on examples of debates about female anarchists in Russia of the late nineteenth century as well as female members of the Red Army Faction (RAF), the 2nd June Movement, and smaller groups in West Germany and Switzerland of the 1970s – has fuelled a seemingly endless interest in terrorism stories.
Mediatised terrorism and coherence in contradiction Much like the existence of female suicide bombers today, women’s participation in the left-wing terrorist groups of the 1970s baffled, disturbed, and fascinated journalists, scholars, and the general public alike (Fetscher 1978; Jäger, Schmidtchen, and Süllwold 1981; Baeyer-Katte et al. 1982; Matz and Schmidtchen 1983; Gipser
Coherence in contradiction 119 et al. 1984).3 The discussion was fraught with contradictions. A prominent thesis was that women’s political violence was a natural consequence of their (unnatural) liberation (Fabricius-Brand 1978: 62–4; Einsele and Löw-Beer 1978: 26–8), and in that vein female terrorists were frequently depicted as tough, fearless, and masculine, and as foreign bodies, alien to the body politic of the nation. At the same time, however, they were characterised as victims of dysfunctional families and portrayed as inconspicuous, delicate, fragile, and harmless – no different from the ‘girl next door’. Many terrorism experts compared them to nineteenth-century Russian anarchists, but simultaneously they were presented as a new phenomenon, unique to the 1970s. Why did such a blatant contradiction go unquestioned so much of the time? I shall argue that such incoherence is not coincidental, but methodical. Both popular and specialised texts helped decisively shape discussions about terrorist organisations and women’s roles in them. Analyses attached weight to the action on the ground, yet rarely reflected on how that action owed its event character to the way the media relayed it. While terrorism experts such as Walter Laqueur (1977: 3) noted long ago that terrorism is particularly fascinating to those who view it from a safe distance, the role of those at a safe distance – mass media, scholars, the general public – in constructing terrorist phenomena has only recently been taken seriously by terrorism scholars (Steinseifer 2006; Balz 2008; Bielby 2012). Feminist scholarship has been at the forefront of analysing the ‘perfect symbiosis between terror and television’ (Vowinckel 2007).4 Most notably it has shed light on the ways in which representational and mass media rationalities gender our perception of female terrorists and terrorism more generally (Meinhof 1986; Colvin 2009; Grisard 2011; Bielby 2012; Melzer 2015; Karcher 2017).
‘The flipside of women’s liberation’: women’s terrorist violence as new In their discussion of left-wing terrorism in the 1970s, terrorism experts and the mass media regularly expressed surprise that women would turn to terrorism. They presented it as a curiosity that female terrorists acted in a way that was ‘cooler’, ‘calmer’, ‘more calculating’ and ‘controlled’ than their male counterparts (Der Spiegel 1977a: 25). Journalists and terrorism experts frequently treated women’s participation in the RAF and 2nd June Movement as unprecedented and one of a kind. The West German weekly Der Spiegel, for example, was keen to establish that female participation in 1970s terrorism demonstrated a ‘new quality of female criminality’ (Der Spiegel 1977b: 28). Indeed, when journalists and scholars in the 1970s tried to account for women’s participation in the terrorist cells, they often established a direct connection between their radicalisation and women’s liberation (Colvin 2009; Vukadinović 2010; Bielby 2012). Criminologist Freda Adler’s study Sisters in Crime (1975) is considered the basis of what is now known as the emancipation theory, an explanatory approach for criminality among women.5 The emancipation theory gained credence through the media’s frequent portrayal of violent women in the 1970s. In Europe women
terrorists were making headlines, in America prominent criminal cases like that of Angela Davis6 and Patty Hearst7 were being hotly debated. Adler’s study was used to substantiate theories about the connection between female terrorism and women’s emancipation (Der Spiegel 1977a: 22–33). In its cover story from 8 August 1977, titled ‘Women in the Underground. An Irrational Phenomenon’ (Der Spiegel 1977a: 22),8 the magazine notoriously quoted Günter Nollau, head of the domestic intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverfassungsschutz): ‘These days West German women are committing more than half of all terrorist offences’, Nollau observed, attributing the phenomenon to an ‘excess of women’s liberation’ (ibid.).9 The message was that ‘girls here had forgotten their traditional role. Their actions did not accord with the traditional image of the sex which in English is called the “fair sex”: the gender of beauty, of decency, of light’ (ibid.: 23; see also Colvin 2009: 194).10 Female terrorists, then, were defined by their lack of traditional feminine qualities such as beauty and subservience (Colvin 2009: 194). The article in the 1977 issue of Der Spiegel then turned its focus from women’s participation in left-wing terrorist acts to women’s criminality more generally: ‘In any case, secondary and concomitant effects of emancipation can be seen in traditional, everyday crime in places where women are more and more frequently doing men’s work’ (Der Spiegel 1977a: 23). Adler established a causal link between a supposed increase in criminality among women since 1960 and the feminist movement’s struggle for the legal and economic emancipation of women. She argued that this positive development also had its drawbacks: If present social trends continue women will be sharing with men not only ulcers, coronaries, hypertension, and lung cancer (until recently considered almost exclusively masculine diseases) but will also compete increasingly in such traditionally male criminal activities as crimes against the person, more aggressive property offences, and especially white-collar crime. (Adler 1975: 252) The American criminologist based her hypothesis on a comparison of the criminal statistics from England, Germany, Norway, India, Japan, and the US, on the basis of which she arrived at the conclusion that economic motives were still chiefly behind women’s criminality, though violent criminality played an increasingly important role.11 In Switzerland, similar prognoses about the increase in women’s criminality were made after the publication of Adler’s work. The lawyer Henryka Veillard-Cybulska (1982: 198) claimed that an alleged increase in the female crime rate in 1973 ran parallel to the ‘liberation of women, which is now manifesting itself in illegal acts, too’. Although in her view women’s criminality remained less ‘bloody’ than men’s, she admonished her readers: ‘let us not forget the increasing number of female terrorists’ (ibid.). Adler’s theory was the subject of controversial debate in feminist circles (Chesney-Lind 1986: 80; Theurer 1996: 69–76). Feminist criminologist Carol Smart pointed out that conservative and reactionary voices used the emancipation
Coherence in contradiction 121 theory as ammunition in their mission to impede equal rights for women and men and produce an all-around ‘inculpation’ of the feminist movement (Smart 1979: 56). It is one reason that many feminists at the time were adamant in dissociating themselves from terrorists. One similarity that another feminist criminologist, Marlis Dürkop (1978: 277), conceded was that upper- and upper middle-class women were overrepresented in both the feminist movement and terrorist groups. The proponents of the emancipation theory, however, tended to ignore the class differences which meant that the achievements of the feminist movement primarily benefited women from the socially privileged classes, who rarely became ‘common’ criminals. Susanne von Paczensky (1978: 10), a feminist journalist who published a collection of essays on women and terror, opposed the emancipation theory speculations with a rhetorical question: why is the influence of gender only debated when the violent criminal happens to be female? Nobody asks which type of masculinity leads to terrorism.12 Feminist critiques of the emancipation theory did not unsettle influential penologists and criminologists, however. For the most part they remained persuaded by the emancipation theory, possibly because it had been in circulation for almost a century (Lamott 1992: 33). At the turn of the twentieth century, as the women’s suffrage movement gained traction and the field of criminology underwent a process of scientification, criminologists claimed that women’s liberation not only led to their masculinisation, loss of refinement and beauty, but was also the root cause of criminality among women. The criminologist Alexander Jassny (1911: 93), for instance, thought he could observe the fusion of the criminal female with the ‘masculine type’ (also Lamott 1992: 33). Similar arguments had been made after World War II. Women’s new role as family providers during the war, it was claimed, gave them ample opportunities to become ‘bandit chiefs’ well versed in wielding weapons (Amelunxen 1958: 15). The threat posed by female criminals was closely associated with the newly perceived self-confidence and sexual self-determination of women, and criminal women became scapegoats for the decline in the birth rate and further social changes (Lamott 1992; Voegeli 2006). The emancipation theory resurfaced in the course of the 1960s as a reaction to the demands of second-wave feminism and other new social movements. For one, the increasing participation of women in (feminist) politics garnered media attention. The media figure of the women’s libber was feared, derided, and ridiculed (Karcher 2017). In addition, the popularity of an alternative political practice allowed women to participate more readily in politics. Traditional political institutions were called into question, at times even displaced by protests in the streets or debates around the kitchen table. So-called kitchen table politics challenged the carefully guarded separation of public politics and the privacy of the everyday, thereby lowering the threshold for political participation as well as threatening traditional balances of power (Davis 2006: 182; Grisard 2011: 205). The emancipation theory thus collapsed caricatures of the publicly vocal women’s libber with the figure of the female terrorist to stir fears of changing gender relations. The threat of an increasing and more violent type of criminality among
women in the 1970s must therefore be considered against the backdrop of a history of uneasiness about sexual self-determination, economic independence, and women’s enfranchisement.
‘Irrational elements’: women’s terrorist violence as an age-old question Female terrorists were not just portrayed as self-determined women’s libbers, however. They were always also perceived as ‘an irrational phenomenon’ (Der Spiegel 1977a: 22). Women were generally imagined as morally superior beings: Ulrike Meinhof, for example, a devout Catholic in her youth, was on numerous occasions likened to a ‘fallen angel’ (see Colvin 2009: 4; also Der Spiegel 1976: 14, 1986: 162, 165). When they participated in terrorism, however, they became ‘shrieking’ and ‘hysterical’, and their liberation, indeed all women’s liberation, ‘excessive’ and ‘irrational’ (Der Spiegel 1977a: 23; Der Spiegel 26 June 1972: 62). An article in the St. Galler Tagblatt (1977) even suggested that terrorist women had turned into ‘hyenas’. The newspaper loosely quoted a line from the celebrated (and notoriously masculinist) poem Song of the Bell (1799) by Friedrich Schiller. The line refers to incidences during the French Revolution where ‘women to hyenas growing/Do make with horror jester’s art/Still quiv’ring, panther’s teeth employing/They rip apart the en’my’s heart’ (Wertz 2005: 45). It is (still) a familiar trope: when women turn to violence, their brutality is inhuman or animalistic and knows no bounds. The particular choice of quotation indicates that, rather than likening the women terrorists of the 1970s to the heroines of the French Revolution, the newspaper article is appealing to the cultural authority of Schiller to underscore the irrational, instinctual, and monstrous nature of women when they abandon their true calling. Not only journalists but terrorism experts looked to cultural beliefs about women’s nature and history to shed light on the root causes of women’s political violence. They swiftly identified prehistoric Amazons and nineteenth-century women revolutionaries in Russia as historic predecessors of the terrorists of the 1970s (Alpern Engel and Rosenthal 1975; Middendorff 1976; Whittaker 1976; Becker and Becker 1977; Knight 1979; Schmieding 1979). ‘The participation of the female sex in terrorism is older than commonly assumed’, the lawyer and psychologist Susi Thürer-Reber stated in a local Swiss newspaper Luzerner Tagesblatt (1978). She then referred to the anarchist women of Czarist Russia. The St. Galler Tagblatt likewise situated the roots of terrorism in turn-of-the-century Russia: Women have been in the vanguard wherever there has since been a fight against a social and national injustice, be it perceived or real. A century ago, Vera Zasulich, Vera Figner, and the aristocrat Sophia Perovskaya spread revolutionary terror throughout Czarist Russia – terror whose ingenuity, sangfroid, and intelligence put the revolutionary comrades to shame. (St. Galler Tagblatt 1977)13
Coherence in contradiction 123 Amid the renewed interest in Russia’s prerevolutionary history during the 1970s, the figures of Vera Figner and Sophia Perovskaya are perceived to foreshadow the modern female terrorist, ‘for whom the terrorist struggle also meant at the same time a struggle for their own emancipation’ (Schmieding 1978; also Schmieding 1979).14 Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner classified them with the female members of the RAF as ‘terrorist Amazons’ who represented ‘a gruesome caricature of decadent and destructive masculinity’ (Kaltenbrunner 1978: 17), but also stressed that 1970s female terrorists exhibited an unprecedented ‘irrational will to destruction’15 (ibid.; see also Hildebrandt 1978). The journalist Walter Schmieding found similarities between the masculine appearance of the Russian women anarchists and West German women terrorists, pointing to dysfunctional father/daughter relationships and their alleged lack of (sexual) interest in men. He asserted that both groups only had relationships with men if and when it served the greater cause. Likewise, only when their feminine charms promised to be useful for the organisation would the women terrorists cast off their standardly masculine self-presentation: short hair, dark glasses, and ‘an endless consumption of cigarettes’ (Schmieding 1979: 109; also Becker and Becker 1977: 687). Schmieding appears to have consulted Vera Figner’s memoirs in which she describes how, while living in a secret apartment under an alias, she disguised herself as a ‘lady-doll from high society’16 in order to carry out a secret mission, but immediately cast off her disguise after her mission had been completed (Figner 1985: 94). Terrorism experts seized on the narrative that the Russian female anarchists were well versed in disguising themselves, as aristocratic ladies, farmers’ wives, or men (Schmieding 1979: 125–7; also Schmieding 22 April 1978; Middendorff 1976; Knight 1979; Fauré 1978; Alpern Engel and Rosenthal 1975). Their double life or ‘passing’17 was likened to the practises of the women in the RAF who were ready to throw on an ‘elegant dress’ and perform the role of the ‘well bred daughter’ (Der Spiegel 1977a: 27). When 1970s terrorism experts pointed out that women’s involvement in political acts of violence was neither a ‘new nor a West German phenomenon’ (Diewald-Kerkmann 2006: 657), they established a continuity and, in many cases, even transformed women’s pronounced tendency to radicalism into an anthropological constant. Moreover, rooting women terrorists in Czarist Russia was essential for creating a coherent understanding of terrorism: History in this sense is characterized by the production of the origins of events, by the production of continuities that fuse the events into a uniform, coherent narrative, and by pretending to reveal an extra-discursive truth instead of producing a discourse about knowledge and power. (Fiske 2003: 148) Seen in this light, the knowledge about the origins of women’s participation in terrorist action enabled its classification, which was necessary to symbolically ‘master’ it. Thus the transhistorical comparisons of women terrorists in the RAF and 2nd June Movement with Russian female anarchists must be read as an effort on
the part of terrorism experts and journalists discursively and narratively to control the intractability of terror: the phenomenon was explained as a supra-historical effect of women’s irrational nature.
A frail victim’s body: women’s terrorist violence as trauma However: contrary to the images of the militant women as unsettlingly masterful with a dangerously irrational agency, the women terrorists were also portrayed as victims of dysfunctional families. In a way that resonates with portrayals of female suicide bombers today (Brunner 2011; Grisard 2008), it was claimed that they were driven to commit these acts by family members, lovers, or the state, and that women students ‘slipped into’ terror more easily than less educated women (Der Spiegel 1977a: 25). Men, as lovers or radical thinkers, paved women’s way into terrorism (Der Spiegel 1977a: 25). Female terrorists were rarely credited with acting of their own free will. The RAF terrorist Susanne Albrecht’s ‘long march into militancy’ was presented as the direct result of her acquaintance with a man, Karl-Heinz Dellwo (Der Spiegel 1977a: 26). The tendency to refer to the female terrorists as ‘girls’ and ‘daughters’ offers an insight into how adult women were perceived (Der Spiegel 1977a: 33). After Meinhof’s arrest in 1972 and again after her death in 1976, Der Spiegel tracked her transformation from (desirable) ‘long-haired’, full-figured pacifist to (undesirable) ‘haggard’ terrorist fighter (Der Spiegel 1976: 14; also Der Spiegel 1972: 62). The theories of Friedrich Hacker, an American psychoanalyst and terrorism expert were cited. Hacker maintained that Meinhof had been deeply troubled by her father’s severe depression and subsequent death, allegedly over his wife’s infidelities, when she was only six. Hacker believed that this childhood trauma triggered Meinhof’s divorce and subsequent radicalisation (Der Spiegel 1976: 14).18 While the journalists cast doubt on Hacker’s theories, they willingly espoused the idea that Meinhof was a casualty of childhood trauma. In the same way, the Swiss federal prosecutor’s office described Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann, a member of the 2nd June Movement, as a casualty of her family upbringing. A suspect in the OPEC siege in Vienna, Kröcher-Tiedemann was arrested at the French-Swiss border in 1977 for injuring two Swiss customs officers. All her life Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann had been given orders and she gave her all to carry them out as it was expected of her, hungry for praise and acknowledgment. Clearly she received the recognition in the anarchist scene that her family had denied her. (IISG 1978; also Bundespolizei 1977)19 The report noted that Kröcher-Tiedemann’s relationship with her alcoholic father was distant, and that she had not received much love from either parent. The federal prosecutors underscored how her loveless family had pushed her straight into the arms of Norbert Kröcher and his terrorist ties.
Coherence in contradiction 125 Likewise, the Swiss court that tried the Italian-German terrorist Petra Krause was convinced that her turn to terrorism was heavily influenced by childhood trauma and her love for an older man (Obergericht des Kantons Zürich 9 March 1981: 1151). According to the court’s reconstruction of her biography, Krause was born to Jewish upper-class parents in Germany in 1939, and later deported to a concentration camp. One of the only survivors in her family, the young Krause was liberated in 1945, sent to an internment camp and from there to an orphanage and eventually a foster family. A year before graduating from high school, the court noted, she ran away to marry an Italian doctor. Without relativising Krause’s trauma, it is worth noticing the court’s strong focus on family and sexual attraction to a man when assessing her turn to violence. Krause went on three hunger strikes during her two-and-a-half-year detention and managed to create a huge wave of solidarity in Switzerland, Italy, and beyond. Italian female members of parliament even decided to inspect the conditions in the Swiss women’s prison that housed Krause. They were convinced that Krause was being punished by the state for being a woman. Krause explicitly called attention to women’s discrimination in Swiss prisons, observations that must be seen within the larger context of 1970s Swiss gender politics. Only recently (in 1971, to be precise) had Swiss (male) citizens granted women the right to vote. Their participation in public life, however, remained contested throughout the 1970s. After Petra Krause was arrested in March 1975, the media frequently used her as the foil against which women’s ‘natural’ role as docile mothers and wives was reaffirmed (Grisard 2014: 147; Grisard 2011: 270). The binary of the liberated, irrational terrorist and the contained, restrained ‘good’ woman was, however, called into question by the image of the female terrorist as wounded victim (Grisard 2014; for West Germany, see Schraut 2007). As I have shown elsewhere, the spectacle of the feminised hunger-stricken body in prison destabilised the Swiss body politic (Grisard 2014). The Italian women deputies’ reaction to Krause’s emaciated body shows that representations of the self-starving female body triggered feelings of empathy and solidarity that a man’s body would arguably not have elicited. Krause’s emaciated body managed to mobilise against women’s oppression. The reception of Krause’s hunger strikes was shaped by dominant gender norms, notably the commonly held notion that the small body of a woman is more susceptible to suffering than the strong body of a man (Groebner 2007). Depictions of Krause’s petite figure were informed by dominant ideas about the objectivity of the camera capturing the bodily and facial truth of the surveyed, thereby offering the surveyor a glimpse into the soul of the surveyed. Krause’s hunger-stricken body blurred the lines between victim and perpetrator (Meinhof 1986: 143). Her feminised body raised questions about the state’s abuse of its powers. Effectively the bodies of Krause, Kröcher-Tiedemann, and even Meinhof, because they were coded as female, were readily imagined as frail victims’ bodies. Particularly representations of Krause’s hunger-stricken body underscored the slipperiness of the female terrorist’s embodied gender (Bielby 2007). Her shrunken body left surveyors with the uncertainty as to the terrorists’ status: was
this the body of an enemy of the state, the body of a victim of state violence, or both? (Grisard 2011: 154).
Girls next door: women’s terrorist violence as strangely familiar Kröcher-Tiedemann’s and Krause’s constant presence in the Swiss media turned them into household figures. The daily media coverage of Krause’s hunger-stricken body located terrorism in the body of a woman who ostensibly looked no different from the girl next door (Der Bund 1977). At the same time, her German-Jewish heritage and her Italian citizenship gave reasons enough to distrust her (national) loyalties. The mention of her mysterious past in a Nazi concentration camp reinforced the image of the terrorist as foreign and alien (Libération 1975). Krause remained both inside and outside of the Swiss body politic; nonetheless, the daily recording of her health shook the public’s confidence in the state’s right doings, which tied in with a more general lack of trust in the state in central Europe at the time (Pekelder 2011: 64, 79). At Kröcher-Tiedemann’s trial in June 1978, which incited the severest security measures that the small town of Porrentruy, Switzerland, had ever known, the media used gender stereotypes similar to those used in the case of Krause. The image of the ‘cold-blooded’ terrorist who would not shy away from committing the worst terrorist acts imaginable was juxtaposed with expressed surprise at her delicate appearance in court. One journalist had a hard time imagining that the petite defendant was the same ‘shotgun moll’ (Flintenweib) who had unflinchingly fired at police officers; Kröcher-Tiedemann did not match his idea of what a terrorist looked like (Keiser 14 June 1978). The unassuming girl next door, it seemed, could at any moment turn out to be a terrorist. Such characterisations implied that the terrorist threat was slumbering within ‘us’. Female terrorists tended to be represented as duplicitous gender criminals: women who knew how to play the girl next door as well as the strategically operating agent. Those tropes made the figure of the female terrorists seem familiar and alien at the same time (Foucault 1994: 324–5). The Swiss media constructed the terrorist phenomenon as a sexualised and foreign, mostly West German, problem. They painted the picture of alien female terrorists penetrating the Swiss nation, thereby unhinging the notion of a secure(d) and securely gendered Switzerland. Foucault observed how society produces an extraordinary amount of crime stories in which crime appears to be both extremely close, a constant threat to the everyday, and as fundamentally alien in its origins, motivations, and milieu (Foucault 1994: 370). The tension between the familiar and the unknown produced fears about the ubiquitous nature of the terrorist threat (Hartnett 2011: 257; Foucault 1994: 369).
