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Kristina Popova 

Petar Vodenicharov 

Snezhana Dimitrova 

Women and Men 
in the Past 

Petar Vodenicharov 
Snezhana Dimitrova 


19 and 20 Century 

Additional Teaching Materials for Secondary Schools 

History sources collected by: 

Umut Azak, Basak Tug (Turkey), Vojko Kunaver (Slovenia), Andrea Peto (Hungary); Mihai 

Manea (Rumania); Violeta Achkoska (Macedonia), SoBJaDujmovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), 

Dhiiiiitri Bake (Albania); Kristina Popova, Petar Vodenicharov, Snezhana Dimitrova, Krasimira 

Daskalova (Bulgaria); Milan Ristovic, Dubrovka Stojanovic (Yugoslavia) 


Daniela Grabe 

International Seminar for Balkan Studies and Specialization 
South-Western University, Blagoevgradj 2002 

Kristina Popova 


Work of Men, Work of Women 

Politics and Emancipation 

Petar Vodenicharov 

Love and Marriage in Patriarchal Society 
Love and Marriage in Bourgeois Society 
Love and Marriage in Communist Society 

Snezhana Dimitrova 


Ideal Woman? 

Leisure and Beauty in Modem Times 



Love and Marriage in Patriarchal Society 

Body 19 

Education 33 

Ideal Woman? 45 

Love and Marriage in Bourgeois Society 55 

Work of Men, Work of Women 67 

Leisure and Beauty in Modern Times 77 

Politics and Emancipation 89 

Love and Marriage in Communist Society 103 



he purpose of the issue is to develop students' curiosity to the history of people living in 

South East Europe, We approach the past not from the overall perspective of highest political 
peaks but from the perspective of everyday life of common people. 

Many of today difficulties of women and men to communicate and understand each other, to 
find proper realization could be traced back into the past. We would like to teach young people 
to be more sensitive to the presence of past attitudes, values and stories into their lives. We would 
like to encourage them to seek better understanding of the others - the ones of opposite gender, of 
different age and nation 

Approaching the history of gender relations in South East Europe, we would rather try to 
outline the common problems of people of Eastern countries than to present different national 
traditions. We put greater emphasis on the things that connect men and women - love, profession, 
and human dignity - than on the ones opposing them. Ideals of being "true" male and being 
''true" female vary in different social groups and change in the course of time. We behave "like a 
man" or 'like a woman" not so much because of our biological specifics but because of certain 
social expectations and established traditions. 

This book is the second one in the series of Additional history teaching materials. In 2001, 
"Childhood in the Past" was published by M. Ristovic and D. Stojanovic (Association for Social 
History, Belgrade). We would recommend also the academic volumes ''Childhood in South East 
Europe", Belgrade-Graz, 2001 and "Gender Relations in South Eastern Europe" Belgrade-Graz, 
2002. All of the books were developed as part of the project '' History and History Teaching in 
South East Europe" coordinated by Kari Kaser (Department for Southeast European History, 
University of Graz).* 

We hope that our book will bring young people closer to the various life worlds of the past and 
will contribute Lo better understanding and cooperation of the new generations of South East 

The Authors 

*Book orders and furCher information: Project "History at^d History Teaching in SEE'\ Department For Southeast Euro- 
pean History. University of Graz. Mozartgasse 3. A-SOIO, Graz, Austria: phone +43/316/380-2374, -2352, fax; +43/316/ 
380-9735, e-mail :dan(ela.3rabe@uni-gra^-at 







H -bS^- 

Sea PitMlgoi 











Ionian < 

h V VH^ 



Love and Marriage 
in Patriarchal Society 

The w&cfding party was alt kin and vJHage event, Bulgaria, KovBchema, IdTOs 

Family and Kinship 

When we talk about marriage, we put 
greater emphasis on the things that connect 
men and women than on the ones separating 
them - we talk about family, kinship, nation. 
Christian religion rejects polygamy and affirms 
the monogamous family - one husband and 
one wife bonded together in sacred matrimony 
forever. Later on, the monogamy model was 
also accepted by people of other religions (Is- 
iamic, Jewish) and in the 19'^ century it was 
predominant on the Balkans, 

But what we today perceive as a typical 
family; a husband, a wife and two or three chil- 
dren living in a separate home, having their 
own budget and bonded by mutual love has 

been an exception in the past. The family on 
the Balkans in the still patriarchal 19 century 
had been part of a bigger community - the 
husband^s kin. Sometimes parents, their mar- 
ried sons with their wives and children and 
yet unmarried daughters used to live all to- 
gether in one home and were working on one 
farm (so called ''zadruga'^). The extended fami- 
lies including several generations of direct and 
indirect relatives were characteristic more of 
the shepherd high-mountain regions of the 
Balkans (Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo) 
where they had survived the longest. The kin 
solidarity helped the complex organization of 
work, as well as the protection from outside 
attacks and robberies. 

Often extended families were transitional 


phenomena, Manied sons especially after get- 
ting children used to seek for separate settle- 
ments and for their shares of the common land. 
Father was obliged to help his eldest son to 
build a house; only the youngest son was ex- 
pected to live with his parents inheriting the 
family house as a reward for his taking care of 
the parents. Nevertheless living in separate, 
most often neighboring houses kin related 
families used to support each other. At the end 
of 19 century, 
the average 
size of house- 
holds in Bul- 
garia was 5.6 
people; fami- 
lies in Serbia 
were more ex- 
tended - 8,6 
people. A kind 
of family indi- 
vidualism was 
typical for 
Greece - new 
niarried couple 
used to move to 
their own house, 
which was of- 
ten part of the dowry of the bride. 

The choice of a spouse in the kin patriar- 
chal family had not been so much personal 
but mostly the decision of the parents: a lead- 
ing factor in taking this decision had been the 
diligence, amenability and wealth, all needed 
for the mutual work and survivaL 

Until World War I, a big part of the popula- 
tion of South-Eastem Europe had been rural 
and primarily agricultural (mostly in Serbia — 
85% and least in Slovenia - 59%). The agri- 
cuitural activities of men and women had been 
strictly divided, yet connected and close. Tlie 
mairied couples expected their children to help 
them with the farming - 5-6 years old they 
were already included in the aCTicultural work. 

Scutari in 1901, Albania 

With the exclamation "We have a boy-mower" 
or ''We have a girl-harvester' the relatives used 
to announce the birth of a baby boy or a baby 
girk Families used to have a lot of children 
(between 7 and 12) but there had also been a 
high moitality rate because of the harder liv- 
ing conditions and the lack of health care. 

Romania and Yugoslavia had the biggest de- 
mographic increase during the 1930s: 35-31 
children of 1000. In 1910 average rural fam- 
ily in Bulgaria 
consisted of 
6.1 members 
and urban one 
- of 4.5 mem- 

The age to 
get married had 
been low, espe- 
cially for the 
girls: in Roma- 
nia during the 
1920s: 15 
years of age for 
the girls, and in 
the wealthier 
town families - 
18 years of age. 
But life expectancy had been low, as well: in 
1900 men in Hungary were expected to live 
for 36.6 years, and women a httlc longer - 

Patriarchal po wen, Common laws, Legis- 

Bali^an proverbs claimed that ''A woman 
without a husband is like an unbridled horse''; 
"Women are not worthy even to smell the 
places w^ere men step". Men were granted 
great power over women in the patriarchal 
family: women after getting married had to 
accept the husband's family name and place 
of living; in case she had became a widow, 
she was not allowed to inherit any part of the 


Preparing the bridCj Albania, Pavie Yovanovich^ Croatian painter (1859 - 1931) 

jointly acquired family property and goods; 
the wife could not be engaged in trade with- 
out the exclusive consent of her husband; the 
husband could insult and beat his wife; in cases 
of family arguments, the husband had the de- 
cisive word and a few cases advanced to the 
court; husbands were to represent women in 

According to the Bulgarian laws of 1906 
female children inherited twice as less prop- 
erty and cattle in comparison to male children, 
despite the fact that boys had often been sent 
to study and girls were to take care of the fam- 
ily property. Wives, however, kept in their pos- 
session the property that they had brought in 
the family after marriage, and coitid entirely 
dispose of it (even loan money, received from 
sold personal property^ with an interest to their 

In Serbia, according to the common law, 
the sroom had to offer a ransom of 25 srosha 

to the father of his bride. King A. Kara- 
dzordzevic issued a decree rejecting this law 
as ''offending human dignity". According to 
the legislature of Serbia (1844 - 1945) daugh- 
ters did not have the right to inherit their par- 
ents in case that there were male inheritors; 
widows did not have the right to inherit their 
husband's property - they had been allowed 
only to live in his lands until their death; in 
case of divorce, girls over 7 years and boys 
over 4 years of age belonged to the father, only 
children born out of wedlock belonged to the 
mother and she was not allowed to ask for le- 
gal recognition of fatherhood or money sup- 
port. The common law tradition that daugh- 
ters get small part of family proj>erty (''miraz") 
opposed for a long time the official legisla- 

in Romania, the Constitution of 1886 
adopted the Napoleon's civic code: women did 
not have any right of property (except in the 


case they were widows without any son of full 
legal age). Women could not be represented 
in the court; they were not allowed to partici- 
pate in taking important judicial decisions con- 
cerning the lives of their children (keeping 
them after a divorce or protecting them in the 
case of family abuse). 

In Greece, property, name and reputation 
were also handed over from male to male, but 
there were other local practices: in some 
Aegean areas, girl used to inherit a house as a 
dowry; property and name were handed over 
in two directions: fathers to sons and mothers 
the daughters. 

