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Legacies of the Second World War in Croatian Cultural Memory: Women as Seen through the Media

Legacies of the Second World War in Croatian Cultural Memory: Women as Seen through the Media This article examines several sex manuals from Nicolae Ceauşescu’s Romania for the ideologically-infused sex norms they contain. These manuals constructed a sexual ideal that located pleasure in the marital couple rather than in the individual, defining ‘normal sexuality’ as heterosexual and privileging its collective significance as an act for reproduction over the experience of pleasure by an individual. This collective model of pleasure was key to the construction of the communist subject as a member of a collective rather than as an autonomous individual. While this collective subject had roots in Romanian pre-communist traditions, communist sex experts rejected conventional gender roles according to which women are subordinate to men. Subsequent comparisons with contemporaneous American sex manuals reveal that the Romanian communist discourse on pleasure differed significantly from that of popular American sex advice of the same period. KEYWORDS: Romania, Communist period, sexuality, sex manuals, subjectivity, gender, cultural history Introduction Over the past three decades historians have increasingly abandoned the public-private dichotomy in identifying topics worthy of historical study. In response to gay liberation movements and Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality (1976–1984), the study of sexuality has emerged as a vibrant new field in history.1 Surprisingly li le, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aspasia Berghahn Books

Legacies of the Second World War in Croatian Cultural Memory: Women as Seen through the Media

Aspasia , Volume 4 (1) – Mar 1, 2010

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Publisher
Berghahn Books
Copyright
© 2022 Berghahn Books
ISSN
1933-2882
eISSN
1933-2890
DOI
10.3167/asp.2010.040105
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article examines several sex manuals from Nicolae Ceauşescu’s Romania for the ideologically-infused sex norms they contain. These manuals constructed a sexual ideal that located pleasure in the marital couple rather than in the individual, defining ‘normal sexuality’ as heterosexual and privileging its collective significance as an act for reproduction over the experience of pleasure by an individual. This collective model of pleasure was key to the construction of the communist subject as a member of a collective rather than as an autonomous individual. While this collective subject had roots in Romanian pre-communist traditions, communist sex experts rejected conventional gender roles according to which women are subordinate to men. Subsequent comparisons with contemporaneous American sex manuals reveal that the Romanian communist discourse on pleasure differed significantly from that of popular American sex advice of the same period. KEYWORDS: Romania, Communist period, sexuality, sex manuals, subjectivity, gender, cultural history Introduction Over the past three decades historians have increasingly abandoned the public-private dichotomy in identifying topics worthy of historical study. In response to gay liberation movements and Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality (1976–1984), the study of sexuality has emerged as a vibrant new field in history.1 Surprisingly li le,

Journal

AspasiaBerghahn Books

Published: Mar 1, 2010

Keywords: Antifašistički front žena (AFŽ); Croatia; cultural memory; gender; Second World War; television; war propaganda; Women’s Antifascist Front; World War II

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