In/coherence: the spectacle of the violent woman and the production of terror Making use of the widely accepted social practice of gazing at, anatomising, and assessing the female body, journalists and terrorism experts projected a myriad
Coherence in contradiction 127 of conflicting gender stereotypes on to Meinhof, Krause, Kröcher-Tiedemann, and others. Some journalists acknowledged the contradictory images of terrorist women circulating in the cultural imaginary, but attributed the phenomenon to differing political positions: Meinhof (for example) was a ‘witch’ for some, while for others, mostly left-wing sympathisers, she symbolised a ‘fearless and self-sacrificing Joan of Arc’ (Der Spiegel 1972: 62; also Colvin 2009: 5, 15). They did not, however, concede that one and the same piece could contain divergent representations of the female terrorist. Gendered media rationalities created an ambiguous figure of the female terrorist that merged stereotypically masculine action with feminine spectacle. Moreover, the female terrorist body in representation pointed to the instability of dominant binaries such as the state and the terrorist, the perpetrator and the victim, and this was exploited with particular fervour by the mass media. That ambiguity helped to produce the terrorist threat. On the one hand female terrorists were portrayed as masculine perpetrators in action; on the other they fulfilled the role of spectacle by allowing the gaze to linger, and the roots of terrorism to be deliberated. Seeing the roots of 1970s female terrorism in nineteenth-century Czarist Russia deprived the occurrences of the 1970s of their historic uniqueness, thus taming the terrorist threat. It also deflected attention from the fact that there was not a lot of action to focus on. The spectacle of the female terrorists compensated for the thin narrative of their ostensible crimes.
Conclusions The contradictory representations of female terrorists, I have argued, must be seen as an effect of gendered ways of seeing in order to channel the terrorist threat. The fact that female terrorists were considered the flipside or the excess of women’s liberation was intricately tied to a will to knowledge: that is, a desire to identify, understand, and ultimately control the terrorist phenomenon. But as Schraut (2007: 116) and Vukadinović (2010) have demonstrated, connecting women’s political violence to their political and sexual liberation was also about reaffirming traditional gender roles. Short, unkempt hair, nervous smoking, and (sexual) assertiveness – all were masculine codes used in different eras to characterise gender-defying women (Schraut 2007: 114). Their intrusion into spaces traditionally reserved for men was difficult to reconcile with their ‘biopolitical function as heteronormative birthers’ (Lorey 2007: 284). The representation of women terrorists thus strongly tied masculinity to violence while linking femininity to placidity, domesticity, and dependence. By extension, all women who deviated from bourgeois gender roles could be suspected of terrorism (Meinhof 1986). The recurrent portrayal of terrorist acts as new, exceptional, and foreign/alien were ordering and organising principles of the terrorism discourse, constructing the (female) terrorist as the polar opposite of the docile wife and mother figure, or at least attempting to. In her book Women Who Kill (1996: 5), Ann Jones addresses the question why criminologists have been trying to prove for over 100 years that the rise in criminality among women runs parallel to women obtaining the same social status as men.
According to her, there is indeed a connection between the feminist movement and criminality among women: namely, that women’s criminality only becomes an issue in times of pervasive anxiety about women’s emancipation. Schraut (2007: 119–20) makes a similar argument for terrorism, because ‘whenever terrorism is debated with gender-specific dimensions, women’s participation in politics and society will also be on trial’. Indeed, not just political violence, but criminality more generally was treated as a political question in and of itself. Women who committed crimes for political reasons were not perceived very differently from so-called socially criminal women; at best, the political dimension of the violence piqued the media’s fascination with ‘shotgun molls’. One could thus rightly speak of an ‘excess’, although not an ‘excess of women’s liberation’, as head of West German intelligence Günter Nollau would have it, but of surplus meaning such as is frequently produced by the mass media’s representations of women. John Fiske (2003: 114–15, 1996: 50–2) refers to the exaggeration, vague statements, ambiguities, or gaps that allow manifold associations as ‘semiotic excess’. This polysemy of the figure of the female terrorist is especially evident in media discourses. It is on the basis of this surplus meaning that the ambiguous figure of the female terrorist could be used at different times to explain different troubling social phenomena such as feminism, all the while keeping the terrorist threat alive.
Notes 1 For more on the concepts of the public and private sphere from a gender studies perspective, see Appelt (1999). 2 The metaphor of the body politic seems a particularly salient lens to get a better understanding of the relationship between the governing bodies and the individual bodies subsumed to it (Canning 1999: 504; Hull 1995: 5). 3 Depending on the source one consults, the number of women participants in leftwing terrorist organisations in the 1970s varies considerably. According to Hans Josef Horchem (1975: 16), president of the Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the percentage of women involved in ‘traditional crime’ was 20 percent, while in terrorism it was 60 percent. The Zurich sociology professor Gerhard Schmidtchen (1981: 23), by contrast, professed that women only made up about 33 percent of terrorist groups until around 1980. A more recent study by the Bielefeld historian Gisela Diewald-Kerkmann (2009: 58) states that 48 percent of participants in left-wing terrorist organisations were women (See also Colvin 2009: 194–5). 4 All translations are the author’s unless otherwise stated. 5 According to this perception, women ‘act like men and engage in a fierce competition with men’ (Kahl 1977: 290). 6 Angela Davis is an American civil rights activist and intellectual. She belonged to the Black Panthers for a short time in the 1970s. During her incarceration she became the symbolic figure of the movement for the rights of political prisoners (Davis 1974). 7 Patty Hearst, the media tycoon William R. Hearst’s granddaughter, was first abducted by – and then later joined – the Symbionese Liberation Army, a left-wing revolutionary group. See Isenberg (2000). 8 ‘Frauen im Untergrund: “Etwas Irrationales” ’. 9 ‘Mittlerweile begehen westdeutsche Frauen mehr als die Hälfte aller terroristischen Straftaten. Für den ehemaligen Verfassungsschutz-Chef Günther Nollau ist ‘irgendwas Irrationales in dieser ganzen Sache’. Vielleicht, meint Nollau, ist das “ein Exzeß der Befreiung der Frau”’. For similar conjectures see Jaeggi (1977).
Coherence in contradiction 129 10 ‘Klar war Männern wie Frauen, dass hier Mädchen tief aus ihrer angestammten Rolle gefallen waren. Ihre Tat fügt sich nicht ins herkömmliche Bild von jenem Geschlecht, das im Englischen ‘the fair sex’ genannt wird, das schöne, das anständige, das helle’. 11 With her emancipation theory, Adler distanced herself from the American Otto Pollack’s criminological theories (1961), which had been influential in the 1950s and early 1960s (Chesney-Lind 1986: 79). While he used women’s biological otherness to explain criminality among women, Adler emphasised the influence of socio-economic developments and socialisation. On the one hand, the emancipation theory broke with deterministic explanations rooted in female nature, on the other hand the theory played into the hands of conservative forces advocating against gender equality. 12 It is only since the 1990s that the field of criminology has started to investigate the influence of social conceptions of masculinity on men’s criminality (Meuser 1999). 13 ‘Wo immer es seither gegen – vermeintliche oder wirkliche – soziale und nationale Ungerechtigkeit ging, standen Frauen an vorderster Front. Vor einem Jahrhundert im zaristischen Russland verbreiteten Vera Sassulitsch, Vera Figner und die Aristokratin Sophia Perowskaja revolutionären Terror, der an Rafinesse, Kaltblütigkeit und Intelligenz die revolutionären Genossen in den Schatten stellte’. 14 ‘[F]ür die der terroristische Kampf auch gleichzeitig den Kampf für die eigene Emanzipation bedeutete’. 15 ‘Typus der terroristischen Amazone’; ‘grausame Karikatur einer decadent-destruktiven Männlichkeit’, ‘irrationale Wille zur Vernichtung’. 16 ‘Puppen-Dame der hoheren Gesellschaft’. 17 The term ‘passing’ describes the discursive constellation in which a person gains access to the field of the ‘normal’ because he or she shows none of the visual or habitual markers of marginalised social groups (Halberstam 1998: 21). 18 This did not stop him, however, from speculating that Meinhof might be one of these women who needed ‘a gun in their hands’ to feel truly liberated (Der Spiegel 1976: 14). 19 ‘Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann war ihr Leben lang Befehlsempfängerin und hat nichts unterlassen, um Befehle so auszuführen, wie es von ihr erwartet wurde, um Lob und Anerkennung zu erhalten. Offensichtlich hat sie die Anerkennung, die ihr in der Familie versagt war, in der Anarcho-Szene gefunden’.
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Primary sources Newspaper articles Der Spiegel (1972) ‘Wer sich nicht wehrt, stirbt‘, 26 June. Der Spiegel (1976) ‘Ulrike Meinhof: “Wer sich nicht wehrt, stirbt”‘, 17 May. Der Spiegel (1977a) ‘Frauen im Untergrund: “Etwas Irrationales”‘, 8 August. Der Spiegel (1977b) ‘Die Täter leben in absoluter Inzucht’, 8 August. Der Spiegel (1986) ‘Das Gefühl, es explodiert einem der Kopf’, 27 January. Jaeggi, U. (1977) ‘Frauen und Terror’, Die Weltwoche, 17 August. Jakob, W. (1977) ‘Petra Krause, Petra Krause . . .’, Letter to the editor, Der Bund, 25 August. Keiser, M.H. (1978) ‘Nach deutschem Strickmuster. Verteidiger-Schabernack in Pruntrut’, Die Weltwoche, 14 June. Libération (1975) ‘De Auschwitz à l’isolement dans les prisons suisses. Petra Krause dans les murs de l’histoire’, 5 November. Luzerner Tagesblatt (1978) ‘Ueber Terror und radikaliserte Frauen. Lic. Iur. Susi ThürerReber sprach bei den liberalen Luzernerinnen’, 2 March. St. Galler Tagblatt (1977) ‘Frauen der Gewaltszene. “Wenn Weiber zu Hyänen” werden . . .’, 17 September. W.W. (1977) ‘Eine schweizerische Nationalheilige’, Letter to the editor, Der Bund, 25 August.
Court and police documents BAR Swiss Federal Archives (1975) E 4320 (C), 1995/392, 307, 621, July–December 1975, Petra Krause, 20 September. Bundespolizei (1977) ‘Notiz über die mündliche Befragung der Kröcher geb. Tiedemann Gabriele’, 28 December. IISG (1978) ‘International Institute for Social History Amsterdam, Gabriele Tiedemann’, 11/2, 31 January. Obergericht des Kantons Zürich (1981) Obergericht des Kantons Zürich, 9 March, 1. Strafkammer (1981), Judgement from 9 March 1981 i.S. Staatsanwaltschaft des Kantons Zürich sowie die in der Anklageschrift geschädigten gegen Piccolo-Krause Petra, AZ. 174/80.
The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’ Claudia Derichs
The cypher ‘1968’ sounds familiar in some parts of the world, but does not immediately ring a bell in others; or perhaps the bell just rings differently, because other events are associated with the decade around and after 1968. This chapter takes the latter view and addresses 1968 as an era of global transformations with particular local shapes to the ideological underpinnings and legitimations for (violent) action. Following Dominique Grisard’s discussion of the spectacle of the female terrorist in central Europe, I will turn to the Japanese New Left – with a focus on female activists of the militant Red Army groups – and selected movements in the so-called ‘Muslim world’. I will assess women’s activism in the Japanese Red Army branches in Japan and in the Middle East, and in the Islamic resurgence movements that connected Muslim activists in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. For Japan in general and the Japanese New Left in particular, the late 1960s and early 1970s were a decade of profound changes and transition. The events of 1972 in the Japanese Alps and on international soil – the pivotal purge by the United Red Army and the suicide attack on Tel Aviv airport, Israel1 – discredited the New Left to a considerable extent and damaged its reputation lastingly in the eyes of Japan’s wider public. The New Left, its performance and activism, was now connoted with radicalism. The repercussions of that development were evident in the aftermath of the ‘triple catastrophe’ of March 2011 (the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear breakdown in Japan), when both movements against nuclear power plants and victim support groups sought explicitly to distance themselves from ‘radicalism’. It is particularly striking how the violence of the women in the United Red Army and, to a lesser extent, in the Japanese Red Army (which operated mostly in the Middle East), became triggers for denouncing violence and militancy as a means of political struggle in Japan. In other parts of Asia, the ideological landscape was more diverse than the literature on recent history might suggest (Christie 1996; Tarling 2001). Western scholars tended to ignore that apart from left and right and the Vietnam War, the region of Southeast Asia saw the rise of transnational and transregional movements in the pursuit of Islamising their societies – primarily in resistance to authoritarian regimes. The Muslim Brotherhood originated as a fundamentalist group in Egypt, drawing inspiration from thinkers such as Hassan al-Bannâ, but
Muslim movements’ struggles against authoritarian or even dictatorial regimes in the Muslim world received little attention in Western social movement research. It was only in later decades that Islamic and Islamist movements were recognised as social movements and analysed accordingly (cf. Vairel and Beinin 2011; Wiktorowicz 2004). From the perspective of Muslim nations in the period, the landscape of international relations looked quite different from the bipolar scenario of the Cold War. The 1970s in particular were a decade in which groundbreaking events influenced societies in virtually all Muslim societies around the world. Religious self-assertion frequently superseded contemporaneous women’s movements’ struggles for gender equality, putting traditional gender norms (back) in place. This chapter links the developments in the two world regions, Asia and the Middle East. While the Japanese Red Army was a prominent player in Lebanon and elsewhere, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was as a key player in Southeast Asian Muslim societies through its international branches. Against that backdrop, I argue that is it worth addressing both phenomena, the ‘New Left’ and ‘Islamic resurgence’, as movements of global outreach in the 1960s and 1970s. The chapter is structured as follows: first, I discuss the role of women as (allegedly) violent actors in the 1960s and beyond, focusing on two cases in point from Muslim and non-Muslim Asia, Indonesia, and Japan. I proceed with a reflection on what happened in the Muslim majority country of Indonesia after the left (in this case the Communist Party) was discredited by the ruling national powers. In the third part of the chapter, the case of Indonesia then serves to illustrate how transnational and transregional connections facilitated the establishment of – eventually – politically influential currents of Islamic resurgence movements. A few concluding remarks are intended to stimulate further reflection on the themes of women, violence, and religion in the left-right paradigm of the respective decades.
Violent women in the 1960s At first glance, women are not immediately associated with the actors occupying centre stage in the ‘global sixties’. A closer look, however, reveals that they played a crucial role in developments during and beyond that decade. The result, as I intend to exemplify with two case studies from Japan and Indonesia, was a demonisation and stigmatisation of women’s activism which played into the hands of forces in society who preferred to rollback history and have women comply with ‘traditional’ gender norms. I am not claiming that Japan and Indonesia were representative cases for what I describe; it may be that they were exceptional cases which happen to show similar trajectories at certain points in time. What happened in the two countries is worth examining because it shows how strong the power of hegemonic narratives can become in shaping public discourses and national identities. Japan Before attending to the case of Japan, it is interesting to recall what Wolfgang Kraushaar (2017: 149–74) has called the ‘blind spots’ of the German Red Army
The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’ 137 Faction (RAF). He points that the majority of RAF members were educated women. In the upper ranks of the organisational structure of the RAF, two women in particular, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin, provided the intellectual capacity, strategic reflection, and perseverance critical for the group’s survival. A dossier in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit from September 2016 points out that both Meinhof and Ensslin had been funded as students by a prestigious German foundation that could have provided them with the credentials to merge smoothly into Germany’s post-war intellectual elite (Die Zeit 2016). In the Japanese Red Army movement, too, the members came from high-ranking universities. They ‘were successful products of the college entrance examination system, destined like their classmates for careers in large corporations, government, medicine, or education’ (Steinhoff 1989: 725–6). And the Japanese Red Army and the United Red Army – the two groups that made up the Japanese version of a nationally and internationally operating RAF – also had women protagonists. There is no reliable information regarding the exact number of women in comparison to men, but according to Setsu Shigematsu (2012: 145), the number of female members in the United Red Army was considerable. It is legitimate to estimate that the proportion of one-third or even up to 40 percent of women comes close to the real number. For the purpose of my argument, it suffices to concentrate on those women in the Japanese Red Army and the United Red Army who played decisive roles in violent attacks against other people. Particularly in Japan it was the women members of the United Red Army who epitomised the organisation’s ‘violent threat’ to national security (Shigematsu 2012: 139f.). While the Japanese Red Army or Nihon Sekigun was a spin-off of the initial Red Army Faction (Sekigun-ha) which had been formed in Japan in 1969, the United Red Army (Rengô Sekigun) was a domestic merger in 1971 of the remaining members of Sekigun-ha (after many had been arrested in Japan and others had left the country) and another militant group called the Revolutionary Left Faction (Kakumei Saha). Internationally, the members of Nihon Sekigun or the Japanese Red Army became prominent through the first suicide attack in the Middle East in May 1972: the attack on Tel Aviv International Airport. There were other spectacular actions, such as hijackings. The close alliance between the Japanese Red Army and the Palestinian group PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) made the Red Army visible on a global scale. The best-known face of the Japanese Red Army was Fusako Shigenobu, the female leader who stayed politically active until her arrest in Japan in 2000. In Japan, the Rengô Sekigun or United Red Army went underground, and 29 members sought refuge in the Japanese Alps in late 1971. Their leadership consisted of Tsuneo Mori (a man) and Hiroko Nagata (a woman). The short life of the United Red Army ended in a battle with police forces for 10 days in the winter of 1972, when a few remaining members tried to defend themselves against arrest by taking a hostage and shooting at police from a resort building in the mountains.2 After the group’s defeat, events prior to the battle in the mountain resort were revealed. The most shocking among those revelations was that 14 members of the United Red Army had been brutally killed or beaten to death not by state forces, but by fellow members following Mori’s and Nagata’s instructions. The bodies
that were excavated showed horrible marks of torture and suffering; a 23-year-old woman, eight months pregnant, was among them. The mainstream media in Japan immediately focused on Nagata, as it stirred public outrage over how this could ever have happened. ‘The news of the purge was paralyzing, tragic, and divisive for the movement’, writes Steinhoff: ‘The New Left was thoroughly accustomed to infighting both within and between sects, and a few people had been killed in such conflicts over the years, but this was a totally different scale’ (2013: 155). Setsu Shigematsu (2012) has analysed the public reception of the ‘tragedy of Rengô Sekigun’ in general, and the attempt of the women’s movement ribu (an abbreviation for the Japanese spelling of ‘lib’ for ‘liberation’) to grapple with Nagata’s story in particular. For the media, ‘Nagata was “inhuman”, “a murdering devil”, and a “witch”’ (Shigematsu 2012: 145). She was portrayed as ‘a national object of shame and abjection’ (ibid.: 167) and as a woman who had perverted conventional gender roles (ibid.: 150). Her whole personality was considered an anomaly, pathologised, and declared inacceptable. Nagata was a ‘female monster’ who was rarely assessed in the context of her role as the leader of a political activist group (ibid.: 150). The ribu movement countered the mainstream media’s portrayal by pointing out that the stigmatisation of Nagata’s active involvement in the murders of her fellow activists was never analysed from the perspective of the structural conditions under which the ‘purge’ of her group’s members had taken place. Neither in public discourse nor in the broader feminist circles were the circumstances that accompanied violent action by a woman being discussed. It was only in the ribu current of the women’s movement that questions such as the underlying social pressure of patriarchal normativities were problematised and that ideas of an ‘alternative feminist ethics of violence’ were articulated (ibid.: 140). On the national level, the story of the United Red Army and its female leader were used to discredit any ‘radical’ or militant action committed for a political cause. Fusako Shigenobu, the Japanese Red Army’s female leader who lived in the Middle East but made headlines through the attacks carried out by her organisation in and after May 1972, never had to face the demonisation that Nagata had to face. But the fact that she operated as a terrorist organising suicide attacks and hijackings rendered her ‘unfeminine’, too. She complemented the image and narrative of the ‘dangerous female radical’ that had been so strongly nurtured in Japan. The feminist movement in Japan would address many topics in the years to come. But even today a woman committing violent acts such as those of Nagata (or Shigenobu) would not be recognised as feminist. Although Nagata published several books during her imprisonment in which she discussed not only the killings but also the issue of women’s independence and autonomy (Nagata 1982, 1983, 1990), the damage done to the public image of politically violent women did not change. After ribu faded from public attention in 1975, the Japanese feminist movement made no efforts to follow up on the former’s notion of an alternative ethics of violence. Ribu’s attempt had been to look at the conditions that led to certain actions which were deemed morally unjustifiable, pondering, for instance,
The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’ 139 that when a subject is always already constituted within, by and through a matrix of historical, structural, and systemic violence, this underarticulated historicity of violence can serve as the ontological basis and epistemic point of departure for a feminist ethics of violence. (Shigematsu 2012: 161) The discursive account of Nagata’s story reflects what Patricia Melzer (2015) has called the common sense of Western feminist discourse (and we may include Japan here in that Western discourse). Political violence committed by women does not conform to expected gender roles. It is denounced and condemned (not only by feminists) because there is felt to be no moral justification for it – although this does not mean that being a feminist equals being nonviolent (Melzer 2015: 113–15). The hegemonic, official national narrative in Japan after the Rengô Sekigun purge clearly conveyed that political violence as such is an act against the nation, and that female political violence in particular shakes the nation’s morale at its root. From the time of the mid-1970s, when the Japanese Red Army had managed to obtain the release of several imprisoned leftist activists through aeroplane hijacks, the occupation of embassies and the like, the radical left in Japan lost its credibility completely in the eyes of the general public. Reports of internal violence – fights between factions of the left – that ended in numerous deaths only matched the image that was already prevalent. And the disgust engendered in mainstream society towards violence as a means of political struggle proved long-lived. ‘[T]he negativity attached to “militant” political protest and street demonstrations’ frightened the coming generations of students’, comments Steinhoff, and The retrospective negative collective memory of the whole period of student conflict has served to reinforce the outcome in favour of social order and helped to weaken the potential for social conflict over the still unresolved issues for several decades. The mechanism for doing so has been to reduce complex contentious political events to a stream of visual images of violence with no explanation of what motivated them. (Steinhoff 2013: 158, 163) During my own fieldwork in Japan in 2013 and 2014, a few years after the triple catastrophe of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear contamination had hit the country, I came across a lively anti-nuclear movement. I saw regular demonstrations, neighbourhood initiatives to measure the contamination of food, networks of concerned mothers, and publications by medical doctors and nuclear energy experts addressing the problem of public health and security. At the same time, an ‘unwritten condition’ pervaded all of those initiatives: never will we turn to radical or militant action. The situation of the 1970s ought not to be repeated; indeed, an explicit distance from such behaviour should be kept.