The status of women in patriarchal family 
was not permanent: most suppressed was the 
young wife until getting her first child (she 
had to work most and to obey all elder rela- 

Peasant family, Macedonia, t930s 

tives); while taking care of children wife was 
granted some rights. Becoming a grandmother, 
the woman achieved special privileges and 
could even established a kind of a matriarchat 
- some old women enjoyed smoking pipes and 
riding horses as men did. In Albania, when 
there was no male heir in family or close rela- 
tive, one of the girls could achieve a status of 
a man - she had to swear to stay virgin and 
she was allowed to carry arms, dress and be- 
have like a man (so called ''muzhka zhena" 
'manly woman'). 

Engagement and Honor 

The folklore of the Balkan people relates 
with nostalgia to the premarital courting, the 
passes made at girls at evening gatherings, 
about youth desires and love. But the deci- 
sion for maniage was based not so much on 
the liking and love of the young couple, but 
the considerations of the parents. The shy- 
ness and chastity of the girls were highly 
valued - the virginity of the bride celebrated 
at the time of the wedding was promoted to 
Ruarantee the continuation of the husband's 
kin, and the 'Mishonest" girls were publicly 
put to shame. 

It was not common for a married couple 
to talk about love feelings and erotic desires. 
In evei^day life discussing the needs of the 
body, especially sexual maturing of girts, 
pregnancy and birth has been considered 
sinful and nobody dared to attempt it. Sexuat 
intercourse lead to pregnancy and birth, 
there was no education about body and preg- 
nancy. Children were the biggest joy and 
support of their parents. Childless families 
were considered punished by God and de- 
serving contempt. It was not accepted to talk 
about the erotic preferences and experi- 
ences, especially those of women. The ex- 
aggerated sexual powder and desire of young 
bachelors was praised in songs, performed 
in special carnival occasions. 



1, Picture of an American painter, 
"Her lord and master" (Albania) 

Her /Ofd and master, Caton Woodvftle, Ameircan painter 



What event was represented on the painting. 

Describe the differences in outlook appear- 
ance, expression and conduct of the husband 
and wife, of the boy and the girl. 

What were the relations between men and 
women in the represented fatiiily? 

Was the American painter's vision realistic 
or romantic? 

2, Travel Notes {Bosnia, 19 ' century) 

"According to the Turkish customs, a 
woman cannot approach the court by herself, 
but has to appoint a man to represent her In a 

conversation between men, it is shameful to 
ask someone about his wife's or his daugh- 
ters' health. The man is ashamed to mention 
his wife's name when talking about her, and 
calls her "my one". It was not only Muslim 
women who where going out of their homes 
with a covered face and body, but also the 
Christian and the Jewish ones. It was not con- 
sidered appropriate for a woman to pass 
through the square alone. Christian girls went 
to church only once - for the Holy Commun- 
ion. This was a typical situation for the women 
in the towns where Turkish customs were 

It was different in the villages. The woman 
could be the head of the family as well as in 
charge of a village cooperative farm. From the 
names of some of these women came the sec- 
ond names of their children - Marichi 'the 
child of Man', Katichi, *the child of Kati\ etc. 
All the property belonged to the family coop- 
erative farm and women could have their own 
share of it and dispose of it as they think ap- 
propriate. According to the Turkish land laws 
a woman who is a daughter, a wife or a mother 
could inherit the land, which was possessed 
by her father, husband or son before their 
death, and she even received a document for 
that. Christian women in the villages did not 
cover their faces, and in some regions neither 
did the Muslim women." 

V. Skaric, 'Turkish customs in social life"; In 

^'Selected works", book 2. 

* :^ * 

"We learned that polygamy was not wide- 
spread in these regions. By the way, it seems 
that it is dying out in the other Turkish regions, 
but it has never been rooted in here. As a rule, 
the rich Bosnia men have only one woman." 
A. Evans, "Walking through Bosnia and 
Herzegovina in August and September 1875*'. 

V Maslesh, Saraevo, i973. 


Answer the questions: 

L Why had women in the villages been more 
independcfU than women in towns? 

2. Why did not polygamy get rooted in ihe 

Find out 

Examples in history, literature, folklore of 
strong "manly" women in the patriarchal times: 
heads of family, outlaws, and others. 


3. Travel notes (Bosnia^ 19 century) 

^'While accompanying the Russian 
Gilferding, a Bosnian man exclaimed loudly: 
"Beautiful girl r To the sui-prised foreigner the 
man from Saraevo answered: ''What do you 
mean, why, Don't you see: The golden coins 
on her neck will be enough for the rest of my 
life!" There is one more peculiarity of women's 
beauty that inspires Bosnia men. This is "fat- 
ness'*. The beautiful girl and the fat girl are 
one and the same thing/' 

A, Eviins. ^'Walking tluougli Bosnia..., 1973. 

4* Love folk songs (Bulgaria) 


Children in the village had usually slept in 
one and ihc same room with their parents and 
had witnessed their intimate relations; they had 
also witnessed the sexual intercourse of the ani- 
mals of which they took care at a very yoimg 
age. That is why the young people's attitude to- 
wards the body and the erotic desires was more 
relaxed in comparison to that of the youths from 
the town, for whom the body and its desires had 
been a tahoo or had been discussed in a rnther 
romantic fashion. 

Answer the questions: 

1. What images were used to describe the 
girl's attractiveness? Why? What metaphors 
would you use today? 

2. Was the song talking about love or about 

3. Which of Ihe qualities of the beloved were 
valued the most? 

4. Were the descriptions of the beloved in 
these songs expressions of obscenity or body 

5. Why did folk love songs usually describe 
women's attractiveness and rarely that of men? 

''My Mom and Dad to see 
What sweetheart I love 
At waist - thin popljyj^ 
Her face - fresh ct^cse^ 
Her eyes - black ^emes 
Her eyebrows - whca 
Her mouth - a silvei' ci 
Her tongue - sells^S 

'*When she went for water 

her face w^as shining like the sun Jn 

when she came back from the spdn ' 

her breasts were jumping 

like the fish in the Vardar river ^ 

likeThessaloniki lemons.'' 



Folklore love songs with this town love song 
from the beginning of the century: 

'7 WiLv drinking red wine yesterday evening 

and there was noi a drop left 

And sweary forehead I wiped 

yesterday evening in Ana \s curls 

I woiddn V desire even die Sultan 's daughters 

When Ana *s kiss is burning on my lips 

If there were a charmer i would stand before him 

And ask for three things, die first I?c!ng Ana 

Go awuy daylight, come desired nighi 

Because I Jiave a date with nty darling Ana. " 

What is the difference in the images and the 

Mark the true statements. Back up 
your choice: 

• In iiira! patriajchal society young people did 
not have eminent romantic love feelings, but prag- 
matic "gastronomicar' desires, 

• It was not accepted to talk about romantic 
feelings in patriarchal society even if they ex- 

•The individual expression in patriarchal 
society was restricted by a number of tradi- 
tional language formulas. 

•Health and wealth rather than feelinss and 
beauty were important in patriarchal society. 

• Beauty was valued in patriarchal society; 
however the notions of beauty were different. 

Find out 

Several folklore love songs and analyze their 
language. Describe the perfect girl and the per- 
fect boy according to folklore. Can you point 
out examples of romantic idealizations of the 
love feeling, chaiTicteristic of West-European knight 

5. Woman oral autobiography 


''Our mother taught us to weave, to knit, to 
cook. . . She told us nothinq about these, sirls' 
things. I was 18 years old when my first men- 
struation came. And my mother understood 
because I was washing... She may have wor- 
ried but she didn't ask me. Rags, cloths, we 
folded them and there. We were ashamed of 
menstruation at that time, not like now... 

During the first wedding night they close 
us there in the cellar and when the groom does 
his work, he goes out, calls the godmother to 
come and see that you are honest. In the cel- 
lar, where else, all were closed there. Cleaned, 
wiped, on a straw-mat, what else? Only for 
some time, until the work is done. I had gone 
to him and had slept with him two weeks be- 

Poor family,1920s, Bulgaria 
(Blagoevgrad history museum) 


Happy grandmother, Bulgaria 

Answer the questions: 

1. Whose was the initiaLive for sexual inter- 
course in tlie family? Who felt responsible for 
the unwanted pregnancy and suffered the con- 
sequences of that? 

2. Why had women felt old at 30 years of age? 

3. Was the first wedding night an unforget- 
table personal experience for the mamed couple? 

4. Was the interviewed woman criticizing the 
existing patriarchal order or was she expressing 
her support? 

fore, but we had protected each othen[.,.] 

[.. .] Whi [e we are young we were doing these 
tilings -every night, then, as you grow old, at 30. 
when you have children, youi cares are only for them. 
He hasn't wanted me in the field [. . .] 

[...] "My mother had a lot of abortions - 
probably over 10. She was visiting an old 
woman that did it with a goose feather, she 
pierced her, and then she used to come home 
and wait. She was covered with blood, couldn't 
move because of weakness. We, the girls, 
changed her clothes and looked after her as if 
she was a child". 

Oral autobiograpliy, a woman 

from the village of Teshovo, 76 years old, 

recorded by A. Pasliova in i992>. 

