Reading Judith Hermann’s Summerhouse, Later through the lens of New Feminism reveals, hidden underneath the stories’ apolitical surface, a provocative analysis of heterosexual relationships in the Berlin Republic. The stories propose that patriarchal structures continue to determine women’s lives, and suggest that the formation of feminine subjectivity requires women to take control of and create their own narratives of femininity. Hermann’s stories reflect New Feminists’ focus on the private sphere and their demand for women’s freedom to choose any image of femininity, including traditional roles. Following today’s feminists, these texts show the paralyzing effect of prescribed narratives, and consequently do not put forth alternative images that could become equally confining. Instead, they advocate a cultural-historical perspective for contemporary feminist efforts, emphasizing that feminism, even while seeking women’s autonomy, is a process within history that requires women to acknowledge the continuing relevance of past narratives of femininity. (EKB)


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pp. 50-75
Launched on MUSE
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