Indonesia The ‘wild women’ of the communist-friendly women’s movement Gerwani suffered from a stigmatisation similar to that affecting Nagata and violent female activists of the left in Japan. The difference was that the violence the Gerwani women were accused of had never happened. After Indonesian independence in 1945, President Sukarno ruled the country. He introduced a ‘guided democracy’ that shaped the state’s politics significantly in the decade from 1955 to 1965. In the centre of this guided democracy stood a close alliance between the government, the military, and secular parties. The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) became a major player in the said decade. Sukarno was also the convenor of the Bandung Conference in 1955, an event that brought all those states together that considered themselves part of the so-called Third World and later formed the NonAligned Movement (NAM). Sukarno could be called the godfather of the NAM. In the wider circles of the comparatively liberal, secular climate in postcolonial Indonesia, a progressive women’s movement formed. The Gerwani movement (an abbreviation for Gerakan Wanita Indonesia or Indonesian Women’s Movement) strove to better the plight of women in several regards. Among other activities, Gerwani activists went to the rural areas and taught reading and writing to the many illiterate women there. Most Gerwani women were sympathetic to the PKI or even became party members. But the movement’s activities and the president’s links to communist forces were not welcome across the whole population. Susanne Schröter (2014: 81) points to the strong antagonism between Muslim and secular socialist groups in those days. Gerwani’s activities ‘focused on the reform of marriage law, the abolition of polygyny and the elimination of discrimination against women with regard to the right of inheritance’ (Schröter 2014: 82). This orientation did not meet the approval of many Muslims in Indonesia, so that the movement which counted around 1.5 million members in its heyday was often at odds with other women’s movements in the country: GERWANI was anti-imperialist and revolutionary, and had got into conflicts with not only the Muslim women’s organisations, but also with the largest nationalist women’s association PERWARI, whose members GERWANI opposed because their membership was drawn mainly from the bourgeois, intellectual elite. GERWANI cultivated a militant ideal of femininity, and its members even trained to become guerrilla fighters. (Schröter 2014: 82) That militant ideal of femininity, along with their links to the Communist Party made Gerwani women walk a tightrope even before the purge against communists took place. Anti-communism loomed in the early 1960s and peaked in the middle of the decade. Within the military in particular, resistance grew against the PKI. In 1965, the killing of six high-ranking army generals was the pretext for mass atrocities against communists that cost more than half a million lives in the months
The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’ 141 following 1 October. General Suharto, who took command of the army in the wake of his higher-ranking colleagues’ abduction, rose to the occasion and nurtured the soon-to-become official narrative that PKI members had not only murdered the generals, but were moreover about to take over the country. A particularly perfidious element of the narrative that was constructed in the aftermath of October 1965 was the allegation against a group of Gerwani women. These women, the story claimed, had castrated the generals, gouged out their eyes, and then danced wildly around the dead bodies. Soon, ‘a mass campaign of sexual slander was organized’ in which members of the progressive women’s organisation Gerwani were depicted as perpetrators of crime and disorder (Wieringa 2015: 323f.). The autopsy of the dead bodies did not reveal any sign of the alleged mutilations, but Suharto’s machinery ‘continued its political manipulation through an intensive hate propaganda campaign in order to induce the belief that Gerwani had committed atrocities against the generals including sexual torture and that the PKI was an atheist organisation’ (Wieringa 2015: 324f.). For a nation consisting of a high number of religious believers, almost 90 percent of them Muslims, the disgusting deed of the Gerwani women confirmed the impression that communists were nonbelievers and dangerous to the nation. It took only a few months to discredit and destroy Gerwani; torture, rape, and imprison real or alleged members of the movement; put them into labour camps; or otherwise humiliate and torment them. What followed was a concerted indoctrination by the new government under General Suharto, which had taken over in October 1965 and was officially recognised in 1967. Suharto ruled the country in a highly authoritarian, if not dictatorial style until 1998; the period is known as the time of orde baru or New Order. During his incumbency, gender relations were rolled back towards the ideal of mother and wife for women, called ibuisme (‘motherism’) in Indonesian.3 In a novel covering the events of 1965, Saskia Wieringa has traced the lives of some real Indonesian women who survived the fearsome violence that followed from accusations that they had themselves committed acts of politically inspired violence (Wieringa 2015). Together with others, Wieringa organised the International People’s Tribunal in The Hague in 2016 (‘Tribunal 1965’) to address the issue that one of the worst genocides of the twentieth century is still a taboo topic in Indonesia itself, and is hardly known internationally. For decades after 1965, Indonesia’s schoolchildren had to watch a film every year in which the constructed story of the ‘female monsters’ of Gerwani was shown. ‘Like any good piece of fiction’, Wieringa (2015: v) states, ‘the fantastic images created by words gained a corporeal reality through the illustrations, sculptures, and cinematic representations that haunted schools, towns, and printed media throughout the New Order era’. This concerted effort to implant the narrative of atheist communists and unfeminine women activists in the public mind nurtured a fantasy world of atheist sexual perversions. The Gerwani women who survived incarceration, rape, and torture are still stigmatised and demonised today. Finding a job or acceptance by fellow Indonesians is next to impossible – among other things, their identification documents have a stamp that depicts them as tapol: (former) political prisoners.
Like Nagata and others in Japan, the women of Gerwani in Indonesia were demonised, criminalised, and stigmatised as perpetrators of inhuman crimes that exceeded the cultural imagination of what women can do. Under Suharto’s authoritarian rule, there was no chance to initiate a public discourse deconstructing the narrative of the ‘wild women’. Even after the toppling of Suharto in 1998 and still today, the process of reviewing the official narrative, of looking back and reappraising the events of 1965 is enormously challenging. The tabooisation of the topic ‘1965’ is still in place, even though some international publicity has been achieved through various initiatives. The point that I want to make by elaborating on the two cases of Japan and Indonesia is the relative ease with which actual or alleged/constructed female political violence has been appropriated by mainstream media and state powers in order to discredit further thinking about both political violence and the feminine or femininity. In both cases, it was all too easy for supporters of a conservative, or even retrograde idea of gender relations and the role of women in society to grasp the opportunity to make a ‘good wife and wise mother’ ideology4 the hegemonic model of femininity. The subsequent paragraphs outline what that rollback meant for Indonesia (and other Muslim majority states in Southeast Asia). The return to traditional gender roles, as it happened in Indonesia, provided fertile ground for a religiously based movement to grow, which in its impact on society and politics can be compared with the New Left or 1968 movements in the West.
Islamic resurgence in authoritarian settings In view of the trajectory of the political left in Indonesia, the years following 1965 were as much of a watershed as the late 1960s elsewhere. When, as outlined above, the movement of the political left had been crushed, a vacuum had to be filled because huge parts of the country’s intellectual elite had been killed or inhibited from articulating their thoughts. Was there something like ‘the sixties’ at all in terms of political opposition to entrenched authorities? Were there organisations mobilising support for alternative ideas of justice, governance, or the good life? My argument is that there was indeed an influential movement with an impact on society and politics similar to ‘68’ in the West. But this was not a left-wing or New Left movement, but a faith-based transnational movement which was inspired by, among other things, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its international branch organisations. Suharto’s New Order regime in Indonesia subdued any religious political activity until the late 1980s, forcing political Islamic groups into illegal organisational structures. But his policy of repression, and of eradicating articulations of faith-based political interest, backfired. As Joseph Chinyong Liow (2016) has observed, Suharto’s fierce containment of Islamic political activity ‘had the effect of catalysing a vibrant Islamic intellectual milieu as Islamic social movements moved underground and into the campuses’. At the same time as political religious groups were forced to go underground, organisations performing what was acknowledged as ‘cultural Islam’ were encouraged to operate. This enabled the two Islamic mass organisations Nahdlatul
The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’ 143 Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah to recruit followers and cater to Muslims’ spiritual needs.5 Both organisations had played an active role in the massacres and atrocities against communists (Hefner 1990: 212ff.). In the sector of education, the ruling regime monitored expressions of religious identity closely, but also introduced religious instruction in schools in 1967 (Feillard and Madinier 2011: 28). Eager to prevent any translation of religious into political desires, the spiritual power of faith was meant to foster a national identity cleansed of all ‘antireligious’ features: that is, communist ideas. Some state-endorsed institutions of higher education, specifically the State Institutes of Islamic Religion or IAIN, were encouraged to train students. They followed the faculty scheme of Egypt’s famous Al-Azhar University, a symptom regretted by some scholars as too much of an ‘Azharisation’ of Islamic education outside Egypt (Bano and Sakurai 2015: 15f.). In this setting – a political left reduced to its bones, a ‘cultural Islam’ that was intended to meet people’s spiritual needs, a retrograde gender ideology following the ideal of ibusime, and a rigid, repressive regime that discouraged any expression of disloyalty towards the president and his political allies – it was not easy for protest and opposition to emerge. It was therefore understandable that Indonesian opposition activists sought models for a clandestine mobilisation against their authoritarian government. Muslim activists found such a model in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ( ﺍﺧﻮﺍﻥ ﺍﻟﻤﺴﻠﻤﻴﻦIkhwân al-Muslimîn), which was fighting an authoritarian regime under extremely difficult circumstances. Students and young people in Indonesia were attracted by the Brotherhood and by the writings of its leading thinkers.6 (Translations of their writings into Indonesian became available only in the 1980s; by then, however, the ground had been prepared for an intensified public articulation of demands that Islam should play a greater role in politics.) The spirit of Islamic resurgence that had pervaded Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries since the late 1960s facilitated a flourishing of radical Islam which multiplied in post-Suharto Indonesia. And it grew in spite of the regime’s suspicion of political religious activism. Andrée Feillard and Rémy Madinier (2011: 182) recall that, in the 1980s, ‘contrary to Marxist books, the works of these thinkers [i.e. the thinkers the Brotherhood adhered to] were not affected at all by censorship, despite the regime’s wariness with regard to militant Islamism’. Getting hold of their scripts was therefore not an illegal endeavour, but it required reliable transnational and transregional networks. These had been established by the Brotherhood’s international branches in the 1970s. Their connections facilitated the functioning of transregional networks, as did student mobility from Indonesia to the Middle East and institutional support from the Indonesian Islamic Propagation Council (DDII), which was close to Saudi Arabian (that is, firmly conservative) interpretations of religious sources. One of the more prominent Islamic student groups in Indonesia was the Muslim Students’ Organisation (Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam, HMI). Its members were connected transnationally, e.g. to fellow students in neighbouring Malaysia (cf. Derichs 2017: 73–82). While their missionary activities – called dakwah (Islamic propagation) – were tolerated by the regime for quite some time, HMI activists
were barred from campuses in the 1980s on the grounds that they had become too political. A former leader of HMI characterises the 1960s as a period of existential struggle, the 1970s as a decade of intellectualism and ambivalence, and the 1980s as a time in which the organisation refused to surrender to the pressure of the regime (Amirullah, no date). Indeed, HMI was part of the protest movement in the late 1990s that would lead Suharto to resign. Other groups striving to ‘Islamise’ the country and its politics between the late 1960s and 1980s had to act more cautiously than the Muslim Students’ Organisation. They formed discussion circles on campuses, because a mosque or similarly publicly accessible space would have been far too dangerous a locale to spread their ideas. The circles were the forerunners of prayer room meetings run by cadres of the Jamaah Tarbiyah, an Islamist formation gaining momentum in the 1980s. The cadres were usually senior students endowed with argumentative and rhetorical skills (Machmudi 2008: 108–112), and the organisational functioning of the Jemaah Tarbiyah was similar to that of New Left cadre organisations in the West. But what exactly did it mean to struggle for ‘Islamisation’? Islamisation against authoritarianism According to the sociologist Sharifa Zaleha (1998: 1), ‘Islamisation generally refers to the process by which what are perceived as Islamic values, norms, practices, and principles are given greater representation and importance in society’. Islamisation becomes ‘visible’ through intensified mosque-building and establishment of prayer houses, but also in an expansion of Islamic educational institutions, products of Islamic popular culture (music, entertainment), and a growing public awareness of an adherence to religious norms and principles (e.g. fasting, attire). Increasing numbers of pious believers who follow a certain interpretation of the religious sources (Qur’an, Sunna) demanded to be supplied with Islamically correct, i.e. halâl products, be it food, cosmetics, accessories, or other products of consumption. Due to the spread of various confessional currents within Islam, Muslims have become ‘exposed to several alternative modes of Islamic religious life’ that have offered new perspectives apart from traditional ones (Sharifa Zaleha 1998: 1). For Indonesia, Luthfi Assyaukanie (2009: x) observes that, from the early 1970s, ‘a new generation of santri Muslims emerged in the public arena, pitting their reformist ideas primarily against their santri seniors’. Santri are pious Indonesian Muslims who have mostly been educated in pesantren or Islamic boarding schools. The ‘new generation of santri Muslims was quite successful in rebutting their seniors’ arguments’ (ibid.: x). The variety of ‘ways of religious life’ from which to choose also led, unsurprisingly, to fundamentalist and radical Islamist currents. But Islamisation and the urge for Islamic resurgence (hence the ‘return’ to greater respect towards faith-based norms, rules, and principles) did not surface instantly. Like the events of ‘1968’ in the West, it was the culmination and companion of a long-held unease with the model of modernity and progress cultivated by the West.
The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’ 145 The feeling that the Muslim world lagged behind the West and had to regain strength, power, pride, and self-assertion pervaded the postcolonial decades of the 1950s and beyond in several parts of the world. Islamic resurgence embraced critiques of Western models of development, modernisation, and progress which were nurtured by a strong desire to restore Islam’s lost strength and power in the postcolonial world. ‘For it [= the Muslim world] to regain its grandeur and independence’, write Feillard and Madinier (2011: 187), the direction was to ‘look within itself for answers’. In Indonesia, where the New Order regime exerted rigorous censorship and surveillance, the repression of the Islamic political parties in the 1960s prepared the ground for Muslims to feel unjustly oppressed and persecuted. It may even have been at the root of later trends of radicalism. Along with a transnationally shared sense of the need to reject the moral decay associated with values and human behaviour in the West, the state of corruption, nepotism, and neglect in Indonesia did not remedy the bad reputation of the New Order regime. That general picture was not specific to Indonesia, but was a mood or Zeitgeist that could be found in Malaysia and many other countries suffering from unredeemed promises of justice, the ‘good life’ and economic prosperity after decolonisation. Intellectual leaders such as Nurcholish Madjid had a strong voice in promoting Islamic values in Indonesia. As president of HMI in the 1960s, he made clear that he did not believe in political parties as agents of change, stating publicly that ‘Muslim parties were an utter failure’ (Feillard and Madinier 2011: 32). At the same time, he managed to avoid persecution by the ruling powers who observed the HMI activities with scepticism. His professional career advanced rapidly after the fall of Suharto in 1998. He founded the elite university Paramadina in Jakarta and acted as its rector until his death in 2005. He and other intellectuals of his calibre exerted significant influence on the growing Muslim middle-class in Indonesia. They paved the way for Muslims’ uprising against policies and laws that were deemed to infringe on Islamic norms (e.g. the proposed marriage law of 1973).7 Irrespective of the intimidation by the state’s security forces, Islamic organisations mobilised against laws that did not conform to the requirements of their faith and made the regime back down. In the wake of these developments and the emergence of a new generation of santri Muslims, dakwah activities on campuses reflected the increasing plurality of models of Islam as a way of life, among which one could choose. Explicitly political currents such as those who found role models in the Muslim Brotherhood and transformed into the Jamaah Tarbiah movement in the 1980s were the forerunners of new Islamic and Islamist political parties after the fall of Suharto. The 1970s were nonetheless a dark period for political Islam in Indonesia. In contrast to Malaysia, where the government not only backed but actively promoted an agenda of Islamisation (Stark 1999), Indonesian Muslim political activists had to act clandestinely. However, the governments in both countries – as in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East – pursued a strategy of controlling political Islam and a ‘policy of ideological homogenisation’ (Feillard and Madinier 2011: 35) for the sake of nation-building and a shared national identity.
Women’s political activism post-1965 Indonesia saw another wave of women’s political action in the 1980s and 1990s – and another outbreak of rape and torture of women, this time directed against ethnic Chinese women. In the latter half of the 1980s, it became increasingly clear that the post-1965 ideal of motherhood and the harmonious Indonesian family was just a bleak veil covering countless cases of domestic violence. Another pressing problem was the violence against female Indonesian migrant workers abroad (in the Persian Gulf) and in the region (in Malaysia and Singapore), most of whom earned their money as domestic workers in private families. Women organised to raise awareness of these variants on violence against women. But women’s political activism in support of female victims of violence was not yet tolerated by the New Order regime. Some leaders of the activist organisations were arrested, and Marsinah, a leader emerging from the workers’ movement, was murdered in 1993 for her political activism (Schröter 2014: 83). A mass assault on women of ethnic Chinese origin in Jakarta in May 1998 was in some ways a repetition (in terms of both numbers and brutality) of what had happened to the Gerwani women in the 1960s. In an attack that was very probably planned and orchestrated by the military, hundreds of women ‘were stripped, sexually humiliated, raped and then, having suffered these tortures, often murdered’ (Schröter 2014: 84). Shortly after the attack, Suharto stepped down, giving in to the pressure of a million people who had taken to the streets demanding the end of his dictatorship. The pattern of stigmatising and crushing a particular societal community, this time the Indonesian Chinese in general and Indonesian Chinese women in particular, is another collective memory. In contrast to the aftermath of 1965, however, the post-Suharto state abstained from constructing a fictional narrative to blame the women victims. Rather than constructing a particular interpretation of why the women in Jakarta had to be raped and tortured, the democratic Indonesian state tried to embrace the national motto ‘unity in diversity’ (bhinneka tunggal ika). Consequently, it also granted ample space for the articulation and aggregation of Muslim interests. Muslim women’s organisations, who anyway outnumbered the secular women’s organisations, continued to promote piety, morality, and Islamic revival. Under democratic conditions, dakwah activities enjoyed a liberal climate in which political and cultural Islamisation could be carried out free from pressure.
Concluding thoughts In this essay, I have discussed two interrelated themes. The first is the power of (national) narratives which render unfeminine those women who turn to violent action for political purposes, demonising and stigmatising them. Such narratives mobilise allegations that these kinds of women are shaming for the nation – the moral card is played. The case of Indonesia showed that stigmatising narratives do not necessarily rely on actual and factual deeds; they are effective even when they are completely fictional. The state powers, in collaboration with mainstream
The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’ 147 media, in Indonesia as well as in Japan made the narratives of the ‘shameful woman’ productive for their own political agendas. And the negative collective memory of radicalism and its outcomes has survived to this day. Efforts in both countries to problematise women’s political violence from the perspective of the causes and effects of gender relations, gender regimes, patriarchal structures, violence against women, and structural violence, or silencing practises through tabooisation have hitherto not been fruitful. Japan’s ribu movement became marginalised when a feminist movement that was much more inspired by Western ideas of feminism gained momentum. Rather than a shared feeling of ‘sisterhood’, the ribu movement of the 1960s and 1970s and the feminist movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s were characterised by differences. As Shigematsu puts it, The political differences that demarcated the rift can be traced to ribu’s antiestablishment origins in the wake of the radicalism of the late 1960s and early 1970s in contrast to the institutionalized characteristics of academic feminism, which has arguably become the most visibly dominant form of feminism since the 1990s. (Shigematsu 2012: 171) In Indonesia, negative collective memory was built on the image of a shameful trinity of communism, anti-religiosity, and violence. Religious norms that informed practises of gender inequality and discrimination were problematised before the end of the New Order regime, but less from a political action perspective. Currents of Islamic feminism had a base in Indonesia, but were not linked with the events of the 1960s (cf. Schröter 2014). It is probably more accurate to see the emergence of various currents of Islamic feminism as a reaction – a countermovement, perhaps – to the growing influence of Islamist forces since the 1970s. The Gerwani movement’s militant ideal of femininity never advanced to become an ideal in Indonesia, as was the case with ribu’s notion of an alternative ethics of violence in Japan. The second theme of the chapter, Islamic resurgence and revival, is intimately linked to the suppression of non-conforming political activity and reflection. Islamic rather than left-wing political activism emerged as a serious political force in many Muslim majority countries in the 1970s. These Islamic movements paved the way for a social and cultural, sometimes also political Islamisation. The impacts of Islamic resurgence are plenty in contemporary Indonesia. In daily life, the trend from ‘faith to fashion’ is ongoing. Islam and religious piety have undergone a process of commercialisation, commodification, and aestheticisation, which is visible in consumers’ appreciation of material and non-material products of (spiritual) consumption. Designers of Islamic fashion fill the racks with latest models of headscarves and gowns, Muslim middle-class women prefer halâl cosmetics and handbags over conventional ones, and many seek medical treatment from doctors in tibb nabawî or the ‘medicine of the prophet’. In the corporate world, in food production and tourism, the explicit observation of Islamic norms and principles has become normal. The pilgrimage to Mecca is in high demand,
although the country quota set for each state by Saudi Arabia causes extremely long waiting lists. For those who want to reduce the waiting time for permission to travel to the holy sites, travel agencies advertise the ‘little’ pilgrimage (umrah) in the company of a celebrity. The pillars to build on in the pursuit of Islamisation were set up in the 1960s. Transnationally connected activists like the leaders of HMI, the Board of Islamic Education and Propagation – on the domestic level – or the International Islamic Federation of Student Organisations (IIFSO) – on an international level – were the multipliers of Islamic teachings and religious lessons that attracted thousands of fellow students in the country (Machmudi 2008: 114; Rudnyckyj 2010: 57). The Salman mosque in Bandung (Java) became a rallying point for the dissemination of Islamic teachings. Its most prominent preacher, Imaduddin Abdulrahim, ‘acted as a magnet for Indonesian university students in the 1970s’, writes Daromir Rudnyckyj (2010: 57) in his study of the development of Indonesia’s ‘spiritual economy’. Seminal international events such as the Iranian revolution of 1979 spurred the conviction of Muslims all over the globe that an Islamic political order was not only desirable but achievable. Islamic resurgence thus merits attention as a movement of global impact in the Muslim world, comparable in its repercussions for society and politics with the 1960s movements of the Western world.
Notes 1 During their collective hideout in the mountains between the autumn of 1971 and spring of 1972, the United Red Army (URA) leadership had urged the group to fulfil something they called ‘communist transformation’ (共産主義化 kyôsanshugika). Members who did not transform to the satisfaction of the two leaders Mori and Nagata were brutally killed by fellow members. In the course of roughly half a year, 14 URA members were murdered or died after severe beatings, torture or exposure to freezing temperatures. The public outcry was tremendous and even within the New Left, understanding for the murders was extremely limited, as I outline later in the essay. After the ‘purge’ of the URA was discovered and made public, the other Japanese branch of the Red Army in the Middle East organised the suicide attack on Tel Aviv airport in 1972 by three of their members. It was the first suicide attack in a terrorist context internationally; one of the attackers survived. 2 Detailed information on this event is available. The film United Red Army, directed by Wakamatsu Kôji and released in 2007, is a visual account of the story of the United Red Army. For scholarly works see Steinhoff (1989, 1992); Derichs (2006). 3 Ibu is the word for mother, but also a usual form to address adult women. Inherent to ibuisme is also the idea that women as mothers of the nation embody the moral purity of the nation. 4 Good mother and wise mother, or ryôsai kenbo (良妻賢母) in Japanese, was the idealised role ascribed to women in modern Japan. It was revived after World War II in different variants, although feminists and the women’s movement condemned the notion. 5 The two organisations combined count over 70 million members. 6 To those belonged Hassan al-Bannâ, the founder of the Brotherhood, Sayyid Qutb, a disciple of al-Bannâ, and Abdul A’la al-Maududi, an ideologue from Pakistan (see Feillard and Madinier 2011: 182). 7 The proposed marriage law of 1973 stipulated that Muslim marriages as well as divorces be registered and authorised by civil agencies/courts. Following massive protests by
The Japanese left and the ‘Muslim world’ 149 Muslim organisations, a renewed version of the law of 1974 gave Islamic courts the jurisdiction over registrations of marriages and divorces and cancelled the provision that allowed for inter-religious marriages.