6* Story of a British 
traveler in Albania (1909) 

'*A man is responsible, too, for 
his guest, and must avenge a 
stranger that has spent but one 
night beneath his roof, if on his 
journey next day he be attacked. 
The s;acredness of the guest is 
far-reaching, A man who 
brought me water from his 
house, that I might drink by the 
way, said that I now ranked as 
his guest, and that he should be 
bound by his honor to avenge me should any- 
thing happen to me before I had received hos- 
pitality from another. [, . J A woman is never h- 
able for blood-vengeance, except in the rare 
case of her taking it herself. But even then there 
seems to be a feeling that it would be very bad 
form to shoot hen I could not hear of a recent 
case, I roused the greatest horror by saying that 
a woman who commits a murder in England is 
by law liable to the same punishment as a man", 

^ :|i ^ 

*' Marriage is arranged entirely by the head 
of the house. The children are betrothed in 
infancy or />; utero. Even earlier, A man will 
say to another with whom he wishes to be al- 
lied, *'When your wife has a daughter I want 
her for my son"[..J The girl may - but it re- 
quires much courage on her part - refuse to 
marry the man. In that case she must swear 
before witnesses to remain a virgin all her life 
,,.No man may strike a woman but her hus- 
band - or, if she be unmarried, her father. To 
do so entails blood, A woman in the moun- 
tains, in spite of the severe work she is forced 
to do, is in many ways freer than the women 
in Scutari, She speaks freely to the men: is 
often very bright and intelligent, and her opin- 
ion may be asked and taken/* 

E. Durham (1863 - 1944), High Albania 1009. 



In general in every family in the countryside hus- 
baad enjoyed an unrestricted power not only over 
fainjly wealth but also over family members. He 
was entitled to sell and buy, exchange and donate 
and manage the money of his family. He controlled 
every aspect of his family. All this power derived 
from hisownershipofall the family wealth. Be- 
cause of his absoluLe power he was known as the 
''head of the house' and the rest of the faniilv mem- 
bers known as the 'family serves", 

Al! the efforts of the head of the family were 

Father with his children, Gramada village, Bulgaria, 1920s 

aimed at the strengtliening of the economic and so- 
cial position of his family, increasing family wealth 
aiid family labor force. The family labor force was 
maintained by encouraging marriages and not al- 
lowing the sons lo live separately with their new 
families, hi cases when any of tlie young wives could 

not have children or could have only females the 
head of house decided that the son could have a 
second or even a third wife/' 

A. Dijaka, "Marringe in Albania", Tirana, 1983- 

Fill in the table: 

Roles and relationships in the Albanian 
patriarchal family 


responsibilities rights 




Answer the questions: 

1. Why did men have so much responsibilities 
in the n-aditional Albanian society? 

2. What was considered to be "man's honor"? 
And what was considered to be " woman's 

3. The price of the male protection of women 
was women's full subordination. What would 
you prefer for yourself- greater security or 
greater freedom? 

Chose the right answers: 

Which are the three basic reasons that lead 

to the preservation of patriarchal family relation- 
ships in the Albanian society till the middle of 


the 20 century. Support your choice. 

• The political dependence of Albania - 5 cen- 
turies of Ottoman rule (until 1912) that lead to 
the preservation of the feudal relations regard- 
ing possession and production, 

• Peculiarities of the traditional culture - the 
male cult toward the weapon and the custom of 
blood revenge. 

• Economic underdevelopment - tack of in- 
dustry; main source of livelihood for the popu- 
lation remained the prinnitive high-mountain 
stock - breeding. 

• Predominant mountain relief, impeding the 


consliuction of good transportation infrastnicture 
and effective state institutions - court, police, 
schools, municipalities. 

• The influence of the traditional for the Mus- 
lims Sheriat marital law and the allowed po- 
lygamy (tip to 3 women), 

• The predominant pail of the population was 

• As compensation to the huiniiiations suf-* 
felled during the centuries of political dependence 
and poor life, men on ihc Balkans have developed 
a particular cult towards honor and heroism. 

mngtorootit out. 

S, Dobroplodny, Bulgarian pedagogue, rS45; In: 
"The wheel of life" Rajna Gavrilova, 1999. 

"This mistake (the masturbation) dries out 
and ruins the bodies of children, pregnant and 
other women. It causes weakening of the waist, 
the eyes and the hole body as well; impotence, 
spasms, trembling of the arms and the legs, 
epilepsy, apoplexy and death at the end. (Cold 
showers, red wine and valerian are recom- 
mended as remedies). 

Greek practical medicine, 1845. 

7. Pedagogical and medical 
proscriptions of erotic behavior 

'I felt that onanism had crept into the 
school because one of my pupils rushed out 
of the classes as he was crazy and after that 
he was always sick and suffering to death. Just 
imagine in how^ many town and villages of 
Bulgaria this sickness, this desti^uctive pas- 
sion, has sneaked into and nobody is even plan- 

Answer the questions: 

L Why did the religious prohibition of mas- 
turbation as mortal sin start to be supported up 
by pedagogical and medical arguments at the end 
of 19centuiy? 

2. Why children bom out of wedlock, childless 
families and maj^turhatiori were considered to be the 
hardest misfortunes in patriarchal societies. 

3. What are the modem altitudes to these phe- 

Big family, l920Sj Bulgaria 



Histor>' is not only the history of political facts and the history 
of thoughts but also the history of our human bodies. The history 
of the body is the history of the adventures of our body as a place of 
pain and desire, happiness and grief. It is the history of the society ^s 
rules and prohibitions, which, through specifically developed so- 
cial rites and cenain language forms, make the individual of a given 
specific historic time to overcome and cultivate all emotions and 
fevers associated with shame, awkwardness and fear. 

The history of the body is a history 
of ruling norms and taboos in society, 
it is a history of fashion: the norm im- 
posed on the body by the society in or- 
der the differences of the social hier- 
archy to get fixed, so as there was con- 
trol on the relations between the sexes 
in such a way that individuals were 
aware of the limitations imposed over 
the exposure of their bodies in public 
places and private life. 

The history of the body is also a his- 
tory of laws: these concerning labor 
regulations which imposed such limi- 
tations that led to excluding women 
from certain working places and defi- 
nite professions, those regulating lei- 
sure time and the healthful conditions 
of work; such concerning the prohibi- 
tion or allowance of abortions, violence 
and crime against women and men. By 
the implementation of all these laws the 
state regulates the relations between 
sexes and thus is able to control the 
individual's attitude toward body. As a 
consequence, the history of the body is 
also the history of institutions such as 
marriage, family, army, school etc., 
which impose the ruling values which 
discipline the body in terms of the norms and attitudes of the time. 
The history of the body is a history of the images and the con- 
ceptions of masculinity and femininity of society, through which it 
creates the ideals of physical beauty and morality, the principles of 
"right" and * 'wrong" in order to regulate the social relations be- 
tween sexes as a basis of the order and progress in society and the 
state. It is a history of the ways in which illnesses and epidemics 


change the attitude towards the body, rearrange 
group's and individual's perceptions of the sex 
so that the healthy body and the demographic 
balance turn up to become basic values of the 
society and state. 

The history of the body is a history of the 
manner in which scientific consciousness de- 
fines it as a biological organism, and the medi- 
cine encourages the creation of the public ideal 
of "beauty" through determining what is 
''healthy" and what is "ill", focusing rather on 
morality values than chnical categories. It is a 
history of the concept of the body as a place of 
pain (birth, wounds, death.,.) and of the will for 
overcoming it, beginning with sports that should 
temper and discipline it. 

The history of the body shows how and why 
it becomes a place not only for biologically but 
also for publicly fonned instincts. Let us try 
together to outline some of the features of this 
process in South East Europe. Here the body is 
exposed to the influence of the public norms 
and ideology of the patriarchal, bourgeois and 
communist society. They are united by the com- 
monly shared idea that a civilized individual is 
the onej who holds its desires within the bor- 
ders, outlined by the community. In the fol- 
lowing sections we shall try to identify these 

Men and Women in Everyday Life 

In the 19 century there were a lot of limits 
imposed on female body appearance and behav- 
ior in the village culture and the early artisan 
city. They aimed at preserving the patriarchal 
sexual morality as a condition for a safe life 
and social stability. The patriarchal people as- 
sociated their views of the stability in the soci- 
ety and of the safety of life with the durability 
of the family and the smoothness of marriage. 
The traditional values were more concentrated 
on aspects that depended on the notion of a 
happy family: 

''To love, to have a house and to set up a 
home is one of our best national features. The 
Bulgarian youngsters did not like to scape- 
grace; everyone thought to start a family on 
time and settle in his own house; to take care 
of the house was pride for both the man and 
the woman. Marriage was sacred and holy, 
and celibacy was something ahnost unknown 
in Motherland". 

Newspaper "Patriot" (28.02.1889) did not 
approve of the newly appearing negative atti- 
tude towards mairiage among the young people 
of educated urban classes , 

We can get insights about the character and 
essence of "happy" matrimonial life and "fam- 
ily understanding" which illustrated the rhythm 
of urban everyday life in South East Europe 
from different sources (village stories, 
people's memoirs etc.). Lots of descriptions 
show that the idea of an ''unhappy" marriage 
didn't exist. 

