FRAME 32.2 – Feminist Bodies
One week after the Dutch ‘Week of the Book’, and in the year we celebrate one hundred years of women’s voting rights in the Netherlands, FRAME presents the theme of their new issue: “Feminist Bodies”. The chosen theme of the Week of the Book was The Mother the Woman, intended to coincide with a year of looking back on the women’s suffrage movement – a movement which led to landmark changes in Dutch voting laws. While the theme was presented as an ode to womanhood, it still drew criticism from various feminist voices and organisations, such as Utrecht’s own intersectional bookstore Savannah Bay. For the most part, the response pushed back against the theme’s narrow understanding of what constitutes a woman (i.e. motherhood), and actively questioned the fact that only male authors had been invited to write on the theme.
In the current cultural climate of social movements like #MeToo and #HeforShe, debates about feminism and the female body have been gaining visibility. Feminists from all walks of life are coming together in street protests (like the historic Women’s March in 2017). Online, too, activism has been finding new spaces for communication and resistance. In these digital spaces, people not only fight for equality, but also claim agency over their own intersectional bodies and experiences, thereby addressing a diverse range of issues from sexual harassment to abortion rights, from the spectrum of sexuality to the gender pay gap. Indeed, these movements also question the legal, political, and cultural definitions of what constitutes a feminine body – or femininity at large. In the field of literary studies, we might wonder how these different bodily experiences and forms of activism become apparent through modes of contemporary writing.
In this issue of FRAME, we have invited scholars to consider the value and potentials of comparative literary studies, and related fields such as gender studies, (new) media studies, cultural studies, and philosophy, to address the ways in which these different bodily experiences and modes of activism are communicated through literature and language. How has the digital age changed the ways of communication and claiming one’s space, and how does this (re)shape our conceptualisations, and lead to new representations, of intersectional bodies?
More details soon to be announced. Meanwhile, please browse our earlier issues in the archive.