Gender Mediation in PostSocialist Culture

Revisiting a post socialist political culture and considering its mediation of gender, the media began to mis appropriate femininity. This is by allowing simplistic representations of what is supposed “real” political women look like, in order for a global consumer culture to identify and define. McRobbie (2008) suggests that specific and traditional gender discourses were conformed to in order to maintain traditional representation of “femininity”, this is suggested to be seen as ‘fashionable, attractive, heterosexual’ woman.
Kaneva & Ibroscheva (2012) focus on a ‘new generation’ of female politicians and comment on their diverse agendas. This took for, in self exposure that was intended to raise critical questions about the gendered nature of post socialist political culture of which Serbia ultimately conforms to.
Serbia remains to be considered as a post socialist culture, conforming to ‘ownership’ in a post capitalist society. Therefore I wish to consider Serbia as a visually owned and modern society based from and currently in a commodity culture.
Kaneva & Ibroscheva (2012) identify that the region (post socialist countries such as Estonia / Serbia etc) have seen a rapid and pervasive commercialisation of its media sphere. They continue to point out that this includes western genres (reality TV, tabloids, magazines and a variety of soft and hardcore pornographic products) which therefore provides relevance to the private and public spheres interconnecting which disrupts social patterns – similarly to the modernised communication of intimacy (sexting).
Attwood reminds us that we are dominantly a ‘self pleasing society’ therefore Serbia quickly embraced westernised values in terms of highly sexualised way and commodity. In Foucault’s terms, the cumulative effect of these trends is that the ‘subject positions’ for women to participate in post socialist political life have become severely constrained and restricted. Resulting in traditional gender discourses beginning to alter, ‘a transition period’ that Kaneva & Ibroscheva (2012) suggest the available public roles (for women) had changed from communist worker/ mother to post communist ‘slut’ and sex kitten house wife.
Roman (2001) points out that female politicians who refused to conform to these ‘new’ roles were and have been treated by the media as ‘unattractive, undesirable and unfeminine’.
I will explore the role of the successful business woman of which had emerged as an alternative image and representation to the traditional housewife. Despite being an alternative role, and highly sexualised within the media, it is a role where women are gaining independence, empowerment and social power (Foucault) through their physical assets.
A example of this self exposure that was purposefully mediated, was former Estonian president Anna-Maria Galojan (2009) appearing nude in the Estonian edition of Playboy – the headline under her name read “The Naked Truth” which was clear to representing the scandal that surrounded her at the time, of the restraints of being a woman in political power. Further case studies will provide a greater understanding of why women have had to result to to self exploitation within post socialist countries.

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Gender Mediation in PostSocialist Culture

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