The battle lines are virtually identical.
The Women’s Movement in West Germany
Deep Throat 1 — probably still the most famous porn film in the Western world — is released in the USA. The film — showings of which are demonstrably attended by celebrities — makes million dollars. Feminists protest in front of movie theatres. Linda Boreman joins up with feminists as a campaigner and key witness against the porn industry. Furthermore, pornographic images are not to be made available to minors, i. For the first time in the history of the German press, the Deutscher Presserat issues a reprimand for sexism.
The child is Eva Ionesco. Eva Ionesco is marketed as a nude model by her mother, the photographer Irina Ionesco. The militant Rote Zora attacks six Dr. The acts of violence we experience every day on the street are in sharp contrast to the generally accepted argument that the deregulation of pornography helps reduce violence against women.
In the meantime, in Germany alone the porno industry turns over a profit of 1. At the district court in Hamburg, nine women — including Inge Meysel, Erika Pluhar, Margarete Mitscherlich, and Margarete von Trotta — join a lawsuit initiated by Alice Schwarzer to contest sexist cover images published by the Stern magazine. Female inferiority and male dominance are thus simultaneously articulated.
The plaintiffs know that they cannot legally win the case because there is still no legal basis under criminal or civil law to prosecute sexist representations of women. In fact, they want to draw attention to this legal loophole and to sensitise the public to the seemingly self-evident portrayal of women as sex objects.
Serial Crime Fiction
The charges are dismissed. However, the court justifies the dismissal — as expected — on purely formal grounds. The Stern lawsuit is in the headlines for months, touching the nation and contributing significantly to increased public awareness of everyday sexism. Women Against Pornography quickly grows to be influential: the group first becomes a talking point with anti-pornography campaigns in sex shops and adult movie theatres as well as a march on Times Square that is attended by several thousand activists.
Later, especially the activist Dworkin and the lawyer MacKinnon will develop draft legislation that aims to put an end to the humiliation and degradation of women in pornography. The Austrian lifestyle magazine Wiener, which from also has a German edition, publishes a photo series entitled Zeitgeist that consists of sadistic pictures of women who have been tied-up and tortured. They tie us up. They torture us. They murder us.
We have to seriously ask ourselves what can be done. And we will know how to respond. Furthermore, the draft legislation aims to close the loophole that was uncovered by the Stern trial.
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On the initiative of the member of parliament Renate Schmidt, the SPD organises a hearing on the subject in Bonn which — however — comes to nothing. Accordingly, a society — i. The draft legislation and the campaign trigger a general social debate about the consequences of pornography. The growth of new media — above all, the internet — has substantially increased the dissemination of pornography.
According to the Munich neuropsychologist Prof. For all that Infinite Jest is hailed as a towering work of American fiction, and for its numerous literary innovations and digressions Footnotes! Circular structures! Infinite Jest is a loud, ambitious, perniciously unsettling book. There are plenty of advantages to having the lead character in a story of a strange future be a journalist.
For starters, you can show a bunch of different aspects of the world and have a character with a vested interest in exploring them. While there are clear parallels intended to, say, the rise of Tony Blair in the s, Transmetropolitan remains deeply and uncomfortably relevant to contemporary politics as well. The drama plays out in a Toronto in which infrastructure has collapsed; the affluent have fled to the suburbs, and danger remains for those who have persevered. At times, the setup for the novel reads like a half-dozen urbanist trends accelerated at a frenzied rate.
Some dystopian fiction focuses on the terror that can emerge; Hopkinson leaves room for everyday joys and hope. In The Elementary Particles , the apocalypse has already hit in the form of the cultural revolutions of the s. Raised by a psychotically vain and feckless hippie mother, the two main characters — half-brothers Michel and Bruno — wander through life utterly lonely and unhappy, in complementary ways.
Michel is isolated in his mind and his work as a geneticist; Bruno is saturnine and compulsively seeks out sex. We follow the brothers and those around them across various humiliations, betrayals, and occasional horror, a forced march through the highlights of lateth century European ennui. The characters conclude that the misery of the human condition is so all-encompassing, only a root-and-branch genetic reconstruction of humanity — one that reproduces asexually and has neurologically disassociated sexual pleasure and reproduction — could possibly improve things.