Divorces were an exceprion rather than a rule 
because adtilterics did not exist and there were 

Peasant woman, Hungary 


no fdinily crises, because of wife's adulteries* 
Happy family life was of moral value and it v/as 
achieved because there were rarely violent 
quarrels at home as wives had to listen to their 
husbands and they did not reproach when their 
husbands were aiigry. Wives should respect their 
husbands' status and put up with their financial 
stability. These pictures depicted the 'liannony" 
in matrimonial life, existing despite the fact 
that the marriage was often the result of par- 
ents' desire, which was accepted as a law and 
where the longings of the heart were neglected- 
Everyday behavior in public places and in 
private life was also controlled. These restric- 
tions were meant to ''protect' ' the woman in the 
patriarchal worid from every temptation, vvliich 
could push her off the track of her basic role 
of mother, housewife, sexual partner and moral 
supporter of the husband in the family. The 
regulations of women's behavior in the 19 cen- 
tury included: 

• A woman was not allowed to look other 
men in ihe eyes, 

' A woman w^as not allowed to talk to a man 
on the street without a witness, except if the 
man was her close relative, 

• A woman was obliged to talk to her husband 
with bent head and always to listen to him. 

• What did "happy family" mean to the patriar- 
chal people? 

• Guess what other restricUons could have been 
imposed on women's behavior in public places? 

• What might happen to women who did not 
follow all these restrictions? 

Here are examples of women who did not 
follow these social norms. Let's see w^hat hap- 
pened to these disobedient women: 

Source 1. "Cramhnofher Nedelya was a 
teacher in Prilep (Macedonian town,) dur- 
ing the period 1886-1887. Her free behavior 
a^id smoking did not appeal to the citizens 

A married couple from Albania, 1875 

who could not accept the idea that a woman 
could afford to talk to men-teachers who were 
not her relatives. They imposed strict control 
on hen that made her immediately leave the 
city after the end of the school year *' 

HristoShaldev, "History of Prilep", 1916. 

Source 2* "//j Plovdiv, one of the biggest 
Bulgarian cities, prominent women and even 
those of middle rank were forbidden to go out 
of their houses alone. And if there was no 
relative to accompany them when they were 
going to pay a social visit, for example, a ser- 
vant was following them,... For a woman, it 
was impossible whatsoever to attend men's 
meetings. This was even more impossible for 
a woman-teacher on whom all parents' looks 
were fixed, I often wanted to go to some of 
the meetings held in the library' to attend pub- 
tic readings of frvnous siories and other liter- 
ary works, but I never dared to do such a thing'' 

Rada Kirkovich. memoirs, 1 927. 


• What did these two women refuse to do (or 
wanted to)? 

• What did they finally do? 

As we can guess it was not easy for a woman 
to neglect the social rules and restrictions. In 
order to control the body behavior of the indi- 
vidual public places were also divided into femi- 
nine and masculine ones: 

• There were separate schools for boys and 

• Pubs and cafes were meant for men only, 

• There were public talking and working- 
places only for men, 

• There was a horo (folk dance) for men and 
a horo for women, 

• The tickets for the theater in some Bulgar- 
ian cities were issued according to masculine 
and feminine seats; ''The entrance tickets were 
simple pieces of paper,, Mud had the letter M 
(for men) and W(for womeny\ 

N. Nachev, '^Kalofer in the Pasf , 1927. 

• What, do you think, was the aim of this strict 
borderline dividing the space where men and 
women could be expected to interact with each 

• What did people fear of if a woman and a 
man were in a close contact - especially when they 
could sit next to each other? 

-physical contact? 

-they would speak with each other? 

-emotional contxict? 

-they would speak about family secrets? 

This "harmonious" order rested predomi- 
nantly upon the giiTs and boy's obedience to 
their parents' will and to the family interest 
which limited the choice of a partner and, sec- 
ondly, upon the woman's obedience to the role 
assigned to her by society, namely a wife and a 
mother. This obedience was achieved by *wrap- 
ping' her body by prohibitions that regulated 

her everyday attitudes: including the shame and 
fear of her own body: This is why according to 
the norms of the patriarchal culture, the body 
should be covered by cloths, which had to make 
invisible its erotic desires; the body movements 
should be restricted in such a way to avoid 
any emotional contacts: touch with eyes, giv- 
ing a hand and touching the knees were prohib- 
ited. These norms made feelings and the sexual 
desires in something shameful, the prohibi- 
tions for getting in contact between genders 
created fear of one's body. Through the shame 
and the fear the relationships between men and 
women were regulated in patriarchal society, 

'*Fear of a man, fear of strangers, fear of 
her own self fear of everything. Was this a life? 
Just like animals: be bom, give birth, die'\ said 
the heroine in a famous play performed many 
times every theatrical season to a large audience 
in Sofia at the beginning of the 20 century. 

This is a text from Ivan Hadzhijski, a Bul- 
garian historian and sociologist of the patriar- 
chal and modem society, which describes the 
influence of the Turkish mentahty on everyday 
life of the Bulgarians. 

Source 3. ''Because of the influence of 
Turkish sexual conception over the craftsmen 
towns some restrictions for women existed 
which did not aim at their personal humilia- 
tion: the Turks, one of the most interesting 
people because of their views, guarded sexual 
chastity using all possible means. 

First: beginning with the idea that the ap- 
petite from watching is the preparation for 
eating, did not allow either another man to 
see the woman or the woman to see another 
man. There was no more fruitful means to 
achieve this than high fences and latticed 

Second: when a woman was to go out she 
wrapped her body in no less than 20 meters 
of fabrics and she put a veil on her face. 

Third: if by accident a man made a mis- 


Market place, Sarajevo, 1920s 

take with his first wife, or if she did not meet 
the expectation of feminine chastity arid moral 
values, he had the right to have a second, 
third, fouitb etc. wife in order to correct the 
mistake and thus to compensate for the miss- 
ing values of his previous wives. Thus the 
Turkish men can find everything within the 
family.,, and feel no need of adultery. " 

1. Hadziiijski, Way of life and Spirit of Bulgarian 

People, Sofia, 1995. 

• What was allowed and what was forbidden 
for women to do in everyday life? 

• What did the author mean by "'the Turks, one 
of the most interesting people because of their 
views*'! How did he value their attitudes to 

■ Do you agree with him thai "these restrictions 
did Rolaim at their (women's) personal humilia- 

• What could you say about his own values and 
his attitude tow'ards women? 

The division of the space in the patriarchal 
world into male and female provided women 
with the opportunity to communicate between 
themselves. Things that were not connected 
with the family were discussed. These were the 
things that challenged the female imagination 
and dreams, provoked by the narratives of their 
husbands returning from distant places. Usu- 
ally, this happened at weekends or on holidays 
when women used to go to church and had free 
time to be together and to speak to each other 
after the sermon- 
Here is what the Bulgarian politician and dip- 
lomat, M. Madjarov , wrote about such a day in 
mid 19 century, describing his home town: 

Source 4. '7/ seems to me that the women 
in Koprivshitza gain their public knowledge 
and development in the churches, but not from 
the church readings that are hardly listened 
to, but from the talks. Due to the regular go- 


ing to church every woman in Koprivshtitzo. 
meets at least ten other women and talks with 
them about many different issues. Everything 
that the men have brought back home and 
have experienced while being abroad is re- 
peated there. They know lots of things about 
Alexandria, Anadola etc. The towns 
Tzarigrad, Smirna, Aidun (the biggest towns 
in Ottoman Empire) etc, are known not only 
by name, but also by their climate, folklore 
clothes and customs. A woman is speaking 
about a town and another five women are lis- 
tening. Then another starts her story and this 
is how they are exchanging information. The 
islands in the Mediterrcmean and the Aegean 
sea are much more familiar to the women than 
the towns in North Bulgaria. Tzarigrad, Al- 
exandria, Smirna are nearer than Pleven, 
Elena, Razg rad (Bulganan towns)". 

(M. Madjarov, Memoirs, 1942) 

Let's remember that the division of public 
space into male and female was one of the ways 
trough which the bodily behavior and the rela- 
tions between men and women were controlled 
in the patriarchal world. 

• Why did the women have the need to com- 
municaie wiih one another in such a society? 

• What were women interested in? 

• What did men's nan'ati ves abont foreign conn- 
tries^ stocks and gifts evoke in women? 

• Do you think that female curiosity about the 
outside world, about distant places with exotic cus- 
toms and fashion would influence their attitudes to 
their own world: tlie house and family? 

• Did they try to change their clothes and ttie 
interior of their houses? 

Men preferred women to be only housewives 
and to do tlie work considered by them as fe- 

Source 5. ''If the machines enter Turkey, 

Sliven will suffer most. A machine for 10 
groshes will vv^^^v^ as much as 150 women 
weavers per day. Then woman will be re- 
leased from her work and will be free to take 
care of her twusework which she is meant for 
by God, i.e,: to cook, wash her Imsbond's 
shirts, make bread and look after her chil- 
dren and home. In Kalofer women are skill- 
ful weavers of wool and fabrics known all 
around Turkey... Here women are devoted 
only to weaving and cannot cook, prepare 
breads wash shirts... '' 

L Bogorov (Bulgarian intellectual):, Some Days in 
Walks around the Bulgarian Places.,. 

• What female skills were valued by men during 
that epoch? 