Bibliography Amirullah, M.C. (no date) Sejarah HMI dari Zaman Kemerdekaan Sampai Reformasi [The History of HMI from National Independence to Reformasi]. Online. Available at: www. scribd.com/doc/56702444/Sejarah-HMI-Dari-Zaman-Kemerdekaan-Sampai-Reformasi (accessed 9 September 2017). Assyaukanie, L. (2009) Islam and the Secular State in Indonesia, Singapore: ISEAS. Bano, M. and Sakurai, K. (2015) ‘Introduction’, in M. Bano and K. Sakkurai (eds.), Shaping Global Islamic Discourses: The Role of Al-Azhar, Al-Madina and Al-Mustafa, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1–18. Christie, C.J. (1996) A Modern History of Southeast Asia: Decolonization, Nationalism and Separatism, London and New York: I.B. Tauris. Derichs, C. (2006) ‘Die Japanische Rote Armee’, in W. Kraushaar (ed.), Die RAF und der linke Terrorismus, vol. 2, Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 809–27. Derichs, C. (2017) Knowledge Production, Area Studies and Global Cooperation, London and New York: Routledge. Die Zeit (2016) ‘Die Uni-Akten der RAF-Terroristen’, 1 September. Feillard, A. and Madinier, R. (2011) The End of Innocence? Indonesian Islam and the Temptations of Radicalism, Singapore: National University of Singapore Press. Hefner, R.W. (1990) The Political Economy of Mountain Java, Berkeley: University of California Press. Liow, J.C. (2016) ‘ISISin the Pacific: Assessing terrorism in Southeast Asia and the threat to the homeland, Testimony’, Online 27 April. Available at: www.brookings.edu/research/ terstimony/2016/04/27-isis-southeast-asia-liow (accessed 30 November 2017). Kraushaar, W. (2017) Die blinden Flecken der RAF, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. Machmudi, Y. (2008) Islamising Indonesia: The Rise of Jemaah Tarbiyah and the Prosperous Justice Party, Canberra: Australian National University Press. Melzer, P. (2015) Death in the Shape of a Young Girl. Women’s Political Violence in the Red Army Faction. New York: NYU Press. Nagata, H. (1982 and 1990) Jûroku no bohyô. Hono to shi no seishun [16 graves: The Spring of Fire and Death], 2 vols., Tokyo: Sairyusha. Nagata, H. (1983) Onna no jiritsu o motomete [Demanding Women’s Independence], Tokyo: Kodansha. Rudnyckyj, D. (2010) Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization and the Afterlife of Development, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Schröter, S. (2014) ‘Progressive and Conservative Women’s Movements in Indonesia’, in C. Derichs (ed.), Women’s Movements and Countermovements: The Quest for Gender Equality in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 79–106. Sharifa Zaleha, S.H. (1998) ‘Islamisation in Malaysia: Religious Officials in Malaysia’, Paper presented to 2nd Euroseas Conference, Hamburg, 3–9 September. Shigematsu, S. (2012) Scream from the Shadows: The Women’s Liberation Movement in Japan, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press. Stark, J. (1999) Kebangkitan Islam. Islamische Entwicklungsprozesse in Malaysia 1981– 1995 [Kebangkitan Islam: Islamic Development Processes in Malaysia 1981–1995], Hamburg: Abera.
Steinhoff, P. (1989) ‘Hijackers, Bombers and Bank Robbers: Managerial Style in the Japanese Red Army’, Journal of Asian Studies, 48(4): 724–74. Steinhoff, P. (1992) ‘Death by Defeatism and Other Fables: The Social Dynamics of the Rengô Sekigun Purge’, in T.S. Lebra (ed.), Japanese Social Organisation, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 195–227. Steinhoff, P. (2013) ‘Memories of New Left Protest’, Contemporary Japan, 25(2): 127–65. Tarling, N. (2001) Southeast Asia: A Modern History, Oxford: Oxford University Press. ‘Tribunal 1965’. Online. Available at: www.tribunal1965.org/en/tribunal-1965/ (accessed 5 November 2017). Vairel, F. and Beinin, J. (eds.) (2011) Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa, Stanford: Stanford University Press. Wieringa, S.E. (2015) The Crocodile Hole, Jakarta: Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan. Wiktorowicz, Q. (ed.) (2004) Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’ The 1968 movement and the participation of women fighters during the Lebanese civil war* Jennifer Philippa Eggert
As Claudia Derichs indicates in the preceding chapter, the 1968 movement is most often associated with mass protests and civil disobedience in North America, Western, and Eastern Europe. The movement was nonetheless also global in scope and had, as that chapter illustrates, ramifications in many countries worldwide. The sense of an ‘explosion of freedom’ (interviewee 65) inspired individuals and organisations all over the globe. In the Middle East, Lebanon was just one of a number of countries in the region that saw a spike in workers’ protests and political demands for a more inclusive society and social justice. With their historically close links to France, many Lebanese intellectuals and activists followed developments in Europe and the US closely. Indeed, Lebanese who were studying or working abroad in the late 1960s were directly involved in the mass protests in Europe and the US. In Lebanon, workers’ strikes and demonstrations were joined by thousands, and clashes between leftist and right-wing supporters were testimony to the increasing polarisation of large parts of society. Protests became increasingly violent, and in 1975 a series of skirmishes that had begun in the late 1960s culminated in the outbreak of the first phase of the Lebanese civil war, beginning one of the longest civil wars of the region. During the war, all of the various militias involved in the fighting included women in a variety of different roles. In most of the militias, female involvement went so far as to include women in combat roles who actively participated in the fighting. As in most societies worldwide, women’s participation in combat was considered a deviance from the norm in Lebanese society (Cunningham 2003; Ness 2005; Gentry and Sjoberg 2015). However, increasing security pressures due to the outbreak of the war facilitated women’s inclusion as fighters and helped mitigate, at least temporarily, individual, organisational, and societal barriers to female participation in combat. The inclusion of female fighters was facilitated by imminent security pressures, but also by a number of cultural and historical factors during the war. One of these was the 1968 movement, which had started in the West and had spread to Lebanon mostly via students, intellectuals, and activists. Prior to and during the civil war in Lebanon, it motivated many of the local actors involved in the war to promote the inclusion of women in the various militias.
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Drawing on in-depth interviews with 69 former male and female militia members, civil society representatives, journalists, and researchers in Lebanon in 2015–16,1 this chapter analyses the extent to which the 1968 movement had an impact on women’s participation in combat during the Lebanese civil war (1975– 90). 1968 constituted an important point of reference for members of most of the militias involved in the war; but it was not the only historical rupture militia members referred to as a driving factor in the inclusion of female fighters during the civil war. For members of the leftist militias in particular, the Arab defeat by Israel in 1967 was of similar importance; and the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon in 1975 amplified the loosening of traditional gender norms since the Shihabist reforms2 in the 1960s as much as the ruptures of 1967 and 1968.
Women’s participation in the Lebanese civil war Civil war in Lebanon Stretching over 15 years, from 1975 to 1990, the Lebanese civil war was one of the longest violent conflicts in the region during the twentieth century. Almost 30 years after the end of the war, a consensus on what caused the violent conflict, which devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands, has not been reached; most analysts agree that a multitude of factors caused the outbreak of war (Winslow 1996; Abul-Husn 1998; El-Solh 2004; Mackey 2006; Traboulsi 2007; Hirst 2010). While a number of key issues can be identified, the specific aims of the different militias involved in the war varied throughout the different stages of the conflict, depending on the ‘ebb and flow of the issue in dispute’ (Abul-Husn 1998: 2–3). The Lebanese civil war is often described as an essentially religious conflict, especially in media and public discourses (Johnson 2001: 21, 23). However, while the war had indeed a sectarian dimension, most researchers contend that it was not fundamentally a religious conflict (Abul-Husn 1998: 2–3; see also Mackey 2006: 93–4). Instead, analysts stress the role that political and socio-economic factors played, such as disagreements over the political system, which favoured Maronite Christians and, to a lesser extent, Sunni Lebanese (Winslow 1996: 3; Abul-Husn 1998: 3–4, Johnson 2001: 5–7, 226; El-Solh 2004: 331–4; Mackey 2006: 95–103, 161; Hirst 2010: 89). The activities of the armed Palestinian groups present in Lebanon played a fundamental role in fuelling pre-existing tensions (Abul-Husn 1998: 131; Johnson 2001: 24; Mackey 2006: 142–61; Traboulsi 2007; Hirst 2010: 90–7). Another crucial issue was the country’s national identity and the question of whether Lebanon was (to be) part of the Arab world or closer to the West (Johnson 2001: 24; El-Solh 2004: ix, 2–9; Mackey 2006: 158). Most analysts describe two incidents as staggering events: the shooting of Marouf Saad, a local leftist politician at a protest by fishermen in the city of Saida in the south of the country in early 1975, and the armed clashes between Christian and Palestinian militia members in Ain-al-Rumaneh in East Beirut in April 1975 (Abul-Husn 1998: 2; Mackey 2009: 156). In the following 15 years, Lebanon went through several rounds of intense fighting, often with calmer periods and
‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’ 153 short truces in between. In addition to local militias, Palestinian organisations and several external actors were involved in the fighting, and Lebanon was invaded by both Israel and Syria at several points throughout the war (Abul-Husn 1998: 4; Hirst 2010: 102–3, 108; El-Solh 2004: 300–1; Mackey 2006: 247). What had started as a civil war eventually turned into a regional conflict (Hirst 2010: 102–3). The war affected different parts of the country in different ways. While some regions witnessed almost constant high-intensity fighting without any longer breaks, other parts of the country were much less affected and remained relatively calm for most of the war. Nonetheless millions of Lebanese were internally displaced, tens of thousands ‘disappeared’, and many sought refuge abroad (IDMC 2003; HRW 2015). Militias involved in the war During the later stages of the war inter-militia alliances repeatedly shifted, but at the beginning of the war there were two opposing camps, namely the Lebanese National Movement (LMN) and the Lebanese Front (LF) (El-Solh 2004: 324; Abul-Husn 1998: 3–5). The Lebanese National Movement was an alliance of mostly leftist and Arab Nationalist organisations, who fought for a new socioeconomic and political order in Lebanon and for the rights of Palestinians in Lebanon, challenging the traditional Christian Maronite dominance of the state. They believed in the Arab identity of the Lebanese state. The Lebanese Front, on the other hand, consisted of Christian militias. Within the Lebanese Front, the Lebanese Kataeb Party (or short, Kataeb) was the biggest party. Other smaller groups included Tanzim, the National Liberal Party (NLP), and the Guardians of the Cedar. At the beginning of the war, the Lebanese Front fought for the preservation of the pre-war status quo and Maronite dominance of the state, and against Palestinian (armed) presence in Lebanon. Later, some parts of the Lebanese Front fought for a separate Christian homeland. As far as the country’s national identity was concerned, the Lebanese Front believed that Lebanon’s own national identity should be prioritised over close links with its Arab neighbours – links which the Lebanese National Movement fought for and believed in. Most Lebanese Front members lobbied instead for alliances with the West in general and France in particular. Lebanon has traditionally had close links with France, which held the League of Nations Mandate for Syria and Lebanon from 1920 to 1946, and many Lebanese Christians in particular continue to be French-educated. Both the Lebanese National Movement and the Lebanese Front comprised numerous militias. Lebanese National Movement members included the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP), Communist Action Organisation (CAO), Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party (SSNP) as well as a number of other Baathist, Arab Nationalist, and leftist parties. Palestinian militias, such as the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) were also part of the Lebanese National Movement. The Lebanese Front consisted of a number of Christian organisations, of which the Kataeb Party
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was the biggest and most influential. Others included the Tigers Militia, Tanzim, and the Guardians of the Cedar. Later, the Christian militias were reunited in the Lebanese Forces. After the outbreak of war in 1975 a third type of military actor arose, in addition to the Lebanese National Movement and the Lebanese Front, when it emerged that the Shia-dominated Movement of the Dispossessed, which had been founded one year prior to the beginning of the civil war in 1974, had established its own militia (Norton 1987). The newly founded Amal Movement was not formerly a member of the Lebanese National Movement. However, the two movements were politically close and, at the beginning of the war, Amal coordinated its military activities with the Lebanese National Movement (AbulHusn 1998: 4). These were the alliances at the beginning of the war. During the later stages of the conflict, however, many former allies started fighting against each other. As a result, the later phases of the war were characterised by brutal fighting within the former alliances, and even within single organisations (Winslow 1996: 251, 254–65; Mackey 2006: 250–6; Hirst 2010: 207–8, 233–6). At the beginning of the 1980s, a new group of armed non-state actors with a distinct religious agenda emerged, of which Hezbollah may be the most well known and influential (Norton 2007). Women’s roles in the militias Women played an integral part in all of the militias involved in the Lebanese civil war. They assumed a range of different roles in medical aid, communications, administration, intelligence, and logistics, among other areas. Overall, women comprised up to 60 percent of all militia members in some groups. In most militias, women also assumed combat roles. It is difficult to give exact figures, since secrecy and lack of organisation are key characteristics of many non-state armed groups (interviewees 2, 7, 8). If they existed, archives were often destroyed during the war or in the years after (interviewees 2, 44). It is estimated that women comprised up to 15 percent of all fighters in the various militias involved in the war. The percentage was highest in the militias of the far left, such as the Lebanese Communist Party, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Communist Action Organisation, which had a distinctively secular agenda. Those militias that were influenced by both religious and secular thinking, such as Fatah and Kataeb, also included women fighters, although at a lower percentage than in the militias of the far left. Only a minority of militias, such as the Progressive Socialist Party and the Beirut-based Mourabitoun did not include any female fighters. In Amal, women were not involved in the fighting against any of the other militias, but female Amal fighters were deployed against Israel when its army invaded large part of the south of Lebanon in 1978 (interviewees 50, 63). As in most other conflicts worldwide (Henshaw 2016), during the Lebanese civil war as well, women were motivated to join the militias due to imminent security pressures and perceived injustice. In the case of the Lebanese National Movement militias, women (and men) joined the fight in order to defend the rights of Palestinians and other marginalised groups in Lebanon and
‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’ 155 to bring about wider sociopolitical change. The members of the Lebanese Front fought to defend the pre-war status quo of Maronite domination of the state, also in order to defend their communities. The women of Amal who fought from 1978 assumed combat roles to counter the external invader Israel. They considered Israel the ‘absolute Evil’ and the fight against its army a religious right and duty (interviewees 33–40, 50, 58, 63). The women fighting in the Lebanese civil war came from a variety of different backgrounds. Many of them were young and single, had previously been involved in nonviolent political activism, and had personal ties to militia members prior to joining.
Wind of change: Lebanon in the 1960s and 1970s To a certain extent, the inclusion of female militants in the various militias involved in the Lebanese civil war was a result of developments affecting Lebanese society in the 1960s and 1970s. It was a time of increasing political activism and reform in large parts of Lebanon, especially but not exclusively in the bigger cities. Many residents of Lebanon saw an opportunity for political change and a more secular and just society and state. The Lebanese Republic was still young at the time and independence from the French, which had been formally gained in 1943, relatively recent. Under President Sham’un, who was in power from 1952 to 1958, the country had gone through a period of economic prosperity, semi-authoritarian rule, and sociopolitical tensions which had culminated in the insurrection of 1958 (Traboulsi 2007: 129–38). Backed by American troops who had landed on the Lebanese shore to reinstate order and defend the US’s interests in the region, a new president was elected (Traboulsi 2007: 137–8). President Fu’ad Shihab was a former commander of the Lebanese Army. Unlike Sham’un, who had prioritised Lebanon’s relations with the West, Shihab sought a more neutral position for the country in the region and beyond (Traboulsi 2007: 139). During the first two years of his term, President Shihab focused on ‘defusing tensions, appealing for a return to national unity, and insisting on equality between the Lebanese’ (Traboulsi 2007: 139). From 1960 onwards, Shihab called for social reforms and a new society, built on social justice and egalitarianism (Traboulsi 2007: 139–40). Shihab’s presidency was not without flaws. ‘[S]ocial conflicts were contained and the trade unions controlled by the intelligence agencies: there were practically no labour strikes during Shihab’s mandate’, comments Traboulsi (2007: 142). When social tensions turned into political violence, uprisings were suppressed resolutely. The aborted Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party coup d’état of 1961–62 was followed by mass arrests and torture of detainees in the country’s detention centres and prison. Shihab did not question the sectarian basis of the Lebanese political system as such. His aim was to reach sectarian equilibrium and improve economic and social justice within the system, rather than shunning the sectarian principle as a whole (Traboulsi 2007: 140–1). Nevertheless, the Shihabist reforms caused sustainable, far-reaching change in Lebanon. The state notably prioritised regional development, including new roads, water, and electricity services for remote villages, and
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hospitals and pharmacies for rural areas (Traboulsi 2007: 142). Another priority area was the development of public education. The Lebanese University, where teaching was in Arabic and education was free, opened up new possibilities for a generation of middle- and lower middle-class Lebanese. The number of Lebanese who sent their children to universities in Western Europe, the Soviet Union, or its Eastern European allies also increased (ibid.). In this sociopolitical climate, many saw an opportunity for political change. In the 1960s, the country witnessed a ‘nearly uninterrupted series of strikes and protest movements’ (Traboulsi 2007: 146). In the early 1970s, student demonstrations with up to 25,000 protesters became ‘an everyday scene in Beirut and major cities’ (Traboulsi 2007: 171). In the words of one interviewee, ‘a lot of people [. . .] started to make demands. The government gave [them] some rights and started to respond. People started to realise they have rights and can make demands’ (interviewee 32). Traditional gender norms and expectations were one of the areas addressed by activists of that time. While Lebanon in general, and Beirut in particular, were often perceived to be an island of relative freedom in the Arab world, it remained a relatively gender-conservative society. During the 1960s and 1970s, this started to slowly change as women increasingly entered the workforce and activist circles, especially in big factories, at universities, and in schools, political parties, and activist groups (interviewee 12). In the words of a former female military commander in the Lebanese Communist Party, large parts of society were mobilised during this period, including women. She described the involvement of women as a gradual process, which developed over several years, like this: Everyone did [get involved in political activism], workers et cetera, and the women started, too. Women were in all parties [. . .]. This was in the 1970s. Before that, women were in the charities. There was no on/off button, but [it was] an accumulation of 10 years of demands for rights. (interviewee 32) Women were actively involved in many of the labour strikes of the time, spearheading some of them (Abisaab 2010). This had an impact on gender relations, at least in some parts of society such as the activist circles from which many of the militia fighters (and commanders) were recruited once the civil war started in 1975. A former male military commander with the CAO described the situation in activist circles at the time as follows: The mood was an explosion of freedom and very liberal relations between men and women and [of] women breaking many societal rules. Even in the [relatively gender-conservative] PSP, that was the word. [ . . . ] Society, by that time, had been shedding lots of traditions. (interviewee 65)
‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’ 157
The impact of the 1968 movement During this time of societal change in the 1960s and 1970s, the 1968 movement was one of several factors which impacted the slow shift towards a more genderprogressive society in Lebanon. The movement served as an inspirational factor and reference point for many Lebanese activists at the time. It influenced supporters both of the leftist and of the Christian militias, in different ways and for different reasons. Intellectuals in particular were influenced by the 1968 movement (interviewee 48); many Lebanese had studied abroad, and the relatively high number of Lebanese with knowledge of (at least some) French or English further helped to spread the concepts and ideas that 1968 stood for. This feeling of a close relationship between Lebanon, or rather Beirut, and the European cities was expressed by one former male Lebanese Communist Party fighter, who described his sense that ‘Beirut is like Europe, Lebanon is not like Syria, Palestine, Jordan, it’s very mixed’ (interviewee 23). Contemporary Beirut is of course an extremely diverse city, where some parts indeed feel a bit ‘like (Western) Europe’ whereas others look much more like many other big cities of the region; but this interviewee’s perception of it as quasi-European illustrates what some Lebanese (and foreign visitors of Beirut) feel: that Beirut is somehow different from other Arab cities, more diverse, and, at least superficially and in some regards, closer to Western cities and their lifestyles. This relatively close relation to the West could also be felt in the 1960s and 1970s, at least by the privileged and educated. In the words of another interviewee, ‘1968 was a cultural movement, people were aware of what was going on in Paris or London’ (interviewee 7; see also interviewee 19). One former female fighter argued that it felt like ‘the world had changed a bit’, (interviewee 11) – and just as in the West, where the 1968 movement had started, this promise for change could also be felt in Lebanon. The percentage of female fighters was highest in the organisations of the far left, such as the Lebanese Communist Party, Communist Action Organisation, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The ideological proximity of the militias of the left to the ideas and organisations that dominated the 1968 movement in the West facilitated female participation in the leftist organisations in Lebanon. Many members of the leftist militias saw their fight in Lebanon as part of a wider movement influenced by 1968-inspired ideas. Former fighters interviewed as part of this study said they were inspired by anti-colonialist and communist movements in Vietnam, Latin America and Europe (interviewees 18, 31). Lebanese and Palestinian militias involved in the civil war in Lebanon had direct links with other leftist organisations and regimes, such as China, the Soviet Union, Cuba, and the German groups responsible for the terrorist attacks in West Germany in the 1970s. Fatah and other Lebanese National Movement– affiliated groups conducted training camps and official visits, including of groups of women, to Russia, China, and Cuba (interviewees 1, 13, 31, 32). Indeed, in some of the Lebanese militias, such as the Lebanese Communist Party, it was rare to find any party official who had not been on an official visit to Russia
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(interviewee 32). Leftist organisations involved in the war also maintained relations with similarly minded groups in Western Europe. Many of them were parts of wider, international networks, just as many of the Lebanon-based Arab Nationalist parties were members of a regional network of other Arab Nationalist organisations (interviewees 13, 21). The Lebanese Communist Party, for example, was linked to other communist parties abroad, including in Europe. This directly affected the LCP’s decision-making and behaviour, in that practices implemented by its allies abroad were mimicked in Lebanon. For example, one former female LCP commander remembered how, directly inspired by the Communist Party in France, the Lebanese Communist Party started organising groups working on women’s rights and in hospitals (interviewee 32). The Christian militias did not share as many ideological characteristics with the 1968 movement as the leftist organisations operating in Lebanon. However, the close cultural relationship of large parts of the Lebanese Christian community with France facilitated a diffusion of 1968-inspired concepts and ideas amongst many Lebanese Christians. This diffusion of some of the values 1968 stood for was one of the factors facilitating female participation in the Christian militias. Several interviewees believed that, due to their cultural proximity to the West in general and France in particular, the Christian community and militias were more influenced by the 1968 movement than other members of Lebanese society at the time (interviewees 12, 19). Nonetheless the extent to which inter-community variation in communal acceptance of female participation during the civil war existed was contested by interviewees. Ten interviewees believed that Lebanese Christians were more gender-progressive than Lebanese Muslims (interviewees 2, 9, 11, 12, 19, 22, 28, 45, 57, 66). These views were challenged by the belief of 11 others, who contended that gender-restrictive views were widespread among both Lebanese Muslims and Christians (interviewees 6, 7, 12, 20, 28, 41, 48, 51, 56, 60, 62). While the two positions might seem contradictory at first, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. It is possible that levels of gender-conservatism were generally high in all communities in Lebanon, with slightly lower levels amongst Christians. Some interviewees linked the variation in communal acceptance of female participation to different levels of education: They [the Christian community] were more open-minded, more determined [. . .]. They had been sending their children to school. They had read more and were fully educated, [whereas] many people in [the Shia-dominated suburb of] Dahiye had come to Beirut from the countryside. When you, as a human being, start thinking about freedom and revolution and what it takes to get this freedom [you are more determined] [. . .]. The Christians knew the idea of freedom, maybe their fathers or brother had taught them about it. (interviewee 4; see also interviewees 14, 25, 62) This interviewee did not specifically mention the 1968 movement, but the fact that ideas of freedom, equality, and revolution, which were at the very heart of the
‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’ 159 1968 movement, influenced and inspired many Lebanese Christians was put forward by other interviewees (interviewees 12, 19). On the other hand, in the case of Muslim community and militants, interviewees believed that a solid religious education helped prevent female participation. They saw this as one of the reasons for higher levels of female involvement in the war amongst Shia communities since they tended to have lower levels of (religious) education (interviewees 12, 29). However, religious education is unlikely to be the only explanatory factor in this context. The fact that the Shia community was one of the most marginalised communities before the war is likely to have played an equally if not more important role in the mobilisation of Shia women (and men). As far as class is concerned, it was contested by interviewees which role it played in the mobilisation of female militants and fighters. On the one hand, a middle-class background, which often came with higher levels of education and exposure to European culture and history, was seen by some as conducive to female participation (interviewees 4, 14, 25, 62). On the other hand, most fighters, male and female, were from working-class and rural or deprived suburban areas (interviewees 1, 2). Many of them had been working outside the house, on tobacco fields or in factories, so working alongside men in the militias was a less drastic step for them to take (interviewees 12, 65; see also Abisaab 2010). In addition to class, education, and religion, interviewees also described a rural/ urban divide in female participation in the militias during the war, and the acceptance thereof. The Mountain was often perceived as one of the most socially conservative areas of Lebanon at the time. However, within the Mountain variation existed, and general attitudes in the Matn, an area much closer to the city of Beirut and more affected by the war, were considered less gender-conservative than, for example, attitudes in the Shouf region in the Mountain. Most cities were considered to be more open to female participation, especially if the fighters came from other parts of the country. Saida in the South was an exception in this regard, as the city was considered more gender-conservative than most other major cities. The regions of the country most open to female participation in the militias were Beirut and villages in the South. Near the border with Israel, these villages were more affected by the regular incursions and bombings by the Israeli army (interviewees 24, 29, 30). The lower levels of religious education, compared to the cities, also made southerners more receptive to leftist concepts and ideas (interviewees 1, 12, 29). Lastly, as mentioned above, class and previous female inclusion in the working force in the south played a role (interviewees 12, 32).
