“The Destinies of Women,” directed by Slatan Dudow and produced by the Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft (DEFA), the East German film production company, visualizes the socialist moral economy developing in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the early 1950s. It highlights the centrality of regulating women’s desires to the reconstruction of gender roles by the ruling Socialist Unity Party. Harnessing women’s desires through a moral regulatory framework that relied on socialist values to determine notions of right and wrong was an important aspect of post-1945 reconstruction. It not only provided conditions for the creation of a new socialist citizenry, but it also served as a useful way to address competing visions of fulfillment in the West. This article examines “The Destinies of Women” as a lens into the ways in which women’s desires were constructed and regulated through film and the role that desire played in legitimizing the socialist project in women’s eyes


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pp. 87-110
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