• Why were not femafe's craftsman skills ap- 

Of course, it would be also interesting to 
know what men did in their Free time. Here are 
two sources revealing their everyday life in 
typically male places: 

Source 6, '*Men in Veiiko Tunwvo (the 
fonner Bulgarian capi tal) crowd in the cafes dur- 
ing the winter, where they spend their time 
playing games, hi some cafes there are no 
newspapers or other readmgs. On holidays 
during the summer they go to the vineyards, 
or visit the near city\ or walk along the river 
on weekdays. Youngsters drink during these 
walks which is not good. " 

P. R. Skveikov (Bulgarian writer), LS85, 

1 . How did the tnale everyday life in a crafts- 
man town look like according to these extracts? 
Try to iinagine some of the family narratives told 
by these people and their atiiLude towards their 

2. Did they, in youropinion, have a hard life? 

3. Try to imagine what men used to talk about 
during their walks. 


students of F^m^fe school "Carmen Silva", 1936, Romania 

Boys and Girls: Getting in Cuntact 

As w'C know, the restrictions in ever>' day 
life of the 19 centuiy did not create spaces 
for social communication betweetithe genders 
before marriage, thus depriving them from the 
opportunily to get acquainted with each other. 
One of the results was the shame and fear of 
the emotional and sexual desires of one's own 
body, which was common behavior of women 
and men from that lime. 

These feeHngs of shame were, for example, 
expressed in the songs about the shepherd who 
did not dare to face and touch the maid chosen 
to be his wife by his mother during the first 
marriage night. In the semi-craftsmen and 
semi-farming village the engagement was con- 
ducted when the boy-shepherd was absent and 
he had not even seen the girl. 

Source 7. "Very often in the wealthy shep- 
herd families the engagements are negotiated 
when the diildren are infants and the weddings 
when they grow' up... the boy sees the chosen 
girl when he comes back for the wedding\ 

W. Dimitiov,Thehistoryaf a village nearKotel 

• Could you even think of such a marriage to- 
day? How would you feel in this situation? 

■ Do you know other examples of maniage con- 
tracts (e.g. from other social classes)? 

Source 8. 'The girls in Sliven (Bulgarian 
town) are of medium height, have roundfaces, 
black eyes, hut they run like goats from men 
and hide from them. They can be seen only 
from a distance and on holidays at the gates 
of the houses. Bui if you approach to them, 
they run and hide, Vety often they slam the 
door if they tiotice that somebody is looking 
at them with cunosit\K., " 

L Bogorov, Some Days... 

■ What do you think, why did these girls behave 

The shame and fean which detennined the 
emotional and sexual attitude were a result of 
all the liinitations which hinder women and men 
from getting in touch befoi^e maiTiage and fi^om 


students, Bosnia 

expressing openly their feelings. Even at places, 
where girls and boys were supposed to get ac- 
quainted with each other, such as weddings, 
drinking fountains in the villages, family visits, 
walks to the bakery and to the shops in the cit- 
ies, the exchange of glances and words was only 
possible under the rigid supervising look of the 
mother, a married relative or the old match- 
maker This supervision controlled their bod- 
ies, guaranteeing that they would be within the 
restrictions of patriarchal morality, i.e. the 
girls and boys would not touch their hands, 
would not look each other in the eye, would 
not talk about their intimate feelings. 

The deviation from these norms was pun- 
ished in the toughest manner, through pub- 
lic reprimand. IvanHadzhiiski noticed: 'The 
disgrace, The collective denunciation of 
sofuebody is a 'citizen V death \ it is the 
worst punishment, which often provokes 
shame in the guilty person ending up with 
madness or suicide''. 

• What did **a citizen's death" mean? How did 
other people Clhe society'') react? 

• Do you know si mi hir examples from modem 

• What is socially "forbidden" today in your so- 

The following story was recorded in the 
memoir book of an Bulgarian artisan from the 
middle of the century: 

Source 9. '"T!ie son of the most famous 
chorbadzija (a wealthy man) in the tovim was 
a schoolboy and he wrote some words ad- 
dressed to a schoolgirl.,. Ii was, of course, a 
childish deed in which there was nothing ob- 
scene. The father found all about it, got furi- 
ous and beat his son in front of all the teach- 
ers and students. The boy could not bear the 
shame, got sick and died. The father was sony 
for his action but it was too late'\ 


A girl masked in ban suit, Tirtiishoara, 1 9205 

• Wliy tlid Lhe father react in this way? 

• Can you understand his reaction - from his 
point of view, at his time, in his world? 

Tvan Hadgiiski gave an example of public 
ostracism of a girl when she refused to follow 
the reslrictions and norms of the community 
where she lives: 

Source 10. " Here is the short story of 
the first Troyan (Bulgarian lown) *prosuiute\ 
It is about Peua from the upper side of the 
town who agreed at the price of a sleeveless 

jacket to go with the boy who gave it 
to her to the village center, dressed 
in the same sleeveless jacket. Noth- 
ing else. Pena ''put this shame on her- 
self" and took this sleeveless jacket 
but died unmarried stigmatized as a 
''djadiya " (prostitute). And really she 
did something which was not allowed 
even to fiancees'' 

Imagine how the girl lived, what this 
social punishment meant for her everyday 
life,e.g, when she went shopping or when 
she wanted to go to church or to speak to 
other people. 

Ask your parents and grandparents if 
they know similar examples from their 

What about unmarried motliers, illegiti- 
mate children and unmarried couples to- 
day? Are there any differences today be- 
tween the city and the country? 

The social values of this time de- 
manded women and men, girls and 
boys not to express their wishes, 
^ dreams and feelings and especially to 

hide everything concerning their 

bodily wishes, desires and problems. 

For example, the prominent Bulgarian 
poet Kiril Hristov, author of the first erotic 
verses in Bulgarian, wrote in 1940 about his 
meetings in the end of the 19 century: '^Our 
meetings were very short and not in private... 
There were exceptions otily in moon nights 
when the blind street became deserted and 
asleep. We were walking side by side, not dar- 
ing to hold hand in hand, talkitig about the 
least important things, only not about haw 
much we love each othen " 

Do you know other examples (e.g. films, nov- 
els) which describe a similar situation? 


With the following text we can get insight 
of the male fear of the "threat of outside enter- 

Source 11. ''The woman from Gabrovo is 
still a housewife and caring mother. Her plea- 
sures are in ! he frames of these things. She 
does not know the humiliating pleasures of 
the outside world that has been ruling the 
women from Turnovo and ruining the fami- 
lies there. Devoted to her work in the house, 
the woman in Gabrovo teaches her children 
order and assiduousness. While the women 
from Turnovo, devoted to outside entertain- 
ment, lead their children in the same way and 
teach them to seek pleasures with all means'\ 

T, Ikonomov, Impressions from Traveling, 1871 . 

1. Did lie exaggerate the threat of outside" en- 
tertainment as walks, visils, gatherings for talking 
and gossiping, participating in female organiza- 

2. What kind of influence over the female be- 
havior did the author have fear of? 

3. Try to define the conservative values de- 
fended by the author. 

But there were also a few situations where 
these strict rules were ''abandoned", for ex- 
ample at holidays and weddings, even in the pa- 
triarchal world: 

Source 12, ''TJiere is a gathering of men 
and women, servants at Easter At holidays all 
the women and men from Veliko Turnovo go 
for a walk to the vineyards. Everything is 
lightened by fires at vintage: the women, 
mainly maids from the mountain villages, 
gather grape during the day and at night play 
horo. It is a merry view -fres, bagpipes, and 
the happy voices ''iihuu'\ 

PetkoR.SIavcikov. Bulgarian writer. 1885. 

''The weddings are the top of all the enier- 
tainment. The women and men play together 

New married, Bosnia J 920s 

a horo cmd so on. At odier time such "strong ** 
emotions are forbidden, impossible because 
of the rules ,.. TJie horo is ours, folklore. We 
all know it, and there we are free and equal. 
All the chisters from the people gather to- 
gether with small or no dijferences in the 
clothes '\ 

^'Balls and horo". Newspaper "Patriot^", 1 898. 

• "ftTiat ki nd of emotions were allowed to men 
and women at the time of holidays that were not 
allowed in the everyday life? 

• How did the celebration affect the relations 
between men and women? 

• Compai^e this entertainment with the one from 
Uie 1930s. 

•What has changed in the relations between 
boys and girls? Wliat were the restrictions that are 

• What new culture did the new dances create 
and how did they change the attitude of girls and 
boys towards their bodies? 


And here is an example of how 
young people started changing the tra- 
ditional ideas aboot the girl's outlook 
and behavior in pubhc; 

Source 13. '7 got atiached to 
Lucy. .., a tall thin brunette with sen- 
sitive Kps and lively devilish eyes. 
She was an emancipated woman^ who 
smoked, drank at bars and ex- 
changed dirty jokes with her 
friends.... She was a genei^ous crea- 
ture, wonderfully free, ready to help 
her friends.,. She loved Sava truly. 
Her manner of living, lack of self-re- 
strictions, her language were com- 
pletely different from ours, but that 
made her more interesting to us the 
'bourgeois* boys,,. She reacted with 
a mix of humor and curiosity to our 
mentality, may be sometimes wanting 
to be like «i:_. When the riuvor 
reached my mother she was fiorri- 
fied,.. 7 did not sleep all the mght\ 
she wanted me of the threat tliat such 
''affairs" pose to the honorable 
youngsters like me and Sava " 

Sl Giuev, Memoirs; **LeLopissi'\ 1996/7/8 

• What was the author's attitude lo Lucy's be- 

• Was this altitude a threat to the conservative 
values? How? Why? 

•Confront these Miberar perceptions of the 
1930s of the 20 century with the 'conserva- 
tive' ones? 

But even in the big cities where the strict 
patriarchal norms became more relaxed after 
the First World, boys and girls still felt uneasy 
to express their personal feelings. That's why 
they sought additional means to convey their 
desires and moods of theirs bodies: poetr>^ love 
depiction on greeting cards, phrases from love 

Hiking in Vitostia Mountain, 1930s, Bu[g$ria 

novels and from the newly appeared sound 
films. More frequently they turned to the guitar 
and the mandolin. 