Regional rupture and the outbreak of civil war: 1967 and 1975 While the 1968 movement was an important motivational factor for many activists in Lebanon in the 1960s and 1970s, for many members of the leftist and Arab Nationalist militias the Arab defeat against Israel in 1967 also played a major role. The 1967 defeat came unexpectedly to many Arabs in the region (Traboulsi 2007: 153), and it played a major part in the subsequent radicalisation and mobilisation of activists. Israel’s victory against the Arab armies convinced many militants that,
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to bring about sustainable change, society – rather than the recently defeated state leadership – needed to get involved in the struggle for Arab self-determination and independence (interviewee 14; see also Traboulsi 2007: 170). Moreover, the 1967 defeat contributed to shaping an environment for further polarisation and the escalation of already existing tensions in the political arena within Lebanon. The increasing numbers of Palestinian fighters who entered Lebanes territory after the 1967 war, especially in the south and along the Syrian-Lebanese border, were one triggering factor. The Palestinian fighters used Lebanese territory as a base to launch their raids against Israel. Shocked by the defeat of 1967, large parts of the Lebanese population welcomed them favourably (Traboulsi 2007: 153). Many young Lebanese joined the Palestinian fighters (Traboulsi 2007: 153). Soon, however, clashes between the Lebanese army and the Palestinian armed groups and their supporters started to break out (Traboulsi 2007: 154–5). These were exacerbated by Israeli attacks on Lebanese targets, such as the airport of Beirut in December 1968. The attacks were carried out in retaliation for military actions by Palestinian groups, like the hijacking of an El-Al aeroplane to Greece by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, but targeted Lebanese infrastructure; they were often disproportional to the provocation (Traboulsi 2007: 154). As far as the role of women within political organisation in Lebanon was concerned, the disillusion of many Lebanese activists and their lack of belief, after 1967, in the state’s ability to bring about change led militants to focus their hopes on non-state groups and society-led political action instead (interviewee 14, a male former Lebanese National Movement fighter). The atmosphere created by this focus on society was yet another factor facilitating the inclusion of women in non-state political organisations. The more leftist political action in Lebanon was presented, and perceived, as a struggle encompassing all of society, the more conducive the situation became to the participation of all members of society, including women. This notion became more established in 1975, when the series of violent incidents the country had been afflicted with since the 1960s culminated in the outbreak of the first phase of a full-fledged war. The two main camps at the beginning of the war, the Lebanese National Movement and the Lebanese Front, were involved in the conflict for different reasons. The militias of the left perceived their involvement as part of the struggle for change they had been fighting for since the 1960s (interviewee 28, 31, 32, 46, 51, 52, 53, 62, 65). The urgency of this fight, and the fact that it was perceived by leftist militants as a ‘revolution’, called for the involvement of all members of society, including unconventional fighters such as women. The Christian militias united in the Lebanese Front, on the other hand, perceived their involvement in the war to be a fight for survival. A minority in numbers both in Lebanon and in the wider region, they felt increasingly threatened. The influx of Palestinian refugees and fighters in particular was perceived as a threat both to the Christian Maronite domination of the Lebanese state and the very existence of Christians in Lebanon (interviewees 11, 16, 25, 45, 55, 56, 59, 66). While the motivations for their involvement in the war differed
‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’ 161 considerably, both the fight for the ‘revolution’ by the militias of the left, and for ‘survival’ by the Christian organisations, warranted the inclusion of all members of society in the fighting force. The perceived threat motivated both individuals and organisations to include women as fighters in the militias (interviewees 1,7, 8, 11, 14, 16, 18, 22, 23, 25, 28, 31, 32, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 59, 62, 65, 66). It also lowered societal barriers to the inclusion of female fighters, as will be discussed in the following section. The fact that many, if not most, fighters in the war came from those areas most affected by the fighting highlights that perceived security pressures were at least as, if not more, important than ideology and ideas such as 1968-inspired concepts and values.
The contestation of 1968-inspired ideas and concepts While the 1968 movement was an inspiration to many during the Lebanese civil war and one of the factors facilitating female inclusion in the militias, 1968-inspired ideas and concepts were contested both in the militias and wider society. It was particularly the case with regard to a liberalisation of gender relations as called for by the 1968 movement. Contestation of 1968-inspired thinking occurred in the militias of the left as well as in more right-wing and conservative militias such as the members of the Lebanese Front. One former Lebanese Communist Party fighter, a woman who was fighting with the militia in different parts of the country, remembered that even in the LCP, which was the most progressive militia when it came to gender equality and women’s inclusion, the implementation of what the party officially stood for was not always easy. In the party, it was OK. But the men are also from this society, so sometimes they forget [to fully include the women]. They were very nice to women but sometimes [. . .] they forget and are very sorry and apologise [she laughs]. If you believe in something, you cannot live directly [immediately] like that, as you thought [about it in theory]. (interviewee 31) This fighter’s experience illustrates how even in the militias of the left, which officially adhered to gender equality, the influence of a relatively gender-conservative society could still be felt. Regardless of their personal beliefs, the members of the militias were still socialised in Lebanese society and affected by its gender norms and expectations. Some militia members also directly opposed female participation in combat. This was less the case in the militias of the far left, such as the Lebanese Communist Party, Communist Action Organisation, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and more so in the militias affected by both secular and religious thinking, like Fatah and Kataeb. A former Fatah fighter remembers vivid discussions he had with female members of his group. He believed that the inclusion of female fighters was counterproductive to the group’s long-term
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goals. Instead, he argued for a tactical adoption of more conservative-gender norms within the group: I entered a dialogue with the women in my group. You have to decide whether you want to act as liberated women or do you want to liberate the Palestinian women. The way you do things will not encourage ordinary fighters to include his sister, mother et cetera in the fight. They will not accept them smoking, mixing with men, no difference with men. Your problem is that you remain a minority, you don’t add anything to [do anything for] the women, on the contrary. We have to go backwards a few steps to get thousands of women to join the fight, and act more conservatively. [. . .] Don’t talk about liberating women, you are liberating yourselves. I prefer a thousand women developed only one step in the political area rather than seeing 10 women act as ordinary fighters. (interviewee 20) In this former fighter’s view, gaining the respect and support of the masses was more important than the immediate liberation of a few from traditional gender norms and expectations. He saw a tension between what he considered ‘imported’ concepts, which remained foreign to large parts of the local Lebanese (and Palestinian) communities: ‘Leftist intellectuals imported ideas of equality between men and women from Western ideology. But this picture is not accepted by the people. And any revolutionary isolated from the people is weak’ (interviewee 20). Similar debates took place in the Christian militias. A former military leader, a man who used to fight with Kataeb, remembers debates about how to include women in the party and militia and whether to form gender-segregated units or let women participate in the mainstream party units: Before the war, we had a [separate] unit for the women. Some used to say, ‘Why is there different offers for women? They should be mixed’. Some say they should be divided. I don’t know what’s good, what’s not good. If we mix it, the woman disappears. The oriental mentality destroys the role of the women. (interviewee 57) Moreover, some Kataeb leaders were decidedly against the inclusion of women in combat roles. One former female fighter, for example, remembered how Pierre Gemayel, the founder of the Kataeb Party, fundamentally opposed female participation in combat: As far as mentalities were concerned, it was a very traditional party. Pierre Gemayel saw me two or three times from afar in a training camp, and he asked, ‘Is this a girl or a boy?!’ It disturbed him. He was very happy when we changed that [and women’s contribution started to mostly shift towards
‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’ 163 non-combat roles] – he called me three times [to express his joy and approval]! The president of the women’s office of Kataeb was also very reluctant vis-àvis our role as combatants. One time, during a meeting, she told me, ‘You are not the kind of female model that we want to promote to future generations’. (interviewee 19) In addition to internal opposition to the inclusion of women in combat roles, large parts of society were against women’s participation in combat (interviewees 1, 6, 22, 26–8, 31, 53, 54, 60, 62; see also Duplan and Raulin 2015: 47). As in many other conflicts, when faced with considerable security pressures during the war, this reluctance to allow female employment decreased temporarily (Cunningham 2003, 2008; Ness 2005; Dearing 2010). Overall societal barriers to the full inclusion of women in the militias remained relatively high, however. The militias involved in the war were aware of societal opposition to female participation, and most of them tried to manage communal gender expectations in one way or another (interviewees 1, 6, 18, 20, 22). As discussed with regards to other conflict contexts (see, for example, Eager 2008: 139), the militias aimed at establishing trust with local communities, while ‘defending some ideas that could be accepted [by society] step by step’ (interviewee 18). The militias’ strategies to reconcile their aim to include female fighters with conflicting communal gender norms and expectations included both practical and narrative steps. On the practical level, the militias promoted what was considered good behaviour of their members (interviewees 6, 18, 22, 29; see also Duplan and Raulin 2015: 54, 84): for example, a former Lebanese Communist Party member recounted that ‘the Communist Party used to do their best to please other communities, to set a good example and to show that they fight for a good cause. [. . .] They didn’t steal, rob’ (interviewee 22). Militias dealt with communal concerns about unchaperoned mixing of male and female militia members by providing gender-segregated eating and sleeping facilities (interviewees 20, 41, 44, 58; see also Duplan and Raulin 2015: 39). Another strategy was to show members of the community around the military camps and bases to alleviate fears of unrestricted gender relations and immoral behaviour (interviewee 6). On a narrative level, female participation in the war was reframed and contextualised by the militias. This strategy is often used by non-state armed actors in order to justify and legitimise the inclusion of women in the eyes of the community, and is described by existing literature on other conflict contexts (Cunningham 2003: 180–1; Bloom 2005: 160; Dearing 2010: 1081–4; Ness 2005: 354–5; Eager 2008: 139). In the case of the Lebanese civil war, the militias’ strategy to legitimise female participation by narrative means mostly focused on imminent security pressures and perceived injustices, as highlighted in the first section of this chapter. In the case of Amal, religious references to women fighting during the early years of Islam were also invoked (interviewees 33–40, 50, 58,). In most of the militias, the percentage of female fighters was highest during the first round of the war, which lasted from 1975–76. In the later stages of the war,
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women’s participation as fighters remained relatively low. An exception was the percentage of female fighters in the Lebanese National Movement militias, which rose considerably in 1982 when Israel invaded large parts of the country, including Beirut. Except for this increase due to an escalating security situation, the number of female fighters decreased considerably after the first round of the war, in the context of an increasing emphasis on sectarian identities, Islamist ideas, and intra-group fighting. In the words of a former military leader with the Communist Action Organisation, people realised that ‘what [had] looked like an opportunity for political change turned into civil war’, and a particularly gruesome one at that (interviewee 65). The 1968-inspired ideals such as gender equality were sidelined vis-à-vis the more materialistic aims of many of the militias which, de facto, turned into quasi-criminal corporations (interviewees 5, 7, 50). This put off many women and activists of the first hour, who had joined the militias for idealistic reasons. Moreover, the militias had more time to organise after the first round of the war, during which women’s participation in the fighting was led by security concerns and often described as spontaneous, especially by members of the Christian militias (interviewees 19, 44, 55, 57, 59, 60, 65, 66).). Increasing organisation led to a further exclusion of women from combat roles in militias that had been divided on female participation in the first place, such as Kataeb. As in most other conflicts, women were excluded from official peace talks in Lebanon, and remained marginalised and excluded from most political roles in Lebanese society (Khalife 2009; Stamadianou 2012; Khoury 2013; Hussein 2017). While, then, inspired by the 1968 movement and local labour action, ‘the mood’ may have been ‘an explosion of freedom’ in (parts of) 1960s and 1970s Lebanese society (interviewee 65), fast-forward to 2018 and Lebanon, like so many countries in the region and beyond, still has a long way to go to achieve gender equality.
List of quoted interviewees Interviewee 1, male former Lebanese Communist Party fighter Interviewee 2, male former Kataeb/Lebanese Forces official Interviewee 4, civil society representative Interviewee 5, journalist Interviewee 6, female former Communist Action Organisation commander Interviewee 7, researcher Interviewee 8, male former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine fighter Interviewee 9, male former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine fighter Interviewee 11, female former Tanzim fighter Interviewee 12, civil society representative Interviewee 13, male former fighter with Palestinian groups Interviewee 14, male former Lebanese National Movement fighter Interviewee 16, female former Lebanese Forces militant Interviewee 18, male former Fatah fighter
‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’ 165 Interviewee 19, former female Kataeb fighter and commander Interviewee 20, male former Fatah fighter Interviewee 21, male former Communist Action Organisation fighter Interviewee 22, male former Lebanese Communist Party fighter Interviewee 23, male former Lebanese Communist Party fighter Interviewee 24, journalist Interviewee 25, female former Kataeb militant Interviewee 26, journalist Interviewee 27, male former Lebanese Communist Party fighter Interviewee 28, male former Lebanese Communist Party fighter Interviewee 29, male former Lebanese Communist Party fighter Interviewee 30, male former Lebanese Communist Party militant Interviewee 31, female former Lebanese Communist Party fighter and commander Interviewee 32, female former Lebanese Communist Party commander Interviewees 33 and 34, male Amal militants Interviewees 35–40, female Amal militants Interviewee 41, female former Kataeb militant Interviewee 44, female Kataeb Party official Interviewee 45, male former National Liberal Party fighter Interviewee 46, male former Lebanese National Movement militant Interviewee 47, female former Lebanese Communist Party militant Interviewee 48, former Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party fighter Interviewee 50, male Amal militant Interviewee 51, male former PSP fighter Interviewee 52, female former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine/PLO militant Interviewee 53, female Progressive Socialist Party party official Interviewee 54, male former Lebanese Communist Party fighter and commander Interviewee 55, male former Kataeb/Lebanese Forces fighter Interviewee 56, male former Kataeb/Lebanese Forces party official Interviewee 57, male former Kataeb fighter and commander Interviewee 58, male former Amal fighter Interviewee 59, male former Kataeb/Lebanese Forces fighter Interviewee 60, male former National Liberal Party commander Interviewee 62, female former Communist Action Organisation militant Interviewee 63, former female Amal fighter Interviewee 65, male former Communist Action Organisation commander Interviewee 66, female former Kataeb fighter
Notes * This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) [grant number 1359937] and the Council for British Research in the Levant. 1 The interviews were conducted as part of a four-year project on organisational motivations for the inclusion of female fighters in the various non-state armed groups involved
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in the Lebanese civil war. All interviews were conducted by the author. Circa one-third of interviews were conducted in French, one-third in English, and one-third in Lebanese Arabic (with interpretation). 2 Named after Fouad Shihab, President of the Lebanese Republic from 1958 to 1964, the Shihabist reforms were designed to promote social development and socio-political change in Lebanon.
Bibliography Abisaab, M. (2010) Militant Women of a Fragile Nation, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. Abul-Husn, L. (1998) The Lebanese Conflict: Looking Inward, Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Bloom, M. (2005) Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror, New York: Columbia University Press. Cunningham, K.J. (2003) ‘Cross-Regional Trends in Female Terrorism’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 26(3): 171–95. Cunningham, K.J. (2008) ‘The Evolving Participation of Muslim Women in Palestine, Chechnya, and the Global Jihadi Movement’, in: Cindy Ness (ed.), Female Terrorism and Militancy. Agency, Utility, and Organization. Abingdon: Routledge, 84–99. Dearing, M. (2010) ‘Like Tulips at Springtime: Understanding the Absence of Female Martyrs in Afghanistan’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 33(12): 1079–103. Duplan, N. and Raulin, V. (2015) Jocelyne Khoueiry l’Indomptable, Paris: Le Passeur. Eager, P.W. (2008) From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists: Women and Political Violence, Abingdon: Routledge. El-Solh, R. (2004) Lebanon and Arabism, 1936–1945: National Identity and State Formation, London: I.B. Tauris. Gentry, C.E. and Sjoberg, L. (2015) Beyond Mothers, Monsters, Whores: Thinking about Women’s Violence in Global Politics, London: Zed Books. Henshaw, A.L. (2016) Why Women Rebel: Understanding Women’s Participation in Armed Rebel Groups, Abingdon: Routledge. Hirst, D. (2010) Beware of Small States: Lebanon, Battleground of the Middle East, London: Faber and Faber. Human Rights Watch (HRW) (2015) Lebanon: Establish National Commission on Disappearances. Online. Available at: www.hrw.org/news/2015/08/28/lebanon-establish-nationalcommission-disappearances (accessed 2 August 2017). Hussein, W. (2017) The ‘Female Quota’ in Lebanon: A Temporary Solution to a Chronic Political Problem. Online. Available at: https://lb.boell.org/en/2017/02/17/female-quotalebanon-temporary-solution-chronic-political-problem (accessed 2 August 2017). Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) (2003) Profile of Internal Displacement: Lebanon. Online. Available at: www.internal-displacement.org/middle-east-and-northafrica/lebanon/2003/profile-of-internal-displacement-lebanon (accessed 2 August 2017). Johnson, M. (2001) All Honourable Men: The Social Origins of War in Lebanon, London: I.B. Tauris. Khalife, N. (2009) ‘A Woman’s Place, in Lebanon’. Online. Available at: www.hrw.org/ news/2009/07/02/womans-place-lebanon (accessed 2 August 2017). Khoury, D. (2013) ‘Women’s Political Participation in Lebanon’. Online. Available at: www.boell.de/en/2013/07/25/womens-political-participation-lebanon (accessed 2 August 2017).
‘The mood was an explosion of freedom’ 167 Mackey, S. (2006) Lebanon: A House Divided, New York: W. W. Norton. Ness, C.D. (2005) ‘In the Name of the Cause: Women’s Work in Secular and Religious Terrorism’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 28(5): 353–73. Norton, A.R. (1987) Amal and the Shia: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon, Austin: University of Texas Press. Norton, A.R. (2007) Hezbollah: A Short History, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Stamadianou, V. (2012) ‘Women, Participation and Peace in Lebanon’, Accord, 24: 30–1. Online. Available at: www.c-r.org/downloads/Accord24_WomenParticipationandPeace. pdf (accessed 2 August 2017). Traboulsi, F. (2007) A History of Modern Lebanon, London: Pluto Press. Winslow, C. (1996) Lebanon: War and Politics in a Fragmented Society, Abingdon: Routledge.
