- Indifference, Identification, and Desire in Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas, Leni Riefenstahl’s The Blue Light and Triumph of the Will, and Leontine Sagan’s Maedchen in Uniform
- Women in German Yearbook: Feminist Studies in German Literature & Culture
- University of Nebraska Press
- Volume 26, 2010
- pp. 73-96
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article seeks to deepen understanding of the complex and unique position of women vis-à-vis fascist ideology by examining Virginia Woolf’s ideas on resistance from Three Guineas (1938) in relation to Leni Riefenstahl’s The Blue Light (1932) and Triumph of the Will (1935) and Leontine Sagan’s Maedchen in Uniform (1931). In Three Guineas, Woolf outlines two important ideas about women’s resistance in the political arena: an outsider’s indifference to patriarchal structures and an expansive identification that accepts and transforms otherness. Woolf favors indifference as the more realistic option, but in this article I argue otherwise. Examination of Riefenstahl’s films and her interpretation of herself as an indifferent outsider demonstrates that women’s indifference leads to further absence and even retributive violence. On the other hand, a reading of Maedchen in Uniform in relation to Woolf’s theories reveals that an outsider’s indifference only becomes meaningful if it is accepted and allowed to alter uniformity in a process of transformation that disrupts the tyrant’s power of fascination and his hierarchical reproduction of sameness. I conclude, therefore, that the process of expansive identification taking place in Maedchen in Uniform allows the private to reorganize the public, creates a space for the recognition of women’s resistance in the political world, and demonstrates that Woolf’s theory of identification is a potentially effective form of antifascist resistance.