The Elementary Particles is a late classic of the European reactionary literary tradition, both in terms of its unflinching evocation of the failures of modernity and in its cheap and seethingly horny provocations. Trying to describe the work of the French writer who writes under the name of Antoine Volodine among several others is nearly impossible.
His fiction often features futuristic settings and ventures down metaphysical pathways: Post Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven is set in a future where artists and writers run afoul of an oppressive government. Volodine focuses on a number of fictional writers and imagined literary movements; even as he chronicles the grim clashes between state power and artistic freedom, he also creates a sense of delight at how different creative communities affect one another, and how artistic movements transform themselves and those who participate in them.
Lord of the Flies contrasted polite British society with the Hobbesian state of nature and asked whether the two might not be so different; Battle Royale insists that the war of all against all was always already there — the scenario just formalizes the rules. But Takami makes clear that the everyday violence of family and school primed the kids for taking on roles as victims or victimizers.
Prepare to be equal parts disgusted and enthralled. Plenty of dystopian fiction makes memorable use of cities. Feed might have been the darkest dystopia I read as a child because the villain is amorphous and unbeatable — there is no single sinister overlord or town to escape. Anderson makes consumerism and vanity look unbearable and shallow, but also unavoidable. Here, though, one man survives, and so do all of the women. How exactly does the world fall apart?
Best Dystopian Books
What nations become powerful? What skills become rare? What resources become valuable? Like most dystopias, the series is also a product of its particular moment — some of its political gestures already feel a touch out of place. But it is still remarkable for how thoroughly it imagines its new world, and how well it executes its epic survival quest. In it, a group of youngsters befriend one another and their idealistic ambitions get the better of them, leading to extremely well-intentioned destruction that makes this both a dystopia and a great postapocalyptic tale.
Why this collection of short stories flew so low under the radar is a mystery. Derby is one of the masters of surrealist dystopia, weaving together big ideas and raw emotions to create a tapestry of depression and alienation that spans decades. Despite the fact that the stories are framed as being the tales of humans long lost to time, retold by a monkish order in the distant future, each tale stands on its own as a document of fallen-world—building. Women are forced to harvest so many eggs that their hips crack, food crises lead to everyone eating just meat, children start mysteriously floating, warriors fight with sound guns … the level of imagination is staggering, but the book remains grounded in the dismal fact of human adaptation or is it resignation?
Reading The City of Ember is an experience tinged with a constant, low-grade anxiety, like the moment before a jump scare in a horror movie. Lina Mayfleet lives in a world of scarcity, with food supplies depleting and no means of getting more. Even more terrifying, she lives in a world of encroaching darkness — the sky and world beyond her underground city are black and, like the food supply, the light bulbs are running out.
When the book begins, flickers and power shortages are commonplace, and Lina never knows when an outage might be permanent. Of course, we get the standard dystopian tropes: career assigned to you in this case by picking out of a bag , no strong parental figures, a younger sibling to care for. But what makes it unique among the bevy of early aughts young-adult books is how visceral her fear is. There is a clock running out, and we have no idea how much time is left.
With the self-centeredness of just about any high-school-aged kid, narrator Kathy details the drama of a love triangle and the sexual awkwardness that comes with being young and curious. But as she grows older, it becomes apparent that Kathy and her schoolmates are meant for a different life: to be cogs in the wheel of a larger system that is so dominant, so all-consuming, that mere thoughts of rebellion never even emerge.
Here, she finds state-of-the-art fitness equipment, art and cultural materials, and a friendly staff. It all seems decidedly pleasant — except for the mandatory nature of it, and the fate of all of the residents there. The result is a powerful meditation on questions of societal obligations, families or the lack thereof , and how one best leaves a mark on the world. Instead, he zeroes in on essential questions: What does it mean to be part of a family as the world reverts to a state of nature?
Is it more important to uphold some remnant of morality and idealism in this broken world, or does survival take precedence over everything else? This is not the kind of dystopian narrative that extrapolates contemporary events far into the future, or uses fantastical or uncanny elements to heighten a mood. The novel follows the title character as she escapes from a totalitarian nation and finds herself in a series of nightmarish scenarios, from grotesque industries to urban violence.
As she ventures north, she joins up with a group of like-minded women living on a farm called Carhullan. In the U. There are a few stylish flourishes that make this novel veer in unexpected ways. Hall offers plenty for sociopolitically minded readers to ponder in this haunting narrative.
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