10 Women of Jihad Daniela Pisoiu
As the preceding chapters in this volume have collectively shown, the long 1960s brought about profound social and cultural changes. Achievements of the ‘cultural revolution’ (Marwick 1998) in this period include black civil rights, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, relaxation in censorship, a new feminism, gender equality policies, and changing attitudes to sexuality and contraception. While these rights and values still enjoy wide support in Western Europe, they are also being radically challenged by certain political actors. In the US and in European countries, the last few decades have seen the rise of radical right-wing parties demanding a return to traditional gender norms. At first sight, contemporary Salafi and jihadi movements and groups also seem to be challenging the ‘heritage of 1968’ (Gordon 2010: 67). Arguably, however, these developments cannot be conceptualised simply as a return to a time before the 1960s, but rather need to be investigated as contemporary phenomena, and with a view to the active role that women are playing in them. In this chapter I explore the role women play in the jihadi movement, including militant jihad. Women supporters of jihadi groups in Western Europe have mobilised against what one might call the Western normative order in transnational online communities of supporters of the jihadist armed group known as ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ (commonly referred to as ISIS or IS). Some go as far as to leave their friends and family in Europe behind to support ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq. According to the latest updates, at the time of writing around 4,000 Western foreign fighters have travelled to Syria and Iraq, of whom approximately 17 percent were women (Van Ginkel and Entenmann 2016). The overall numbers might be impressive compared to previous waves of foreign fighting, some of which passed almost unnoticed, such as the Al Qaeda foreign fighter contingents in Waziristan around 2010. At least at first sight, however, by far the most impressive aspect of these statistics is the proportion of women. While left-wing terrorism has historically featured women quite prominently (well-known examples being of the women leaders in Germany’s Red Army Faction, or the Kurdish PKK women fighters), generally the involvement of women in terrorism has been sparing and they have tended to take subordinate rather than active roles. Typical depictions of terrorist lives within non-leftist movements show something rather like a
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one-to-one transposition of the domestic sphere, with women cleaning this time not the house, but the weapons. From this perspective then, it might seem that the term ‘fighter’ is misleading. The ideology disseminated by ISIS reserves very specific roles for women: support for (male) fighters and childbearing. Generally speaking, however, the label ‘fighter’ is also less than adequate for most of the Western men who joined ISIS, and who might have left with dreams of heroism and glory to then realise that their role on ISIS soil would be to support local fighters at best and to be sent on suicide missions at worst. It remains a matter of controversy whether women have had an active part in the ISIS battle, or whether they have been drawn by a dream of activism that proves to be just that: a dream. The debates on this issue have split into two major tendencies: one that sees women as victims or prisoners of gender roles, another that argues for female agency and attempts to escape fixed gender role distributions. While the latter line of argument invokes the legacy of gender studies and its emancipatory mission, both in fact work with the assumption that women’s roles, whatever they might be, are always gender-conditioned. Before engaging in the debates regarding the motivation of Western ISIS women, it is important to clarify the nature of their participation and how it can be historically contextualised. Involvement in actual fighting and women carrying arms within ISIS is virtually non-existent; an apparent exception is the AlKhansaa Brigade, an all-women armed unit whose main mission, however, is to police other women, rather than to fight external enemies. Unsurprisingly given the background ideology, women’s participation in ISIS is generally in supporting roles for men, and their universe of action is their own home. The most that women have been known to do in a more active role has been to recruit other women. In a study on women’s participation in violent rebellion, Wood and Thomas (2017: 42) found that ‘the probability of “no evidence” of female combatants in Leftist groups is approximately 15%. The likelihood increases to nearly 60% for Secular (non-leftist) groups, to 66% for Religious (non-Islamist) groups, and to 88% for Islamist groups’. In classical Islamic writings, women’s jihad takes the form of a pilgrimage to Mecca or fulfilling domestic duties; having women on the battlefield was considered disadvantageous for the fighters (Cook 2005). The same rationale stands behind the much-cited lure of the virgins: For the male fighter, the women of paradise were a major attractant, as seen from the earliest books on jihad. Earthly women represented a tie that bound them to this world, whereas the whole focus of the fighter was supposed to be on the next. Jihad fighters should not be distracted by having a wife or a family; they should be part of the living dead. (Cook 2005: 377) Lahoud (2016: 61) advances a similar argument for ISIS, noting that the organisation does not have an explicit policy allowing women to participate in combat because of the perceived dangers of mixing sexes. This, she finds, is because
participating in combat would lead to women exploring ‘their eros, a prospect which remains for jihadis a greater threat than losing the war against the “infidels”.’ In another interpretation, women’s jihad has a different nature from armed combat as such, but is no less important. In a study that focuses on Al Qaeda, von Knop (2007: 411) argues that the majority of radical Islamic women follow the female Jihad and that this interpretation of the Jihad is no less dangerous than the male interpretation, which means bearing arms and carrying out attacks. The female Jihad signifies that women have a strong impact on the current and next generation of terrorists by supporting their husbands and brothers, facilitating the organizations and terrorist attacks and educating their children to follow the ideology. At the same time, various radical ideologues associated with terrorist groups such as Hamas or Al Qaeda have attempted to accommodate the idea of women’s participation in armed jihad (Cook 2005; Bloom 2013). In practise, this participation has almost exclusively taken the form of suicide missions (see for example Wood and Thomas 2017) – obviously not reflecting the highest level of agency or the highest rank in the organisation. Women’s participation in suicide missions has been well documented. Looking at the statistics compiled by Davis (2013: 261), it would appear that Islamist terrorist groups take pole position in female suicide terrorism: Iraqi groups, such as Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq (a previous incarnation of Al Qaeda in Iraq), and unclaimed attacks in Iraq account for approximately 24.7 percent of all female suicide attacks internationally. Chechen (Caucasus Emirate) and Palestinian groups each contributed 20 percent and 24 percent of attacks, respectively, and the LTTE contributed 14 percent. Davis also found that women’s suicide attacks tend to be more lethal than those carried out by men, and traces this to the fact that women are less likely to be seen as threats. Unlike its predecessors, ISIS has thus far made a point out of keeping women away from the frontlines; this could change in the future. In September 2016, a terrorist attack carried out by three women in Mombasa, Kenya, in the name of ISIS, garnered mixed reactions and the acquiescence expressed by ISIS was not entirely clear (Lahoud 2016). Finally, the idea that a next step towards involving women fighters in acts of violence could soon be made has been mooted (Perešin and Cervone 2015); the issue remains highly controversial. In the classical exegesis, women were clearly excluded from participating in violent jihad. Equally controversial are explanations for the motivations behind these women’s decision to join ISIS. Especially thorny is the issue of agency: to what extent do the women willingly and knowingly get involved, or are they being cognitively and emotionally manipulated?
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Women as victims The large majority of analyses of women’s involvement with Islamist terrorism see women as victims of manipulation by men, including preachers and ISIS members, and as victims of oppression more broadly. In a recent case analysis of a female terrorist, Pearson (2015) observes that the tendency is to see women as brainwashed by various other actors. Dominique Grisard, in the chapter that opened this section of our volume, noted that this is a broader cultural tendency; and it is a view shared by social workers involved in deradicalisation work: Girls like Sarah [a German teenager who left for Syria] enthuse over IS fighters like others over pop stars. Men like Denis Cuspert, who previously called himself the rapper Deso Dogg, then converted to Islam, and now fights for ISIS, are their heroes. There is a real fan club of pubescent girls. This is their Justin Bieber. (Claudia Dantschke, cited in taz.de 2014) Young women who travel [to Syria] usually have partnerships with men who are already there. The initiative usually comes from the men. There is as of now little experience with women and girls, so it is kind of a puzzle for us too. (Thomas Mücke, cited in taz.de 2014) In another interpretation, ISIS recruitment has been successful because it taps into an existing pattern of submission: ‘Polls indicate, for example, that a majority of women in several Muslim majority countries feel it is their duty to obey their husbands and that spousal abuse is acceptable because it is allowed in Islam’, argues Ispahani (2016: 103): ‘Extremists take this “submission to the will of God” one step farther and convince women that engaging in acts of violence is also divinely ordained’. For Muslim women living in the West, he suggests other motivations, such as discrimination and being made to feel like outsiders. Women are also seen to be manipulated by preaching male clerics. In Western Europe, a prime example is the case of Roshonara Choudhry, who after watching sermons by Anwar al-Awlaki online attempted to stab MP Stephen Timms over the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war (Dodd and Topping 2010). Looking outside Europe, the case of Tunisian women travelling for the jihad al-nikah, or sexual holy war, has been amply discussed. Tunisia is the absolute top supplier of foreign fighters and the number of women has also been substantial (Naharnet 2013). According to Tunisia’s Minister of the Interior, the women travelled in order to ‘have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100’ militants and to come back pregnant (ibid.). The authorities cite the legitimation by Sunni Muslim Salafist preachers of sexual jihad as a form of holy war as the reason for these women’s trips. ISIS itself appears as an obvious victimiser. Typical images that are posted and cited in the media are of enslaved women on sale in markets, a phenomenon that has been confirmed by former and captured IS militants. ISIS sympathisers on online media have expressed excitement about the potential use of such women,
belittled and made fun of their reduction to objects for the victors to take and rejoice in. While this has been officially done – and given what purports to be religious sanction – with captured, non-Sunni women, reports in the Western media and Western authorities have claimed that similar fates await widowed women, regardless of their formal standing with ISIS. The deputy chair of the Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Anthony Byrne, has claimed to be in possession of information showing that women are being passed around as sex slaves after their partners are killed [. . .]. They are literally selling women for sex. Young Australian women should know that it’s not an adventure [. . .] it’s a slave trade. (cited in Webb 2015) Finally, in some readings, engagement in jihad and Salafism is a reaction to more generalised oppression. The feminist Alice Schwarzer has written on her website in a contribution called ‘Burka and Emancipation’ how women in various situations and locations are or continue to be oppressed: In these [Islamist] countries these desperate women have no other choice. And within the Islamist-dominated communities in Europe, too, it is not always easy for Muslim women. But what about the converts who grew up in countries where their ancestors fought so painstakingly for their equal rights, from the right to vote to the right to visibility in the public space? Their motives seem to be fear of freedom and personal responsibility as well as female machismo as a consequence of a long, real oppression and humiliation of the female sex [. . .] the Left [. . .] has failed the majority of Muslim women, who are the primary victims of fundamentalist agitators.1 (Schwarzer 2010)
Jihadi women as agents In a different reading, however, women are not the victims of circumstances and of others, but agents in their own right who decide and determine their future. This agentic view of jihadi women does not necessarily map on to feminist understandings of ‘emancipation’. Some of its proponents identify an attempt at partial emancipation, or a choice of the lesser evil/the lesser restrictions. According to Dantschke, some of the women come from traditional families where a daughter’s freedom is harshly restricted: ‘For these girls, Salafism is almost like a liberation, as strange as that might sound’, she explains: ‘There [in Salafism] there are restrictions for both sexes, which the girls consider fairer. With their newly acquired knowledge, they emancipate themselves from their authoritarian fathers’2 (cited in taz.de 2014). A similar line of argument emerged in interviews I recently conducted with women convicted of terrorism, and has emerged in other expert interviews.3 My interviewees first pointed to the subordinate situation of
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women in traditional communities where women have ‘no rights’; then they indicated how in Salafism men also have obligations, and not just rights. A second, perhaps more obvious argument relates to the nature of the Islamic State project itself, namely the building of an actual state, on an actual territory. That is something that Al Qaeda, for example, could not offer, and an actual and palpable political project which might ensure, among other things, self-fulfilment, because it offered the possibility to participate in the creation of something important (an argument made in Pierret and Cheikh 2015). This qualitative difference might then account for the proportionally higher number of women. Related to this is the ‘grooming’ argument, according to which women are in a first instance moved by an idealised vision of the Islamic State and their role therein, and only later realise that the reality could not be farther away from this utopia (Edwards 2017). This is a narrative relatively often invoked by Western female returnees. According to yet another take on the agentic nature of women’s involvement in jihadism, women simply follow their ideological preferences: Far from being slaves to their sexual desires or victims of the predatory machinations of men, many Western women join or aspire to join the Islamic State because they want to – because the Islamic State, unlike the secular liberal democracies in which they live, makes sense to them and reflects their fundamental moral and political convictions [. . .]. They do not want freedom, as understood by classical liberal scholars as negative freedom – the freedom to do what you want, so long as you don’t harm others. And they do not want feminism. They want submission: to God’s will and his divine law. (Cottee 2016) Cottee cites the anthropologist Scott Atran, who has labelled such women ‘postfeminist’, ‘tired of a seemingly endless, genderless, culturally indistinct coming of age. The Islamic State and al Qaeda provide clear red lines: men are men, and women are women’ (ibid.). That seems to fit the perception of the women themselves, in a citation he offers from a woman who left to go to Syria; here she describes her encounter with feminist theories and her own position: And I said clearly, Islam has given all my rights to me as a woman and I feel liberated, I feel content and equal in society and all. I explained to them, how both men and women have rights in Islam, given us to in the Qu’raan, (at this point everybody was screwing). I explained to them not everything which a man can do, a woman can also compete with and try to do. It’s to do with biology. I explained how this western society has made you think in a certain way, pressurised you to feel weak and always thirsty to make money. Pressurised you to compete with men, when in reality if you knew your place as a woman, if there was Shari’ah implementation, you would not be complaining like you are now. I said all this and basically everybody tried refuting me. These feminists are deluded. (ibid.)
This is taken as evidence that these women are post-feminist. I challenge that reading. On the one hand, it might be argued, this woman rejects equal rights for men and women and the interchangeability of roles based on basic biological readings. On the other hand and more generally, she rejects the Western normative order and its values, and that is something subcultures have always done; difference or opposition to the mainstream is what defines them. Extremist subcultures or all types and in spite of their at times emancipatory mission, eventually involve strict rules of behaviour and rigid readings of what is acceptable. In this sense, Salafism in Europe is following in the footsteps of previous political subcultures.
Jihadi subculture In relation to extremism and terrorism, subculture has been understood for a long time as a descriptive category depicting groups of people at the margin of the political moment, individuals who are more interested in lifestyle and partying than actual politics; or as a phase preceding actual involvement in political violence. Until recently, the field of terrorism studies has largely ignored radical subculture, and, when it has attracted attention, the analysis has remained descriptive, with no examination of how subculture affects individual radicalisation. Research on right-wing extremism has considered subcultures (such as the skinheads) as groups of individuals marked by aesthetic and lifestyle features, largely apolitical and at the margins of the political extremist movements. In the study of terrorism and political violence, subculture has been conceptualised as depicting loose groups of sympathisers who to a certain extent share the goals of violent groups, without being a part of them. Typically, future terrorists would have participated in such ‘subcultures’ before ‘going underground’ (della Porta 1995). Arguably, the core meaning of the word subculture has always applied to extremist scenes, insofar as they shared alternative norms, values, and lifestyles. Newer conceptualisations, however, have defined pre-radicalisation groups more clearly, namely as the ‘radical milieu’ (Malthaner and Waldmann 2014), delineating them from the concept of subculture. At the same time, recent empirical developments have led to a blurring of the borders between extremism and political violence on the one hand, and subculture on the other. ‘Subcultural’ groups have become more prominently political; and subcultural elements are now recognised to constitute a core component of extremist and terrorist activities, given the prominence of lifestyle and the extensive use of multi-media, social media, and pop culture for recruitment purposes. Consequently, the broader right-wing, left-wing and jihadi extremist scenes can be now more meaningfully understood and analysed as subcultures. The subcultural nature of the extremist life has become more accentuated and more obvious in a time of ubiquitous access to the Internet and social media in particular. Islamist terrorism and the IS in particular is credited with an unprecedentedly extensive and professional use of the Internet and social media. But the extreme right scene is not lagging behind; on the contrary, it is profiting from the almost exclusive focus of the authorities on jihadism, and flourishes online. Since
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2010 we have seen a jump in the online presence of the extreme right on social media. Importantly, these are not just marginal groups within a broader extremist scene, but the scene as such. It has thus become significantly easier for communities to emerge, for lifestyles and commodities to spread, and more generally for pop culture to permeate and be exploited online. Subculture as an analytical concept has a lot to offer, even though terrorism scholarship to date has not explored its analytical potential, and has tended to use the word only in a descriptive way, as a label. It helps us, for example, to understand the involvement of jihadi women more adequately. Subculture refers first of all to particular kinds of motivation to join a subculture. Two schools of thought have prevailed here: the ‘deviance’ school, and the Birmingham school, where the former focused on the problems of status frustration and identity confusion, the latter on expression of resistance to the mainstream. The ‘deviance’ school looked at criminal behaviour and explained it as a consequence of frustrated expectations: individuals’ frustration in the face of their incapacity to achieve by mainstream standards, which stimulates the creation of alternative standards and a criminal subculture. The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) in Birmingham, by contrast, focused on ‘spectacular subcultures’ such as the punks, and their stylistic expression of resistance to the mainstream. Subculture secondly refers to particular norms and values regulating behaviour and lifestyle; and a third component are social relations: that is, the community of brothers and sisters (or comrades, or the clique) with strong affective ties, in part as a consequence of the situation of being isolated from the mainstream. Fourthly and finally, subcultural artefacts strike visually, support group identification, and are sometimes used to finance the groups or certain actions thereof. In the following, I illustrate these four aspects with reference to the Salafi jihadi subculture, using material collected by me and from open sources. In terms of motivation and as applied to men, drawing on the criminological social deviance literature, Cottee (2011: 738) has argued in the spirit of the ‘deviance’ model that the jihadi solution is a reaction to status frustration and identity confusion, which emerges from a series of social strains: poverty, lack of education, discrimination in the labour market, cultural uprootedness, enmity, and exclusion. Second- and third-generation Muslim immigrants tend to feel torn between two very different cultures: the more conservative one of their parents and the liberal, secular Western societies in which they were brought up. In this way, the global jihadi movement offers alternative norms and a lifestyle that run contrary to more dominant ‘Western’ values in which third-wave jihadis have typically been raised (ibid.: 738). Cottee theorises that ‘third-wave jihadism can be described as a collective solution, devised by young westernised Muslim males, to resolve their twin problems of status frustration and identityconfusion’ (ibid.). The ‘cumulative weight’ of societal rejection and identity crisis becomes intolerable, and jihad offers an attractive alternative. The jihadist subculture offers status criteria that are easier to achieve than more traditional ‘Western’ status criteria. The jihadi subcultural style is specifically formulated as a rejection of mainstream Western society, and individuals who form part of
this movement are able to retaliate against their source of status frustration and identity conflict (ibid.). I (Pisoiu 2015), on the other hand, have emphasised the agentic nature of involvement in political violence. In a study on jihadi and right-wing extremists in Germany, I found that individual motivation to engage in extremist scenes was not determined by status frustration (the failure to achieve by mainstream standards), but by a disenchantment with mainstream values as such; continuity rather than a sudden change in values could be observed along the path of the individual’s evolution. Overall, their resistance was expressed not merely ‘obliquely’ in style, but through purposive political action, where style also played a role. This resonates with the postmodern approach where, as opposed to the classical approach to subcultural style, ‘young people’s cultural practises were now seen as agentic and affirmative, not as “magical” or impotent’ (Williams 2011: 32). Both Cottee and Pisoiu have emphasised the need to engage with the aesthetic side of subculture. In my earlier work, I found that radicalisation involves changing routines, changing and adapting behaviourally to new standards of what is acceptable and valuable (Pisoiu 2011). These new behavioural patterns or ‘rituals’ draw on alternative normative systems (Hemmingsen 2015) and are in part so-called ‘techniques of the body’, conveyed and adopted through sensory experiences transmitted among others by social media products (Crone 2014). A distinct strand of literature has focused specifically on online extremist content. Scholars have looked at the content of various outlets online such as Twitter, Facebook, or Telegram, yet such research tends to be quantitative and descriptive in nature, mapping the themes of this content, or outlining the links between the content and the broader ideology. There have been attempts to clarify empirically the effects of the Internet on radicalisation processes by examining qualitative data from terrorist cases. For the most part, these studies have found that the Internet plays a facilitative role, rather than a causal one (see for example Gill et al. 2015; Köhler 2014). Case studies on extremist and terrorist biographies have in addition found some degree of plausibility attesting to the fact that the Internet (including propaganda) has played an important role in individual radicalisation processes (see e.g. Ravndal 2013; Holbrook 2015; Holt et al. 2015). These studies agree that online content (e.g. texts, videos, music) contributes to strengthening or forming ideology and to radicalisation more generally. At the same time, authors underline that more research on the Internet and social media in particular is necessary if we are to understand the effects of propaganda on radicalisation (see also Torok 2013). Whilst potential target groups have already been classified (Aly 2017) or tested against psychological concepts such as the authoritarian personality (Rieger et al. 2013), the extent to which (online) propaganda has the power to persuade individuals remains uncharted territory. The channels through which extremist online propaganda is received, as well as the way in which it is produced are also significant. Qualitative studies have selectively examined certain propagandistic contents or functions, such as for example the interpretation of Islamist terrorism as something ‘cool’ (Huey 2015).
