University of São Paulo: “For Nuts, Badly Dressed and Shaggy Women” brings a new generation of feminist literature

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“This book is not for heroines; it’s for dirty, poorly dressed and disheveled women”, says Anna Carolina Longano, writer, actress, pedagogue and doctoral student in Social Change and Political Participation at USP’s School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (EACH), in the east side of São Paulo. Researching women, feminisms, the body and art since her master’s degree, Anna Carolina launches, this Saturday (17), the book Para Mulheres Porcas, Malvestidas e Descabeladas , which also became the central investigation of her doctorate. The launch will be at Livraria da Vila do Shopping Higienópolis, at 5 pm. The e-book and the physical version of the book will be available for sale on Amazon and on the website of the producer Cia. Pink noise.

In the doctoral program at EACH, Anna has the guidance of Professor Marilia Velardi. In her fourth book, the award-winning author and considered a representative of the new generation of feminist literature brings ten dystopian tales with women as protagonists. The work is permeated with questioning, mockery and criticism of the portraits presented, until today, by patriarchal societies.

The project for this book began in 2018, the result of a course taught by Anna’s advisor, who is responsible for the preface to the new publication. “Marilia provoked us to deliver something that we made by hand. I had just released my first book and decided to deliver something written, based on my investigations into abuse suffered by women in different aspects”, says the author, who turned real stories of violence against women’s bodies into fiction.

The tales are especially focused on abuses of a physical, psychological, economic and social nature, addressing situations and themes such as rape, suicide, aesthetic pressures, social gender roles, sexuality, motherhood and oppression of race and class. In all stories, stereotypes and behaviors associated with the feminine are contradicted.

The characters in the short stories identify themselves as adult women, between 25 and 40 years old, who do not seek to be “heroes”. Yes, heroes, in the masculine, because, according to the author, the meaning of “heroine” is not directly proportional to that of hero. “This provocation was one of the starting points of the project. I didn’t want to make women who will suffer, in the end, for the sake of others. But it was also not a desire to make a hero, in the sense of being a good example to be followed and admired,” she explains. Anna says that this condition is clear in the characters in the tales, who are often horrible people. “Because people are horrible, it’s not a gender issue. How great they can be!” she says.

Another delicate issue addressed by the author is the association between the stereotype of “misfits” and the refusal to play roles considered heroic. “In behaviors, a good example is not sought. [The characters] are not presented as young ladies, savior or perfect mothers, but with qualities, flaws, fears, doubts and certainties, reacting as they can to a violent world,” she describes. “They don’t seek to win big battles, they don’t want glory, eternity, and they definitely won’t solve any society’s problems,” she adds.

Although it is governed by difficult themes, a striking feature of the narrative is the mocking humor. According to the researcher, one of the outstanding aspects of the beginning of the feminist movement in Brazil was the sense of humor. Even so, feminists became known as bitter, unloved, and boring.

Rustic
The first contact with the book evokes the feeling of incompleteness. For Nuts, Badly Dressed and Shaggy Women does not feature a formal cape; just a blank sheet. The author’s invitation is for each person who reads to manufacture their own cover: writing, erasing, cutting, pasting, as they wish. The proposal is to rescue and value artisanal knowledge, historically linked to women. In addition to the blank cover, the book is wrapped in a kind of purposefully rustic packaging, in crumpled kraft paper. This unpretentious style is also noticed on the spine of the book, which, in fact, does not exist. The seam is purposefully exposed. To read the book, you have to tear it up.

The sensory experience is also linked to the author’s proposal of an even greater involvement and a different relationship with the book object. Finally, at the heart of the book, each story has its own design, with completely different fonts and styles, playing with the feeling of the universe of each story.

For the author, it is not enough to make women protagonists. It is necessary to present different understandings of women in this role. “Women deconstructed, women by choice, not by birth, women who escape the standard of femininity based on the white bourgeois woman of the 19th century. Women who represent the women of today, Brazilian women who learn more daily about themselves and their rights, who fear and fight with and for their bodies and rights. Women who want and need to be represented in politics, society and also in fiction,” she says.

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