After the First World War the number of 
women, going to libraries, was almost the same 
as that of men according to the statistics of 
Bulgaria and Slovenia. In addition their inter- 
est was redirected from novels and poetry, 
which were still the favorite female readings, 
to philosophy, history, psychology, sociology, 
and medical magazines. Along with the tradi- 
tional female magazines about housewives, edu- 
cation and fashion, which supported the tradi- 
tional female role, the girls' interest moved 
towai^ds knowledge, revealing the secrets of the 
genders and the wishes of the body. 


• How is this today ? Ai^e there still differences 
in the reading and leisure interests of girls and boys? 

• Which kind of youth journals did you read 
when you were younger? Which kind of readings 
are you interested in today? Are there any differ- 
ences between girls and boys? And if yes, why do 
you think there are differences? 

Let's see how strong shame and fear of one's 
own body were experienced according to the 
personal memories of girls and boys from this 
time. Here is the story of a 15 year old boy left 
in *'Once upon a time in Sofia. The 1930s and 
1940s in the view of a man from Sofia". This 
boy was BozhidarMihajlov, a famous Bulgar- 
ian cinema critic. 

Source 14. ''Tlie orator explained to us 

the secrets, connected with the reproduction. 
He used analogous examples from the life of 
hens, doves, and horses... No, we the children, 
were not thefmit of the God blessing, hut of 

the most banal animalistic and rude contacts! 
I was shocked, ashamed, offended, angry at 
my parents. I went home and threw myself on 

the bed, shaken by cries and tears I do not 

know how further we have gone in respect to 
the sexual education of our children and 
grand children. But I know that in some coun- 
tries the unavoidable discoveries, linked to 
the gender are made very painlessly and 
naturally for the parents and the children. 
Books are published that gradually introduce 
the children to this new world. They help them 
to penetrate without any stress or traumas for 
their childish psyche into the intriguing se- 
crets of the being. But then, in the 1930s, the 
sex was a taboo, which nobody dared to in- 
terfere with. The fear and inexperience of the 
parents, the hypocrisy and indifference of the 
society were allies in the name of silence, to- 
tal silence. The whole care was passed to Her 
Majesty the Street - the street with its extraor- 
dinary breath, with the known and unknown 


in it, the evil and good that is hidden In it, 
with till its secrets and seduction, But I want 
to admit that my brother turned to be a rare, 
happy and unexpected exception in this peda- 
gogical desert . I was in the 7th or 8 grade 
when one day (I still believe that he did it by 
his initiative) Mitko left a big volume on the 
table^ near the textbooks, 

- it is high time for you to read this book 
and learn some things - he pronounced these 
words airily and left my room in the attic. 

I locked at the book and read "Dn August 
Forel The Se^'ual Question '\ I was surprised 
and impressed. Tliis event did a real revolu- 
tion, which comprehended not only mine, but 
also the neighboring streets. The sexual edit' 
cation In the quarter was on a scientific base 
from this moment on. My lectures in front of 
the illegal auditorium were conspiracies - 

hidden in the nook of some yard. I made the 
corresponding images with a nail on the sand 
and after that I erased them very carefully '\ 

Why was the boy so shocked? What could he 
have preferred ? 

And how is it today? When did you leam about 
"reproduction'' and how? Could you speak about 
these topics at school? 

What roles do television and movies play in the 
field of sexual education today? 

Public prohibitions limited the sexual de- 
sires and love feelings of women and men in 
family. Generally the family was the only le- 
gitimate place of sexuality and intimate expe- 
rience of men and women till the First World 
Wan Love before marriage was not tolerated 
by the public opinion and was often defined as 



Advertisment of the new summer bath, Sofia, 1920s 


sinful by the traditions of the patriarchal soci- 
ety and of the Orthodox, Catholic or Islamic 
religious norms. 

Bat, at the same time a new phenomena en- 
couraged overcoming tlie old pubhc norms 
legitimizing the new attitude to one's body. This 
was the cinema. Its influence over the imagina- 
tion became more strong and effective than the 
power of the novel literature image, hi the mem- 
oirs of boys and girls from that period films 
were outlined as an important factor for "c/i> 
appi'aring of the obsolete shame of the 
youngsters to express their feelings^^. 

Source 15. ''The rebellion against shame 
from the physical essence of the body and the 
inherited norms for behaving happened very 
cautiously as late as after the First World Wan 
The example, given by some bald and proud 
girls from Sofia who bathed in the sea with 
tight bathing suits, was accepted with re- 
proaches and resentment by everybody. The 
joy that the released from the clothes body 
felt under the caress of the sun rays and sea 
waves, was named shameful, nasty, deprav- 
ing pleasure. The mixed sunbathing was pro- 
claimed cynical lewdness. This prejudice was 
not gone even 16 years laten 

In a summer day in 192 h when I was go- 
ing to the only beach at the old monastery 
*St. Constantine\ I met the Minister of Jus- 
tice... When he spread out his hand to greet 
me, he angrily said: 

- K., what is this scandalous, shameless and 
outrageous attitude and how does the au- 
thority stand it? 

- What do you mean? 

- Don't you see that down there men and 
women are bathing? 

- So what if this is a pleasure? 

' A pleasure! This is not a pleasure, but 

The other day. at the regular time, I started 
for the beach.. A harsh voice surprised me 

some meters from the stairs: 'Stopf ' There was 
an armed guard. 

- Forbidden for men! ... Only women can 
bathe here. 

... The rebellion of the minister sounded 
to me like a dead frippery, 


1 . What was the attitude of the author towards 
the patriarclial norms? 

2. Who were the rebels against these norms? 

3. Which were the new places where the body 
was released from the traditional norms of behav- 

Final Questions: 

1 , Let's remember how the boys and girls com- 
municated in the patriarchal society. Were there 
places where they could contact and get acquainted 
with each other? 

2, Compare Uie ways and places for communi- 
cation today with those from the past. What is the 
biggest change in the attitude to the body for the 
last 200 years? 

3. What ai'e the means and ways through which 
the young people start to overcome the norms of 
the patriarchal culture? 

4. How do tlicy start to get along with their bod- 
ies, understand their desires and then express them 




Throughout the historical development of education a clear 
difference in the treatment of each of the sexes can be seen. 
This is the case with the structure of educational institutions 
- schools, courses and universities, as well as with the regu- 
lation of the access of children and young people to these 
institutions, the syllabus design of school subjects and the 

design of teaching materials. 
Apart from the analysis of ra- 
cial, class, national and other 
constraints the history of edu- 
cation may also involve a gen- 
der analysis. What is more, the 
school itself (even the kinder- 
garten) is an important step on 
the way of the preparation of 
young people for their future 
roles of men and women. In the 
educational institutions young 
boys and girls were very often 
encouraged to play certain types 
of games or discouraged to play 
others practicing the roles that 
would confirm their future iden- 
tification as men or women. 

When the institutions of mass 
education in the bourgeois so- 
ciety were established, the ac- 
cess to these institutions was 
regulated and the results 
achieved by the students were 
considered as an important pre- 
condition for achieving social 
progress in adulthood. The sup- 
porters of the so called educa- 
tional idealism in the 19 cen- 
tury held that the primary so- 
cial equality was the equality in the opportunities for edu- 
cation while the rest of the social equalities were second- 
ary in character. Whether educational institutions imposed 
a differentiation of the sexes or they insured equal treat- 
ment of them was of vital importance for the developmen- 
tal opportunities of the individual. 


Girls and boys used to play in separate groups in the kiiicfergarten. Nord Bulgaria, 194Q 

*7 won 7 aliow you to become a nun. Yoii II be 
a lay person. No girl knows how to read,^' 

Education and Gender Relations 
in Traditional Societies 

Educational institutions for women in Eu- 
rope were established under the influence of 
the ideas of the Enlightenment. Of great im- 
portance was the idea of the Swiss education- 
ist Pestalozzi who analyzed the connection be- 
tween the family and social Ufe stressing the 
role of the mother as an educator. These views 
outlined the scope of the education for women 
placing it, however, in a certain social con- 
text, defined by focusing on the family fimc- 
tion of women. 