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Jihadi subculture and women The understanding of an individual’s motivation to radicalise as status frustration and the creation of alternative forms of status appears to apply only to a certain extent to women, namely to those coming from the ‘mainstream’, or converts. Women from traditional families are not expected to fit with the mainstream standards outside their communities; their roles remain predetermined and in principle fully functional in the shadow of their homes. In terms of relations, however, the community of ‘sisters’ mirrors communities of ‘brothers’ or ‘comrades’. Even if their daily activities are clearly different from men’s, the communities are similarly bonded together through ideology, affection, and a feeling of being different and (to a certain extent) under threat. Studies of online ISIS sympathisers have noted the emergence of such communities, for both men and women. Amarnath Amarasingan (2015) for example looked at foreign fighters and their social environment in Canada, which turned out to be ‘friends and family of these Jihadist volunteers, and members of the close-knit transnational virtual community of Islamic State supporters’. They are ‘a deeply connected group of youth who find a sense of community and kinship online, particularly on Twitter’. In a study of IS fangirls on Twitter, Huey and Witmer (2016: 5) concluded that such bonds ‘can become so tight that girls sometimes complain they spend more time on social media than engaged in activities in the real world’. The report of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Becoming Mulan? Female Western Migrants to ISIS (Hoyle, Bradford, and Frenett 2015: 24), also noted the presence of ‘sisterhood’. The report is illustrated with excerpts from social media, such as: ‘MashaALLAH [Bless the Lord] the sisterhood in Dawla is amazing, the bonding immediate and no fake relationship, based on love fillah only’; or The family you get in exchange for leaving the ones behind are like the pearl in comparison to the Shell you threw away into the foam of the sea which is the Ummah [Muslim community]. The reason for this is because your love for one another is purely for the sake of Allah. (ibid.) According to von Knop (2007: 407), the concept of ‘sisterhood’ emerged at the same time as the Muslim Brotherhood. It never reached a similar level of notoriety, however, given the restriction of the role of women to the public sphere. Nonetheless, they understand themselves as ‘sisters in belief and they meet each other in their private homes or on certain platforms on the Internet’ (von Knop 2007: 408). Arguably, social media have enabled a more intense relationship and tighter bonds of sisterhood. The report notes that the friendships ‘appear very strong. A woman using the online identity Umm Ubaydah writes about her best friends: “My companions fid dunyah [in the world]. Umm Layth and umm Haritha. Love you fillah so much I can’t put into words”’ (von Knop 2007: 408). In Telegram communities women can in principle be active in any type of group, and the broader argument has been made that the Internet facilitates a more active
role for women (García-Calvo 2017). Pearson has argued of Roshonara Choudhry that ‘masculine gender structures may have limited her in the offline world and directed her to a radicalization online’, and that the Internet perhaps provided an alternative space in which she could perform a less restricted gender identity, more easily engaging firstly with Islam, then Islamism, progressing to a more extreme, ultimately violent position, which confronted Al Qaeda’s position on women’s roles. (Pearson 2015: 7, 17) Leaving family and friends behind, cutting off ties with the previous social environment, and then restricting one’s social contacts to others from the ‘scene’ is a common phenomenon in both right- and left-wing radicalisation. In Islamist subcultures there are also women-only groups, where men are explicitly excluded. These groups fulfil a gender stereotype in their ‘feminine’ self-presentation (shades of pink, flowers, etc.), and the topics discussed are to a large extent also ‘feminine’: cooking, care, children’s education, and household issues more generally, as well as religious citations and stories. A particularity here, which fits into the idea of community, are appeals for donations for sisters in need and support for prisoners. The idea of ‘free spaces’ or Freiräume is well known from the women of Germany’s New Women’s Movement. The ideological difference is obvious, however, including the positionality of the woman who, in the jihadi case, does not necessarily and explicitly aim to free herself from (all) male domination. Yet the immediate purpose of asserting feminine space appears similar: These ‘free spaces’ – an idea German feminists had adopted from the American feminists – had the primary purpose of making those involved conscious of the extent to which their thinking and actions were influenced by masculine values. The precondition was that the groups were autonomous, that is, free from male dominance, which is why the New Women’s Movement is also called the autonomous women’s movement. The collective learning process (“consciousness-raising”) was supposed to help women find their own language and a positive sense of themselves as women, and promote solidarity among women.4 (Hertrampf 2008) Norms and values regulating behaviour and lifestyle are important in subculture. Jihadi Salafis are obsessed with ‘doing things right’. Some consider this religiousness, but I would argue that it is not necessarily spirituality, but rather keeping to the rules book. Many of the IS adherents (and this has also been one of the conclusions in a current study)5 have been known to do just that: pray certain times a day, wear certain clothes in a certain way, and otherwise engage in no further religious education. Such behaviours overlap in part with the existence of subcultural artefacts that are produced in order to ensure conformity with the rules. For example, on social media there are advertisements for sprays, shampoos, oils,
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and of course clothing. On a posting on Telegram we find instructions about how the hijab should look: The requirements for an appropriate hijab: first, it must be heavy (thick) and not transparent; second, it must be a relaxed fit (loose, not tight); third, it must cover the whole body; fourth, it must not be striking attire; fifth, it must not resemble the clothing of kuffar women or clothing for men; sixth, it must not be a piece of clothing that attracts looks; seventh, it must not be perfumed (with perfume or incense).6 On a website dedicated exclusively to merchandise, we find perfume, prayer carpets for children, niqabs, and serpent oil (which is said to help strengthen the roots of the hair, ensure a better blood circulation, contribute to the growth of the hair and prevent hair from falling out, and to moisturise dry hair without shine), as well as burkas, khimar (long veil) sets, trousers for children in military colours, and shirts and harem pants for men. The trend is for men to mix a military with a traditional look, and generally great emphasis is laid on body care, which is often in tension with the broader requirement of modesty. A further type of artefact are dolls, also wearing the burka. Other, more existential features also bear comparison with the broader spectrum of radical political subcultures. These are, in particular, the aim to achieve a utopian society (see for example the story of Yasmin Mulbocus, Bagenal 2017), and exceptionalism: the conviction that one’s own community is both special and superior to others. Finally, there is the existential threat, which translates into an all-out war against all nonbelievers. One woman’s appeal on social media reads, for example: ‘Kill Kuffar in alleyways, stab them and poison them. Poison your teachers. Go to haram restaurants and poison the food in large quantities’ (Perešin 2015). The West German radical leftist terrorist Ulrike Meinhof (1934–76) is alleged to have said in an interview that the cops are pigs, we say that guy in uniform is a pig, not a human being, and that’s how we have to deal with him. That means we don’t have to talk to him and it’s wrong to talk to these people in general, and naturally we can shoot.7 (Der Spiegel 1970: 75) It is, then, part of the history of terrorism (on the left as well as the right) to dehumanise the enemy, and to present murder as justified. Yet the expressions of enjoyment of explicit, close-up, and extreme violence that are appearing on Salifi jihadi social media, even if they are made primarily to express belonging to the scene, are something arguably unprecedented. Hoyle, Bradford, and Frenett (2015) cite again: So many beheadings at the same time, Allahu Akbar [God is the greatest], this video is beautiful #DawlaMediaTeamDoingItRight’ (29)
Daniela Pisoiu So I finally watched #IS latest video, OMG! I Love Dawlah! The Nusayri scene, Gut-wrenchingly awesome . . Shariah = Justice Alhamdulillah! [Thanks be to God] (28–9) I was happy to see the beheading of that kaafir [nonbeliever], I just rewinded (sic)to the cutting part. Allahu akbar! [God is the greatest!] I wonder what was he thinking b4 the cut’ . . . ‘more beheadings please!’ (29)
(Cross-)cultural expectations around women’s peacability, described by Clare Bielby and Claudia Derichs in their chapters above, render these kinds of expressions of bloodthirsty hatred even more striking. Pearson (2015: 22) offers an interesting insight into that apparent anomaly further. She notes that The difference between women’s online aggression and women’s real world violence is the difference between accepting Jihad’s gender ideology and structures, or rejecting them [. . .] women Jihadi have to date not challenged this in the West; nor have these structures seen significant change. Building on this insight, the argument could be made that these women might be compensating for their limited agency in the real world, and in the area of fighting in particular, through the radicalism of their opinions expressed online. Finally, the role of the women, at least in the social media activity observed by myself and others, remains clearly domestic: [A]s mundane as some of the day to day tasks may get, still you truly value every minute here for the sake of Allah [. . .] Wallahi [I swear to God] I have come across such beautiful sisters who will spend mornings and nights in happiness because they are cooking the Mujahideen food or they’ll clean the whole building without anyone even figuring it out who it was. (Hoyle, Bradford, and Frenett 2015: 22) The reason why women are not required to fight is because there are enough men, a situation which is not likely to change in the near future: Please sisters do not believe anything you hear or see online where apparently sisters are fighting feesaabeelilah [for the sake of God]. For the time being Qitaal [fighting] is not fardh ayn [a compulsory religious duty] upon the sisters. We have plenty brothers who don’t even get selected on going on operations. The brothers get upset and start crying since they want to
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participate, so what does that make you think? For the sisters its completely impossible for the now. InshaaAllah [God willing] in future. (Cited in Hoyle, Bradford, and Frenett 2015: 33)
Conclusions I have tried to show that the female jihadi subculture’s rejection of Western feminism cannot necessarily be equated with wanting less freedom or less power. The particular situation of the women who come to jihadi subculture is often a cultural background that has prescribed subordinate roles for women largely outside of religious precepts proper. These women thus face two types of restrictions and sometimes resort to using one against the other (see also on this Brown 2006; Pearson 2015). The result is an extremely gendered subculture, not unlike the right-wing or the terrorist nationalist ones. Pearson (2015: 7) has also noted that ‘jihad’s production and control of violence’ is ‘through the creation of masculinities and femininities and distinct roles for women and men’. The Salafi jihadi propaganda and its platforms are designed to support these stereotypes (von Knop 2007). Entrenched gender roles permeate the movement and limit the scope for emancipation. Salafi lifestyle prescribes rights and obligations for both women and men; and should the men not stick to their obligations, women are entitled, at least partly, to retribution. This has been labelled ‘Islamic feminism’ (Pierret and Cheikh 2015: 244, citing the work of Margot Badran). The price women pay for that partial emancipation is their complete and permanent exclusion from public space. In 2017 a 15-year-old girl attacked a police officer in Germany with a knife (Dearden 2017a). Whether or not we will see a qualitative change towards militantism among the women of the jihadi movement, perhaps influenced by their socialisation as Western women and despite some basic principles of the Salafi jihadi ideology, remains to be seen. As ISIS has been losing territory on an unprecedented scale, the call for women to get involved in fighting – mostly in the form of suicide bombing – did eventually come. In October 2017, ISIS released in their Newsletter an appeal to women to take part in combat, given the ‘hardship and pain’ of the war – meaning, possibly, the loss of men in battle: it is mandatory for the Muslim women to fulfill their duty from all aspects in supporting the mujahideen in this battle, by preparing themselves as mujahidat in the cause of Allah, and readying to sacrifice themselves to defend the religion of Allah the Most High and Mighty. (Katz 2017) On the European continent, female terrorist plots have already occurred (Dearden 2017b). This is clearly not just a departure from the classical jihadi doctrine, but also a departure from the classical Islamic doctrine with regard to the role of women in combat. From a broader perspective these developments could be read as indications that the jihadi anti-Western ideology and its appeal to the (female) public
in the West and beyond has come under strain. As I have illustrated, ISIS female sympathisers have made a point of disparaging feminism and the heritage of 1968; nonetheless the phenomenon of female jihad could, in the long run, have consequences for the emancipation of women.
Notes 1 ‘In diesen Ländern haben die verzweifelten Frauen keine andere Wahl. Und auch innerhalb der islamistisch beherrschten Communitys mitten in Europa ist es für die Musliminnen nicht immer einfach. Aber was ist nur los mit den Konvertitinnen, die in Ländern aufgewachsen sind, in denen ihre Vorfahrinnen die Gleichberechtigung – vom Wahlrecht bis zum Recht der Sichtbarkeit im öffentlichen Raum – so mühsam erstritten haben? Ihre Motive scheinen Angst vor Freiheit und Selbstverantwortung zu sein sowie weiblicher Masochismus – als Folge einer langen realen Unterdrückung und Demütigung des weiblichen Geschlechts. [. . .] die Linke [. . .] lässt die Mehrheit der MuslimInnen im Stich, die ja die ersten Opfer der fundamentalistischen Agitatoren sind’. All translations from German are by the author. 2 ‘Für diese Mädchen ist Salafismus fast wie eine Befreiung, so merkwürdig das klingen mag [. . .]. Dort gelten Einschränkungen für beide Geschlechter, was die Mädchen als gerechter empfinden. Sie emanzipieren sich mit ihrem neu erworbenen islamischen Wissen von autoritären Vätern’. 3 The interviews were conducted within the project ‘Lifeworlds of Austrian Jihadis. A Milieu Study’, which looked specifically at the radicalisation processes of Austrian foreign fighters. The project was financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence. 4 ‘Diese “Freiräume” – eine Idee, die die deutschen Feministinnen von den Amerikanerinnen übernommen hatten – dienten vor allem dazu, den Beteiligten bewusst zu machen, wie sehr ihr Denken und Handeln von männlichen Werten geprägt worden sei. Voraussetzung war, dass die Gruppen autonom waren, d. h. frei von männlicher Dominanz, weshalb die neue Frauenbewegung auch als autonome Frauenbewegung bezeichnet wird. Der kollektive Lernprozess (“conciousness-raising”) sollte dabei helfen, die eigene Sprache zu finden, eine positive Identifikation als Frau zu gewinnen und die Solidarität unter Frauen zu fördern’. 5 ‘Lifeworlds of Austrian Jihadis. A Milieu Study’, Austrian Institute of International Affairs, funded by the Austrian Ministry of Defence and Sports. 6 ‘Die Bedingungen für einen richtigen Hiijab: erstens, dass er schwer (dick) und undurchsichtig ist; zweitens dass er locker ist (weit, nicht eng); drittens dass er den ganzen Körper bedeckt; viertens, dass es keine auffällige Kleidung ist; fünftens, dass er weder Bekleidung der Kafir-Frauen noch Männerkleidung ähnelt; sechstens, dass es keine Kleidung ist, die Blicke auf sich zieht; siebtens, dass er nicht parfümiert ist (Parfum oder Räucherwerk)’. Jihadi Telegram channel addressing women in German. 7 ‘[W]ir sagen, natürlich, die Bullen sind Schweine, wir sagen, der Typ in der Uniform ist ein Schwein, das ist kein Mensch, und so haben wir uns mit ihm auseinanderzusetzen. Das heißt, wir haben nicht mit ihm zu reden, und es ist falsch überhaupt mit diesen Leuten zu reden, und natürlich kann geschossen werden’.
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2nd June Movement 99, 118, 123–4 1968: public memory of 35–6; as a signifier 6–8; social upheavals in 1–3, 29n2, 33; as symbolic revolution 22; as a watershed year 52–3; see also hegemonic narrative of 1968; protests of 1968 Abdulrahim, Imaduddin 148 Abel, Marco 74 abortion reform: French women’s movement and 20–1; German women’s movements and 23–5; mobilisation and 23, 25; women’s rights and 90 Action Council for the Liberation of Women (Aktionsrat zur Befreiung der Frauen) 24, 26, 99 action research 94 Adler, Freda 119–20, 129n11 Agacinski, Sylviane 26 Against Our Will (Brownmiller) 89, 105 Against Rape (Medea and Thompson) 90 agency 10 al-Awlaki, Anwar 171 al-Bannâ, Hassan 135 Albrecht, Susanne 124 Alice in the Cities (Alice in den Städten) (Wenders) 74 Ali, Tariq 4 Al-Khansaa Brigade 169 Al Qaeda 168, 170, 173 Amal Movement 154–5, 163 Amarasingan, Amarnath 177 Andersen, Judy 9, 98–100, 103–8 anti-fascist resistance movement 40 Antigone (Stöckl) 72–3 Arab Nationalists 153, 158 Arrighi, Giovanni 1–2 Aspesi, Natalia 42 Assyaukanie, Luthfi 144 Atran, Scott 173
Balibar, Etienne 8 Bandung Conference 140 Baudrillard, Jean 117 Bayramoğlu, Y. 99 Becoming Mulan? Female Western Migrants to ISIS (Hoyle, Bradford, and Frenett) 177 Benci, Antonio 37 Berlin Women’s Centre 103, 108–9 Bernstorff, Madeleine 71 Betti, Eloisa 40–1 Beyer, Irene 99, 103 Bielby, Clare 9, 99, 180 Bild (tabloid) 99–103 Birmingham school 175 Bitter Life and Sweet Life (Gorki život, Slatki život) (Iveković) 86–7 Black File, The (Crni fascikl) (Iveković) 87 Black Panthers 128n6 Board of Islamic Education and Propaganda 148 body politic metaphor 118–19, 125–6, 128n2 Bonnie and Clyde (film) 73 Boupacha, Djarmila 28 bourgeois imaginary 117–18 Bracke, Maud 36 Bradford, Alexandra 177, 179 Bravo, Anna 33 Brooks, Daphne 2 Browne, Victoria 38 Brownmiller, Susan 89, 105 Byrne, Anthony 172 Capanna, Mario 35, 37 capitalism: feminism and 27, 91; Old Left and 3 Casalini, Maria 40 Cerjan-Letica, Gordana 87 child sexual abuse 93–4 Choudhry, Roshonara 171, 178 Christian Democrats 41–2
Christiansen, Samantha 4 Chytilová, Vĕra 78 civil rights movement 5 Clavin, Patricia 3 Cohen, Deborah 36 Cold War: Third World and 4; women and 5 collective memory 21, 57 Communist Action Organisation (CAO) 153–4, 156, 161, 164 Communist Party 41–2 Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) 140–1 Conference for the Social Status of Women, and the Family of the City of Zagreb 92 Connell, R.W. 19 consciousness-raising 6 constitutional rights feminism 40 Coppi, Fausto 42 Cornils, Ingo 6 Cosgrove, Mary 29n1 Cottee, Simon 175–6 counterviolence: agency and 107; critiques of 109n4; defining 9; feminist 107; Ihns/ Andersen murder case 106–8; resistance and 9; structural violence and 9 criminality in women: biology of 129n11; class differences and 121; economic motives of 120; emancipation theory and 119–22; feminist criminology and 89–90; feminist movement and 127–8; political violence and 128; rates of 128n3; see also women terrorists Croatian Spring (1971) 85, 95n1 cultural feminism 26, 28 cultural Islam 142–3, 146 cultural memory: gender and 7–8; protests of 1968 and 6; women and 1 Dantschke, Claudia 172 Davies, Mererid Puw 24 Davis, Angela 9, 120, 128n6 Davis, Jessica 170 de Beauvoir, Simone 22, 25, 27–8 Dellwo, Karl-Heinz 124 Delphy, Christine: biography of 22; founding narrative of 21–3; materialist approach of 22; social feminism and 26–7 Demau (Demystification Authoritarianism) 43–4, 45n2 Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) 153 Derichs, Claudia 11, 151, 180 Derrida, Jacques 118 Der Spiegel (magazine) 119–20, 122, 124 Despot, Blaženka 86
Devlin, Anne 54–5, 59, 64 Diewald-Kerkmann, Gisela 128n3 Die Zeit (newspaper) 137 Dimitrijević, Branislav 85 Dobash, R. Emerson 87 Dobash, Russell P. 87 Double Life 1959–1975 (Dvostruki život 1959–1975) (Iveković) 86 Downing, Lisa 98, 107 Do You Have a High School Diploma? (Haben Sie Abitur?) (Stöckl) 73 Dragović-Soso, Jasna 95n2 Drifters (Die Pilotinnen) (Petzold) 74 Drinan, Padrigan 59 Duhaček, Daša 89 Dürkop, Marlis 121 Dutschke, Rudi 9 Easy Rider (film) 73 Eggert, Jennifer 11 Eiblmayer, Silvia 86 Einemann, G. 104 emancipation theory: class differences and 121; criminality in women and 119–22; feminist critiques of 120–1; influences on 129n11 Emma (magazine) 103 Ensslin, Gudrun 100, 137 Enzensberger, Hans Magnus 2 Erll, Astrid 36 Evans, Sara M. 7 faith-based transnational movement 142–3 Fanon, Frantz 9, 107 Feillard, Andrée 143 Feldmann, Jacqueline 29n4 female fighters: Christian militias and 158–9, 162; class differences and 159; far left organizations and 157; Lebanese militias 151, 154–5, 157, 161–4; opposition to 161–3; religious education and 159; rural/urban divide in 159; social opposition to 163 female genital mutilation 90 female sexuality: attitudes towards 53, 77; discipline of 100–3; feminist movements and 21–2, 42; Italian double standards for 41; lesbian women and 98, 100; patriarchal violence and 99; reproduction and 43 female suicide bombers: Islamic terrorists as 170, 181; lethality of 170; perceptions of 118 female terrorists see women terrorists
