Weimar's New Women: Performing Lesbian Womanhood in Printed Media from 1924-1929

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Elizabeth Keith Valerie Weinstein

Abstract

By Elizabeth Keith, German Studies & Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Advisor: Valerie Weinstein


Presentation ID: Room417_4


Abstract: The Weimar Republic's contentious and rapid turn away from rigid pre-war morals and ideals towards democracy and more lax social laws created space for ambiguity. The gaps in social and legal acceptance was especially critical for lesbian women, who were wholly absent from the German constitution at the time and were largely absent in other gendered discourses including tales of the liberated neue Frau. To fill this gap, women in Berlin, the Germany's gay epicenter, began publishing periodicals by and for lesbians. In my research, I look at how the space between freedom and acceptance in combination with the economic boom in Weimar's "Golden Years" (1923-1929) created an environment where monthly newspapers like _Die Freundin_ could be created by and widely distributed to lesbians throughout the country. _Die Freundin_ validated the existance and experiences of lesbians and was instrumental in connecting women to one another, creating a larger community. This discursive practice in turn created an identity unique to this community that was shaped by and in the writing in _Die Freundin_.

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Section
Podium Presentation -- Room 417 -- People & Place