Education in South-East Europe followed the 
specific characteristics of the different parts 
of the region. Because of the specific condi- 
tions in which Christian population lived in the 
Ottoman Empire, the education Ibr women 
started first in the convents where girls were 

given some literacy training. The convents were 
the places where most of the first generations 
of women teachers were trained. In the middle 
of the 19 century they laid the foundations of 
secular education for women and established 
the first women's schools. At the beginning 
many famiUes were reluctant to the idea of 
education for women. The general opinion was 
that the girl should receive training mainly in 
skills needed for housekeeping or family 
farming and literacy was needed only if she 
was being prepared to become a nun. Many 
families were sceptical even as far as boys' 
education was concerned, but more and more 
vocational opportunities, requiring literacy 
appeared. For example they could become 
priests or merchants. The change of attitudes 
towards girls' education was due mainly to 
the ideas of the enlightenment and the under- 
standing that society needs educated moth- 
ers. These were the ar^^uments of the mid- 
19 century women's societies to start the 
education of young women and to sup- 


The First Graduates of the Girls' College, 1913 (From Zehra Toska's personal archives) 

port the girls who wanted to continue their 

''The ignorant person is an wurinimed tree. 
Education is a fortune which can neither be 
damaged by moths nor can it be stolen by 
tfueves'\ Wrote one of the founder members 
of women's societies in Bulgaria, 

However in some regions of South-East 
Europe it was as early as the 19 century when 
literacy was acquired by much greater sections 
of the popuhition including women. Such re- 
gions were mainly parts of Austria-Hungary 
where education became compulsory for both 
scKes as early as the 18 century. In the rest of 

South-East Europe the percentage of literate 


people increased in the tirst half of the 20 
century. The growing literacy rate for women 
can be illustrated by the example of Turkey 
where the share of literate women rose from 
less than 10% to over 70% in less than two 

Ratio of literate population 
by census year and sex 

Census year 

Female % 

Ma e % 











Ratio of female population 
in literate population 

Census year 

Ratio of female pop. in 
literate pop. % 







Woman in Sialistics 1927-1992, State Institute of 
Statistics Prime Ministry Republic of Turkey, 1995 


Every year I cried and begged them to let 
me attend high school. . . " 

Modem Society: Education and Life Plans 

At the end of the 19 and the beginning of 
the 20 century truancy was a frequent phe- 
nomenon especially in the countryside. The 
situation was especially difficult in mountain- 
ous regions where boys and girls had to walk 

for miles to go to school. Because of reasons 
like illness, work etc, peasant chi idren were very 
often forced to stop going to school. This held 
true especial ly for girls. Very often girls had to 
substitute for the mother and help her look af* 
ter younger children. The change of the atti- 
tudes towards school and education in general 
for girls presented an important change in the 
way of thinking which was very often associ- 
ated to a personal drama experienced by many 
people. With the expansion of women educa- 
tion to higher levels the high schools for many 
girls turned into places where they discussed 
their future plans and let their imagination soar 
beyond any limits. For many young women edu- 
cation and vocational training was the only way 
to achieve independence aud find the opportu- 
nity to help their families. Many girls aspired 
to job positions to serve society and to a pro- 
fessional career: as teachers, doctors or nurses; 
later on as pharmacists, lawyers, architects aud 
engineers. Having been educated women for 

Exam time at Belgrade Urriversity, 1990s (Transitions, 1998} 


many of them meant that their moral duty was 
fo help others , that was why many of them got 
interested in social services. The increase of 
the variety of social ser\4ces positions at the 
end of the 19 century enabled women having 
proper education to start careers as clerks and 
officers in the social services. Further educa- 
tion became ki real necessity and the question 
for university education for women was raised. 
Women's access to higher education was 
widely discussed. Some of its opponents ar- 
gued that women w^ere incapable of deep thought 
and had no scholastic aptitude. Others supported 
the extremist idea thai higher education and the 
stresses of university studies could prove fatal 
for the 'weak' female organism. Other moral 
considerations existed as well It was claimed 
that high education for w^omen would destroy 
the family. Family life might be endangered by 
women's involvement in social struggles and 
this, in turn, would ruin the values of mother- 
hood. Therefore a great part of the discussion 
on gender equality w^as focused on the stixiggle 
for the right of higher education. 

There was Jiocountiy in the region in which 
women's access to higher education was given 
without furious social arguments and this was 
to underhne how fundamental for society this 
problem was. For example in Ljubljana Uni- 
versity in 1919 women students comprised 
only 3% of the total number of students while 
20 years later, in 1939 they were almost 20% 
and today they are 59%. In Hungary the 
struggle for higher education for women 
started as early as the 1870s- The first Hun- 
garian women to become university graduates 
finished their education abroad: this was the 
case with the first Hungarian lady doctor Viima 
Hugonnai. Almost at the same time in Swit- 
zerland the first Bulgarian, Dr. Anastasia 
Golovina, acquired a degree in medicine. In 
Turkey it was in 1914 when the first women 
were allowed to attend university. In Bulgaria 
this happened as early as 1901. As we can see 

Albania, 1970s 

even before the First World War women man- 
aged to assert iheh^ presence in the universi- 
ties all through South East Europe. Even with 
the first generations of university students, 
there were considerable differences between 
the genders regarding the changes brought into 
the students' lives by their university studies. 
For example in the mid- 1920s a Sofia Univer- 
sity students' survey showed that out of 2601 
male students 245 were married while out of 
1004 female students only 32 were family 
women. Obviously taking care of the family 
affected the academic work of men and women 
in a different way. This reiterated the need for 
special amenities for student mothers. Another 
disproportion which had survived for a long 
time at university education was the ratio of 
men/women from the countryside . The same 
survey established that 518 men came from 
the countrv while the number of women was 
only 28. On the other hand though, in spite of 


First book, 1915 

such disproportions universities turned into 
places where both sexes could communicate 
on equal terms and where new forms of social 
life and new youth culture emerged. 

Although after World War 11 the countries 
in South-East Europe shared the general ten- 
dencies towards egalitarian education for both 
sexes, it should be bore in mind that many of 
the regional and social differences in the edu- 
cational opportunities were preserved to the 
present and were even widened. This particu- 
larly refers to the regions which are involved 
in military conflicts as well as great social 
problems like unemployment and high rate of 
emigration. These differences refer to the ac- 
cess to education in the areas of the foreign 
languages, computer literacy, or modem voca- 
tional education. 


It was not common for girls in the 19 
century to get a higher education 

1. The memoirs of Saba Vazova (1832- 

[.,.] In 1847 they got me engaged and then 
my brother Gueorgui, who had graduated 
Greek and French in Plovdiv, found out that I 
want to learn how to read and write.,. 1 was 
14 then. I couldn't get enough reading. If I 
was knitting a sock - the book was with me; if 
I was doing the housework or helping my 
mother with the baby - the book was in one of 
my hands all the time. My mother often scalded 
me that I was not careful with my work and I 
was wasting my time reading. She used to say: 
7 won > allow you to become a mm. You'll be 
a lay person. No girl knows how to read. It's 
only Nedelya Gulyuva who does. Do you want 
to be like her? Is that why you won't let that 
book go? Take the sock right away. ' 

When it was a holiday [ usually took care 
the rooms to get tidy then I got dressed and 
after that I used to sit down with a book in a 
quite room, I kept on reading all day long. I 
read through Plutarch, Telemach, Robinson 
(Robinson came in the inner pages of a pa- 
per), I devoured song books and many oth- 
ers... After that, when I read through the pa- 
pers that were received by my elder brother, 
I learned the news and often on holidays our 
relatives came in the afternoons so that I could 
read to them or tell them the news. 

Answer the questions: 

1. Where did young S, Vazova learn how to 
read and write? 

2. What was the difference between the edu- 
cation of the girls and the boys in the family from 
the 1850s? 


3- Why did S. Va^ova b&c:onn& literate at the 
age of 14? 

• Because she did not want Lo learn; 

• Because she was poor; 

• Because h was generally corLsidered that lit- 
eracy was necessary only for those girls who would 
become nuns; 

• Because her parents did not ±tiik their chil- 
dren needed to ieam; 

• Because it was only then when her brother set 
to iinprove her education; 

4. What is the difference between the life of 
the girl in the mid 19 century and Ihe life of the 
girl in modem times? 

5. \Vh3l skills were valued by the girl's family? 

• To be able to keep the house tidy; 

• To be able to cook; 
•To be able to knit; 

• To be a good student; 

• To help her mother; 

• To entertain guests; 

6. Can girls today knit socks? Is this skill nec- 
essary nowadays? Can you knit? 

7. What kind of books did S. Vazova read? 
Are these books interesting to young people of 

2, Memoirs of Efrossinia Nikolova, 
born 1885 

From ^'7 am a double mother: Grandma 
F rosea tells stories'\ 

A whole week passed I am not allowed to 
go to school. I keep on crying and begging 
mother to let me continue going to school. I 
promise VU help her, FU do whatever she asks 
me to do. 

Mother only says: 'Don't cry. You've had 
enough education. You see, you know how to 
write letters to your father. Vm illiterate. So 
what? Tm still alive! I need you to help me look 

Group of village girls at practical school, Bulgaria, 1930s 

after flie baby. Your grandma lives too fai* away. 
Winter's coming... 

I can't stop crying, keep on reading my les- 
sons, my friends from school came and asked 
mc what the matter was. They told me that the 
teachers asked them why Frosca was playing 

I kept my school bag like something sacred. 
I often read my textbooks. My younger brother 
Miho used the same school bag to go school, 
but he wasn't eager to learn, he wasn't as good 
as I was. 


1 - What were the reasons for the girl to be stopped 
Tom going to school? 

2. Point out those parts of the text which show 
hat the girl was really willing to go to school. 


3^ Biography of Vilma Hugonnai 


Vilma Hugonnai Gyorgyne Szillassy read 
an article in the journal ''Hon" edited by Mor 
Jokai on Switzerland where women were al- 
lowed to study. She was reading and educat- 
ing herself but her only son became 6 years 
old and her mother in law took over the edu- 
cation. Her husband did not understand why 
his wife was not satisfied with the traditional 
way of living as a noble woman. She was al- 
lowed to go to study by the family council 
consisting of only male members but without 
financial support. She used her family jewelry 
to cover the costs of her 6 years of study; she 
became a vegetarian because of financial rea- 
sons. She graduated in 1 879 and returned home. 
In Hungary she made attempts to notify her di- 
ploma, the committee accepted her application 
for a Mature, but did not notify her diploma, 
because w^omen were not allowed to work as 
doctors. She was advised to study midwifery in 
a course that she did with great dignity after 
she had al ready graduated as a doctor and started 
to practice as a midwife. In 1884 she divorced 
and spent all her life for health. The decree on 
opening the Faculty of Arts and Medicine had a 
point on notification of Diploma and her de- 
gree was also notified but she had to pass three 
exams at the age of 50, and she was given the 
degree on 16 May 1897. She died in 1922. 