Index female violence: agency and 10; against human beings 9; reasons for 11; religion and 11; suffragettes and 11; as terrorism 10; see also criminality in women; women terrorists feminine sphere 117–18 femininity: culture and 25; hegemonic model of 142; militant ideal of 140; social construction of 19 Feminin Masculin Avenir (FMA) 22 Feminisme Marxisme Action (FMA) 22, 29n4 feminist counterviolence 107 feminist criminology 89–90 feminist filmmaking: absence from 1968 narratives 70; patriarchy in 72; post-1968 70, 80; road movies and 73–4; secondwave feminism and 70; West German 70–3, 75–9; women’s lives in 69, 71–6 feminist history: capitalism and 27, 91; coexistence of 38; constitutional rights and 40; earlier generations and 44; sequential negation in 38; socialism and 27, 90–1 feminist movements: consciousness-raising 6, 26; criminality in women and 89–90, 127–8; cultural feminism and 26; feminist perspectives on 25–6; internal divisions in 27, 29; Islamic 147, 181; memory contest in 19; national narratives demonising 137–9, 142, 146–7; origins of 19, 29; personal/political in 5–6; protests of 1968 and 19–20, 29, 33, 84–5, 94; religion and 11; as revolutionary pedagogy 45; sexual violence and 27–8; student movements and 19; trajectory of 1, 53; universal sisterhood and 6; violence against women and 84; waves of 39–40, 84; see also French women’s movements; German women’s movements; Gerwani movement; Italian women’s movement; Northern Ireland women’s movement Ferrero, Guglielmo 100 Figner, Vera 123 Fiske, John 128 Foot, John 35 Foucault, Michel 126 Fouque, Antoinette: on 1968 as symbolic revolution 22; biography of 21; cultural feminism and 26; founding narrative of 21–2 Frabotta, Biancamaria 44 Frankfurt Women’s Centre 98, 103 Frauenjahrbuch ’76 (journal) 109 Frazier, Lessie J. 36
free spaces 178 ‘French May’ narrative 21–2 French women’s movements: abortion reform and 20–1; ‘French May’ narrative 21–2; origins of 20–3, 25–6; protests of 1968 and 19–23 Frenett, Ross 177, 179 Fuchs, Anne 29n1, 36 Galtung, Johan 8 Gemayel, Pierre 162 gender: 1968 and 52–3, 58; counterviolence and 9; cultural memory and 7–8; structural violence and 8 gender-based violence: academic discourse and 88–9; child abuse as 93–4, 98; economic 90; human rights and 94; incest and 93–4; Indonesia 141, 146; against Indonesian migrant workers 146; lesbian women and 103, 105; as a political problem 87, 89; psychological 91; rape and 28, 89–90; responses to 29, 92–3; sexual violence 27–9; SOS helplines 87–8, 91–2, 94; victim blaming 88–9, 92, 95n5; victimology and 88–9; women’s rights and 94; women’s shelters and 87–8, 91; Yugoslav feminism and 84, 86–7; see also sexual violence gender order 19, 138 gender roles: female violence and 127, 138–9; Islamist 180–1; post-World War II 84; protests of 1968 and 44–5; traditional 142 gender stereotypes 126–7 Génération (Hamon and Rotman) 35 Gerhardt, Christina 6, 8 German Film and Television Academy 71 German women’s movements: abortion reform and 23–5; discussion of rape in 99; female sexuality activism 101–2; heterosexual/non-heterosexual solidarity and 102; Ihns/Andersen murder case discourse 98–9, 104–8; influences on 99; lesbian women and 103–4, 108–9; origins of 24–6; patriarchal violence and 99, 105–6; political violence and 99; protests of 1968 and 19–20, 24–5 Gerwani movement: demonisation of 141–2, 147; literacy initiatives 140; militant ideal of femininity 140; Muslim opposition to 140; rape and torture of women activists 141 Gilcher-Holtey, Ingrid 36 Gildea, Robert 37
global protests: impacts of 1–4; Islamic resurgence and 136; New Left and 3–4, 136; transnational history and 3, 11; women and 11, 94; see also protests of 1968 ‘good wife and wise mother’ ideology 142, 148n4 Gramaglia, Mariella 45 Grisard, Dominique 10, 100, 135, 171 Gruzinov-Milovanović, Nevenka 89 Guardians of the Cedar 153–4 Hacker, Friedrich 124 Hagemann-White, Carol 28 Hajek, Andrea 23 Halbwachs, Maurice 21 Halimi, Gisèle 28 Hamas 170 Hamburg Women’s Centre 103 Hamlet (Shakespeare) 75–6 Hamon, Hervé 35 Hark, Sabine 99, 109 Hayden, Tom 4–5 Hearst, Patty 120, 128n7 hegemonic narrative of 1968: antiauthoritarian rebellion in 34; cultural and moral modernisation in 35, 38–9; feminist filmmaking and 70; generational conflict in 35–6; heroic masculinity of 37; linear timeline in 33–4, 45; marginalisation of women in 5, 33–4, 37–9, 56–7, 136; media role in 37; political impact events in 36–7; political narratives in 35; teleological logic in 38–9, 44 Heimat concept 104 Hellman, J.A. 43 Hezbollah 154 historical storytelling 25 Hobsbawm, Eric 21 Hoffman, Abbie 9 Homer 73 Homosexual Action West Berlin (HAW) 101–3, 106–8 hooks, bell 6 Hopkins, Terence K. 1–2 Horchem, Hans Joseph 128n3 Horn, Gerd-Rainer 2, 34, 39 Hoyle, Carolyn 177, 179 Huey, Laura 177 human rights 28, 94 human trafficking 90 identity confusion 175–6 identity construction 21
Ihns/Andersen murder case: counterviolence and 107–8; discourse of violence in 99–101, 103, 105–9; feminist discourse of 98–9, 104–8; media depictions of 102–4; patriarchal violence in 103, 105 Ihns, Marion 9, 98–100, 103–8 Ihns, Wolfgang 101, 105–7 impact events 36–7 Indonesia: anti-communism in 140–1; attacks on ethnic Chinese women 146; authoritarian rule in 141–2; faith-based transnational movement 142–3; female political action 146; female political violence narrative in 141–2, 147; guided democracy 140; Islamisation of 142–4, 147–8; marriage law in 140, 145, 148n7; Muslim/secular socialist antagonism 140–1; narrative of 141; negative collective memory in 147; New Order regime 141–2, 145–7; traditional gender roles in 142; violence against women 141, 146 Indonesian Islamic Propagation Council (DDII) 143 Indonesian migrant workers 146 Indonesian women’s movement see Gerwani movement International Islamic Federation of Student Organisations (IIFSO) 148 International People’s Tribunal 141 International Tribunal on Crimes against Women 28, 105 Internet/social media: Islamist terrorism and 174, 176; radicalisation and 176; right-wing extremism and 175; Salifi jihadi violence and 179–80; virtual communities and 177–80 Invention of Tradition (Hobsbawm and Ranger) 21 Islamic feminism 147, 181 Islamic resurgence movements: critiques of Western society 145; cultural Islam and 142–3, 146; global impact of 148; Indonesia 142–5; Muslim Brotherhood and 143; Muslim women’s organisations 146–7; political mobilisation 145, 147; in Southeast Asia 135–6, 147 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS): community bonds and 177; idealised vision of 173; oppression of women and 171–2; recruitment and submission patterns 171–2; women as agents 172–3; women fighters in 170; women’s participation in 169–72, 181; women supporters of 168, 171
Index Islamisation: defining 144; faith-based transnational movement 148; impact of 147–8; Indonesia 142–4, 147–8; Malaysia 145; Southeast Asia 135–6, 147 Islamist terrorism: online presence of 174, 176; women as agents in 172–3; women as victims in 171–2; women fighters in 170; see also women’s jihad Italian Female Centre (Centro Italiano Femminile, CIF) 41 Italian student movement 34, 45 Italian women’s movement: anti-fascist resistance and 40; constitutional rights feminism and 40; earlier generations of 39–40, 43–4; origins of 34, 45, 45n2; political consciousness in 43–4; political participation 40–2, 45; protests of 1968 and 43–5; women workers and 40–1; wounded emancipation 43 Italy: adultery double standards in 41–2; political impact events in 37; student and worker protests 34, 45; women’s family roles and relationships 41–2; women’s political participation in 40–2; women’s right to work in 40–1 Iveković, Sanja 86–7 Jamaah Tarbiyah movement 144 Jameson, Frederic 70 Japan: anti-nuclear movement 139; female political violence narrative in 137–9, 142, 147; idealised role of women in 148n4; women’s movements 138, 147 Japanese New Left 135, 139 Japanese Red Army (Nihon Sekigun): female violence in 135, 137; Middle East and 135–7; Tel Aviv International Airport attack 137, 148n1; women leaders in 137–8 Jassny, Alexander 121 Jennings, Judith 54, 60–2 Jeremić, Katja 91 jihadi movement: behaviour and lifestyle in 178–9; belonging and 179; feminine space in 178; gender roles in 181; identity confusion and 175–6; status frustration and 175–6; subculture and 174–9; virtual communities and 177–80; women in 168–70; see also women’s jihad Johnson, Janet Elise 94 Jones, Ann 127 Jospin, Lionel 26 Kadić, Nina 94 Kaltenbrunner, Gerd-Klaus 123
Karcher, Katharina 8 Kašić, Biljana 94 Keck, Margaret E. 94 Kerouac, Jack 73 Kings of the Road (Im Lauf der Zeit) (Wenders) 74 Knight, Julia 70 Kodrnja, Jasenka 91 Krause, Petra 125–7 Kraushaar, Wolfgang 136 Kröcher, Norbert 124 Kröcher-Tiedemann, Gabriele 124–7 Kuckuc, Ina 107 Kurz, Jan 34 La condition de la Française d’aujourd’hui (Michel and Texier) 22 Lahoud, Nelly 169 Laqueur, Walter 119 League for Women’s Rights (Ligue du droit des femmes) 27–8 Lebanese civil war (1975–1990): activist mobilisation and 159–60; causes of 152; female fighters in 151–2, 154–5, 157, 161–4; impacts of 153; militias involved in 153–5, 157–8, 160; opponents in 152–3 Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) 153–4, 158, 161, 163 Lebanese Forces 154 Lebanese Front (LF) 153–5, 160 Lebanese Kataeb Party 153–4, 161–2, 164 Lebanese militias: alliances of 153–4; Christian 153–4, 157–9, 162, 164; conservative gender norms in 161–2; gender segregation in 163; links with leftist organisations 157–8; protests of 1968 and 157–9, 161, 164; women’s participation in 151–2, 154–9, 161–4 Lebanese National Movement (LMN) 153–4, 157, 160, 164 Lebanese women: changing roles of 156–7; in militias 151–2, 154–7, 161–4; political activism of 156, 160 Lebanon: gender progress in 156–7; political change in 156; political polarisation in 160; protests of 1968 in 151–2, 157; public education in 156; social change in 155–6; ties to the West 157 lesbian women: activism and 101–2; counterviolence 106–7; crimes against 101, 108; criminalisation of 99–101, 103; discrimination and 101; feminist turn of 102, 108–9; media representations of 99–103; women’s solidarity and 102; women terrorists as 100
Liow, Joseph Chinyong 142 Litričin, Vera 88 Little Difference and its Big Consequences, The (Schwarzer) 25 Lloyd, Ann 10 Lombroso, Cesare 100 Lonzi, Carla 34 Lóránd, Zsófia 5, 8 Lotta Continua 45 Madinier, Rémy 143 Madjid, Nurcholish 145 Malaysia 145 Marcuse, Herbert 9 Marsinah 146 Marwick, Andrew 35 masculine sphere 117 masculinity: criminality and 121, 129n12; culture and 25; hegemonic narrative of 1968 and 27, 33; social construction of 19 McAliskey, Bernadette Devlin 55–7, 59, 62, 64 McCormick, Richard 70 meaning-making 118 Medea, Andra 89 media representations: bourgeois imaginary and 117–18; gendered gaze in 117–18; of lesbian women 99–103; of terrorism 117–20 Meinhof, Ulrike 122, 124–5, 127, 129n18, 137, 179 Melzer, Patricia 10, 99, 139 memory construction 21 memory contest 19, 29n1 Michel, Andrée 22 Millett, Kate 99 Mina 42 Mlađenović, Lepa 87, 91 Mohanty, Chandra Talpade 6 Möhrmann, Renate 70 Morgan, Robin 99 Mori, Tsuneo 137, 148n1 Morris, Penny 42 Mourabitoun 154 Mouvement de libération des femmes (MLF) 21, 23 Movement of the Dispossessed 154 Muhammadiyah 143 Mulvey, Laura 80, 117 Muslim Brotherhood: faith-based transnational movement 142; Islamic resurgence and 143; in Southeast Asia 135–6, 143
Muslim Students’ Organisation (Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam, HMI) 143–5, 148 Muslim women’s organisations 146 Nagata, Hiroko 137–40, 142, 148n1 Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) 142–3 Nancy, Jean-Luc 10 National Liberal Party (NLP) 153 neo-feminism 40 Neroni, Hilary 100 Neun Leben hat die Katze/The Cat Has Nine Lives (Stöckl): driving as independence in 73–4; response to 71; sexuality in 76–7; styles of 69, 75–6, 79; wildflowers in 75–6, 78; women’s lives in 69, 71–9 New Left: gendered paradigm in 7; internationalism of 3; as movement 3–4; personal/political in 5–6; Third World and 5; women in 6 New Order regime 141–2, 145–7 New Women’s Movement 98–9, 102, 107–9, 109n2, 178 Nikolić-Ristanović, Vesna 89–91 Nixon, Rob 69, 80n1 Nollau, Günter 120, 128 Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) 140 Northern Ireland protest movement: collective memory and 57; gender issues in 53–5, 58; marginalisation of women in 56–9; McAliskey in 56–7, 62–4; transnational history and 51–2, 64; Troubles in 52; violence and 60–2; women’s participation in 56–62 Northern Ireland women’s movement: political engagement 59–60; post1968 58–9 Oberhausen Manifesto 70–1, 80n7 Odyssey (Homer) 73 Ohnesorg, Benno 9, 36 Old Left 2–3 On the Road (Kerouac) 73 oral histories of 1968 37–8 Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) 153–4, 157, 161 parity: concept of 26; cultural feminism and 30n11; political 26 Parity of the Sexes (Politique des sexes) (Agacinski) 26 participatory democracy 20 Passerini, Luisa 43
Index passing 123, 129n17 Pater, Monika 99 patriarchal violence: critiques of 99, 105; heteronormativity and 107; Ihns/ Andersen murder case 103, 105–7; selfdefence and 98, 105–6; terror of 106 patriarchy: cultural feminism and 26; in feminist films 72; oppression of women and 27; protests of 1968 and 37, 44; rape and 89; slow violence of 6, 8, 69, 98; social feminism and 26–7; violence and 99, 105 Pearson, Elizabeth 171, 178, 180, 181 Pejčinović, Rafael 93 People’s Democracy (PD) 53–4, 57, 59, 61–2 Perincioli, Cristina 79 Perovskaya, Sophia 123 Personal Cuts (Osobni rezovi) (Iveković) 86 personal/political 5–6 PERWARI movement 140 Petzold, Christian 74 Pisoiu, Daniela 1, 11, 176 Pizzey, Erin 8, 29 PKK women fighters 168 political impact events 36–7 political violence: agentic view of 176; counterviolence 107; cultural beliefs about women and 122; gender roles and 139; patriarchal 99; public disgust towards 139; women’s liberation and 119, 127–8 Pollack, Otto 129n11 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) 137, 153–4, 160–1 Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) 153–4 prostitution 90 protest movements 3–4 protests of 1848 1–2 protests of 1968: cultural memory and 6; cultural revolution and 168; Italian students and workers 34; marginalisation of women in 24, 33, 36–7, 44, 56–8, 136; new social movements and 2; Northern Ireland and 51–2; participatory democracy and 20; patriarchy and 37, 44; second-wave feminism and 23, 33, 43–4; transnational history and 3, 50–1; women’s participation in 5, 7, 63–4; as world revolution 1; see also feminist movements; hegemonic narrative of 1968 psychological violence 91 Quick (magazine) 103, 108
Rabinowitz, Paula 80 radicalisation: Internet/social media and 176, 178; motivations for 177; propaganda and 176; status frustration and 175, 177; subculture and 174–6, 178 radical milieu 174 Ranger, Terence 21 rape: discourse on 89–90; feminist criminology and 89–90; Gerwani movement women and 141; patriarchy and 89; social feminism and 28 Rape and the Legal Process (Temkin) 90 Red Army Faction (RAF): media representations of 100; perceptions of women terrorists in 118, 123–4; violence and 99; women leaders in 136–7, 168 Red Army Faction (Sekigun-ha) 137 Reitz, Edgar 71 religious violence 11; see also Islamic resurgence movements; jihadi movement; Salafism Rentschler, Eric 70 reproductive rights: abortion reform 20–5; feminist movements and 90 resistance 9 Revolutionary Left Faction (Kakumei Saha) 137 Reynolds, Chris 23 Richter, Erika 71 right-wing extremism 174–6 road movies 73–4 Rossi, Paolo 37 Rotman, Patrick 35 Ruddy, Brid 61 Rudnyckyj, Daromir 148 Saad, Marouf 152 Salafism: jihadi subculture and 174–5, 179, 181; norms and values in 178; restrictions for men and women in 172–3, 181; sexual jihad and 171; women’s participation in 168, 172 Sander, Helke 24–6, 28, 70, 79 Sanders-Brahm, Helma 70, 79 Sannwald, Daniela 72–3 Sartre, Jean-Paul 9 Saturday at 5 pm (Sonnabend 17 Uhr) (Stöckl) 73 Scarlett, Zachary 4 Schiller, Friedrich 122 Schmidtchen, Gerhard 128n3 Schmieding, Walter 123
Schrader-Klebert, Karin 107 Schraut, Sylvia 127–8 Schröter, Susanne 140 Schulz, Kristina 105 Schwarzer, Alice 24–7, 103, 172 Scott, Joan 30n11 Scott, Ridley 74 Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear (Pizzey) 8, 29 Scribner, Charity 2 Second Sex, The (de Beauvoir) 22, 25 second-wave feminism: earlier generations and 44; feminist filmmaking and 70, 80; influence of 84–5; protests of 1968 and 23, 33, 43–4; West Germany 109n2 sequential negation 38–9 sexual jihad 171 Sexual Politics (Millett) 99 sexual violence: against children 93–4; cultural feminism and 28; feminist criminology and 89–90; feminist movements and 27–8; public attention towards 28; social feminism and 28; subjective factor 28; see also genderbased violence Shakespeare, William 75–6 Sham’un, Kamil 155 Shepherd, Laura 10 Shigematsu, Setsu 137–8, 147 Shigenobu, Fusako 137–8 Shihab, Fouad 155, 166n2 Showalter, Elaine 76 signification 118 Sikkink, Kathryn 94 Simone, Nina 2 Sisterhood is Powerful (Morgan) 99 Sisters in Crime (Adler) 119 Sklevický, Lydia 86 Slobodian, Quinn 5 slow violence: defining 80n1; patriarchy and 6, 8, 69, 98 Smart, Carol 120 Smith, Carrie 1 social feminism: sexual violence and 28; social and legal equality and 26–7; transformation of patriarchy and 26 socialism: feminism and 27, 90–1; Gerwani movement and 140; women’s equality and 22, 84 Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia (SSRNH) 92 social movements: defining 3; New Left and 3–4; origins of 19; possibilities and 39 Solanas, Valerie 107
Song of the Bell (Schiller) 122 Sontag, Susan 4 SOS helplines 87–9, 91–2, 94 Southeast Asia: Islamisation of 135–6, 143, 147; resistance to authoritarian regimes in 135 Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund (SDS) 24–5 spectacular subcultures 175 State Institutes of Islamic Religion (IAIN) 143 status frustration 175–7 Steinhoff, Patricia 138–9 Stewart, Edwina 60 Stöckl, Ula: education of 71; as feminist filmmaker 69–79, 81n11, 81n13; films of 71; formal innovations of 79; on the women’s movement 80n3 structural violence 8–9 student movements: anti-imperialism and 4; counterviolence and 9; New Left and 3; Serbian 85; Vietnam protests and 4; women’s movements and 19 Students’ Cultural and Art Centre (Študentski kulturno-umetniški center, ŠKUC) 85 Students’ Cultural Centre (Studentski Kulturni Centar, SKC) 85 subculture: artefacts of 175; Birmingham school 175; deviance model of 175; jihadi 174–9; motivations for 175; nonbelievers and 179; norms and values in 175, 178; radicalisation and 174–9; social relations in 175; spectacular 175; women-only groups in 178 Subjective Factor, The (Der subjektive Faktor) (Sander) 24 Subject of Murder, The (Downing) 98 Subjektitüde (Sander) 79 suffragettes 11 Suharto, Muhammad 141–2, 144–6 suicide bombers 118, 170, 181 Sukarno 140 Surgier, Annie 29n4 Švel, Ivo 93 Symbionese Liberation Army 128n7 Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party (SSNP) 153, 155 Tambor, Molly 40 Tanzim 153–4 Taylor, Verta 3 Tel Aviv International Airport attack 137, 148n1 teleological totalization 38–9, 44
Index Temkin, Jennifer 90 terrorism: dehumanising the enemy in 179; fascination with 118–19; female violence as 10; gender discourse and 117; media representations of 117–20; patriarchal violence and 106; subculture and 174; see also Islamist terrorism; women terrorists Texier, Geneviève 22 Thelma and Louise (film) 74 There Are Two Sexes (Il y a 2 sexes) (Fouque) 26 Third World 4–5 Thomas, Jakana L. 169 Thompson, Kathleen 90 Those Wonderful Years (Formidabili quegli anni) (Capanna) 35 Thürer-Reber, Susi 122 Tigers Militia 154 Timms, Stephen 171 Tolomelli, Marica 34 Traboulsi, Fawwaz 155 Tragedy of a Venus (Tragedija jedne Venere) (Iveković) 86–7 transnational history: absence of Northern Ireland in 51–2; global protests and 3, 11, 50–1; New Left and Third World relationship in 5 Tuchtenhagen, Gisela 79 Tweedale, Carol 53, 58, 60 Ulm Institute for Film Design 71 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women 28 Union of Italian Women (Unione Donne Italiane, UDI) 41, 43 United Red Army (Rengô Sekigun): communist transformation and 148n1; female violence in 135, 137–8; national narrative of 139; women leaders in 137–8 universal sisterhood 6 UN Year of Women (1975) 94 Van Dyke, Nella 3 Veillard-Cybulska, Henryka 120 victim blaming 88–9, 92, 95n5 victimology 88–90 Vidović, Katarina 91, 93 Viola, Franca 42 violence: discourse of 98–100; economic 90; feminist ethics of 138–9; against human beings 9; political 99, 127–8, 139, 176; psychological 91; resistance and 9; by women 9–10, 98, 169; see also
gender-based violence; sexual violence; women terrorists von Alemann, Claudia 70 von Hentig, Hans 100 von Knop, Katharina 170, 177 von Paczensky, Susanne 121 Vukadinović, S. 127 Wallerstein, Immanuel M. 1–2 Warhol, Andy 107 Washington Urban League 22 Wenders, Wim 73–4 West Germany: feminist filmmaking in 70–9; lesbianism and 99–101; New Women’s Movement 98–9, 102, 107–9, 109 n2; queer liberation in 110n8; second-wave feminism 109n2; women terrorists in 120; see also German women’s movements White, Hayden 25 Wieringa, Saskia 141 Willson, Perry 42 Witmer, Eric 177 Woman and Society (Žena i društvo) 84–5, 90 women: anti-fascist resistance movement 40; Cold War and 5; cultural memory and 1; marginalisation of 5, 33–4, 37–8; as morally superior beings 122; New Left and 6; oppression of 27; political violence and 139; universal sisterhood concept and 6; victimisation of 88–90, 98; see also feminist movements; genderbased violence Women as Crime Victims (NikolićRistanović) 89 women’s jihad: agentic view of 172–3; in classical Islam 169–70, 181; combat participation in 169–70; emancipation of women and 182; gendered subcultures in 175, 177, 180–1; ideology and 173–4; impact of 170; motivations for 170, 175, 177; online agression and 180; rejection of Western feminism in 173, 181–2; sexual jihad 171; sisterhood and 177; suicide missions and 170, 181; virtual communities and 177–8; women as victims in 171–2; women’s roles in 180 women’s movements see feminist movements women’s shelters: creation of 8, 28; Yugoslav feminism and 87–9, 91 women terrorists: agentic view of 172–3; characterisations of 119, 171–2;
contradictory representations of 126–8; cultural beliefs about 122–3; Czarist Russian roots of 122–3, 127; emancipation theory and 119–20; embodied gender and 125–6; gender order and 118, 138; gender stereotypes and 126–7; as irrational elements 122–4; Islamist 169–73; leftwing 168; masculine action/feminine spectacle of 126–7; media representations of 117–28; participants in 128n3; sexualisation of 100; suicide bombers 118, 170; transhistorical comparisons 123; as victims of dysfunctional families 124–5; West German 120; see also women’s jihad Women, Violence, and Social Change (Dobash and Dobash) 87 Women Who Kill (Jones) 127 Wood, Reed M. 169 wounded emancipation 43 Wretched of the Earth, The (Fanon) 9
Writing and Difference (Derrida) 118 Wrong Move, The (Falsche Bewegung) (Wenders) 74 Wuornos, Aileen 98, 107–8 Yugoslav feminism: action research 94; criticism of institutional positions 92–4; gender-based violence and 84, 86–9, 91–3; grassroots activism of 86; post1968 84–5; SOS helplines 87–9, 91–2, 94; universities and 85; US and UK training for 91 Yugoslavia: Croatian Spring in 85; feminist critiques in 84–5; historiography of 95n2; Serbian student protests in 85 Zaleha, Sharifa 144 Zelensky, Anne 29n4 Žižek, Slavoj 8 Zubak, Marko 95n1