Answer the questions: 

1 . What circles of Hungarian society did she 
come from? 

• Did she stick to the traditional life path of 
women? To what extend? 

• Was her husband able to understand her as- 

2. How did she solv^c the problem of Jacking 
any financial support for her study at Universit}? 

• Where did she decide to go after graduation? 

3. Wliat did she practice? Was her diploma rec- 
ognized? How old was she when she was finally 
recognized as a physician? 

4. How did her family react? 

5, Was she correct to her family when she left 
them for several years? 

• Was her fami ly correct to her when they left 
her without any financial support? 

* What are you ready to offer as a sacrifice to 
real ize your dreams to study? 

6, How lihould someone act if his/her family does 
not support his/her personal endeavors? 

Mark the right statements: 

During the 19 century: 

a. Women were not allowed to study university 
anywhere around Europe 

b. Women could not dispose of their own prop- 

c. Divorce was not permitted 

d. Husbands opposed to the university degrees 
of their wives 

The idea that woman are not able to get a 

public work or scientific career was also 

spread by some teachers in the school. The 

famous Yugoslavian writer Branislav 

NusiCy gets us back in the time of the 1870s 

with his remarkable sense of human 

4. The autobiography of Serbian and 
Yugoslavian writer Branislav Nusic 

[...] But when the teacher (of Mathemat- 
ics) had to explain us the meaning of zero, 
we were really confused, the teacher was 
set in a difficult situation too. He tried vari- 
ous ways, but either he couldn't manage to 
explain it to us or we couldn't understand 

Courses in culinary art, Girl's School for practical agriculture, Bulgaria, 1938 

"Zero, children, is nothing, but still it can be 
something- When it's single, if s nothing, it's 
not worth a bean, but if you put it next to num- 
ber ORCj it becomes ten. and if you put it next 
to two, it becomes twenty, God knows why but 
it's like that. It can't be explained easily. But 
now - for example my wife..* Before she's 
married me, let us say, my wife was ni ], but now 
with me, now she is the wife of the master. Is 
that right?" 

^That's right!" replied the whole class. 

After that explanation, of course, all of us 
started to (hink his wife as a zero, and every 
number ten seemed to us as a maiiied couple. 
In our children's fantasy the married women 
from our town appeared to us as zeros, and the 
digits next to them were their husbands. Even 
certain people seemed to us as certain digits. 
For example, the county governor and his wife 
looked like number 90 to us. 

Answer the questions: 

1 . In what historical time did the story hap- 

2, How did the teacher describe the zero? Do 
you think this is tlie best explanation of the mean- 
ing of zero? 

3- What lesson were children taught? Was it 
only about Mathematics? 

4. What do you think about the teacher's 
attitude towards women? 

5. How did the author feel about this lesson. 
Was his attitude reflected in the text? 

6. What do you think about the statement, 
that woman wilhout husband is zero, nothing? 

Mark the right answers: 
Why did such a parallel occur to the teacher of 

- Because his wife was not highly educated; 

- Because his wife was economically depen- 


-Because his wife' social position was deter- 
mined by his own one; 

- Because he had an occupation, and his wife 
did not have any 

- Because in his circle there were no women, 
having high social status. 

- Because the children would understand such 
an explanation. 

Some girls had (he chance to go to school and 

also to participate in study trips. 

The following paragraph is/rot?} an essay 

titled ''En route to the Eternal City'' by 


Zacharina Nicheva^ a student in the 8 clnss. 

5. Students fram the First Sofia High 
School for Girls shared their experiences 
during their trip to Italy in 1929. 

To i^ee Italy for real was for me something 
that I could not even imagine; in my earliest 
dreams this country was one of the most beau- 

tif til visions, for her 1 had created a whole new 
world, she lived in my soul and developed there. 
And now, I am going to this country from which 
Goethe departed with great sorrow and loved 
more than his own cold land. Where Shelly was 
laid to rest in peace, where Pencho Slaveykov 
left this world, he, who was the philosopher of 
our poetry, the greatest idealist in life. 

[. . .] We are walking along the straight well 
paved and broad street and the ruins rise at 
our sides. [...] T close iii} eyes; the street - 
bi^oad and clean, , . A motley crowd of aristo- 
crats, salesmen and slaves... The proud fig- 
ure of the tribune evokes whispers and greet- 
ings... Heavy iron door is slammed and the 
young proud patrician is hidden behind it. 

We are leaving Ostia antica, throwing fi- 
nal glance of farewell at the old Rcgina and 
hiding to the port itself. 

[...] The wind is playing with the green 
leaves of the palms, olive trees and Italian 
pines. Their sad whispering accompanied by the 
ringing murmur of the see waves rises up above 

Physics Students in Vitosha mountain, 1930s 


Students, Bosnia, 19^0s 

US to merge with the noisy joyful Iciughter of 
young Bulgarian kdies getting ready for a snap- 
shot. We are leaving Ostia, then Rome too... I 
threw ten cents in 'Di Trevi' fountain saying 
*Good-bye' ! 


1. What emotions were expressed by the 
school girls before their departure to Italy? 

2. How would you comment Zacharina 
Nicheva's education? 

• In what way did the girls' education affect tlieir 
perceptions in the foreign countiy? 

• WhaL impressed them in Rome? 

3. What couldn't they notice in Rome? Re- 
call who ruled Italy at the time. How can you 
explain the fact that the political and social prob- 
lems o( the time were not mentioned? 

• She was not aware of them because they were 

not discussed in her family; 

• Her teachers did not expect her to discuss 
poUtical and social issues; 

• She wanted to impress her literature icucher 
and to prove that she was an excellent student* 

4. What would attract your attention in a for- 
eign country? 

• The life of young people ; 
•Social issues; 

• Tourist sites; 

• Clubs and public entertainment; 

5. In what way can education influence Ihe 
schoolgirls' imagination? 

6. Describe a city in a foreign country and 
try to find out what influences your percep- 

7. What has changed in the opportunities for 
communication between young people in Eu» 
rope since the time when the essay was writ- 


School's excursion to Black sea cost, 1926 

Here you will find another example for a 

girl who had a high education and started a 

career as musician 

6- Biography of Suna Kan, T\irkey 

Suna Kan was born in Adana, Turkey. She 
started playing the violin at the age of five and 
gave her first public concerts when she was nine 
years old, performing Mozart's A major and 
Viotti's A minor violin concertos. She contin- 
ued her studies in Ankara under Izzet Albayrak 
and Lico Amar. In 1949 she was sent to France 
on a scholarship, under a special law passed by 
the Turkish Grand National Assembly. She stud- 
ied w^ith Gabriel Bouillon at the Paris 
Conservatoire and graduated in 1952, winning 
the First Prize. Later on, she received the title 
''State Artist' from the Turkish government. 
She was also awarded '^Chevalier dans I'ordre 
National du Merite'' from the Government of 

Suna Kan's extensive concert tours have so 
far covered most parts of the world, including 
England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, 
Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Russian, 
China, Japan, South American countries, Cmada 
and the United States, She has performed with 
many international orchestras such as the Lon- 
don Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, 
Bamberg Symphony, Residentie Orchestra 
(Holland), Moscow Symphony, French Na- 
tional Radio Symphony (ORTF) under great 
conductors like Istvan Kertesz, Arthur Fiedler, 
Walter Susskind, Hans Rosbaud, Gotthold 
Lessing, Louis Fremaux, Michel Plasson. She 
also collaborated with celebrated artists like 
Yehudi Menuhin, Igor Bezrodny, Pierre 
Foumier, Andre Navarra, and Frederick Riddle 
in performing double concertos. 

At present, in addition to her concerts, 
broadcasts and recording activities, she is a 
professor of violin at the Bilkent University 
Faculty of Music, in Ankara. 


L How old was Suna Kan as she started to 
play violin? How old was she when she gave her 
first publicconcert? 

2. What did Suna Kan achieve and how do 
you estimate these achievements? 

• In what sphere of the musical art dad Suna 
Kan show? 

• Why did she have to start to playing that early? 

3. How does the state support the talented 
boys and girls? 

4. What kind of the public recognition did 
Suna Kan get in Turkey? 

5. What other Balkan female musicians do 
you know? 

6. In what type of musical genres are the 
Balkan musicians most famou;^? 

7. Do you have a favorite performer or a band 
in South East Europe? 



After 1850s when still traditional values were taught to girls, 
there was also, step by step, a change of the female image. Men 
journalists explained the crisis in marriage and the newly ap- 
peared tendencies of negative attitude towards family life dur- 
ing the 1880s in the big Bulgarian cities with the fact that the 
educated abroad or at home officers and intellectuals could not 
find a spouse with a proper upbringing and culture. The stories 
of the newly married couples, which cannot find the imagined 
happiness, encourage celibacy. Journalists, lawyers, officers, and 
politicians from different politic and social circles in South East 
Europe were also considering the inequality in upbringing and 
education between the two sexes to be the reason for unhappy 
marital life. But they supported the educaUon of women to the 
extent, to which they could become worthy partners of their edu- 
cated husbands at the building of family harmony . 

Let's read the letter from 1846 which Vassi! Aprilov, Bulgar- 
ian educationist, wrote to his sister in respect to the choice of 
wifefortheirnephew, a student of medicine in Paris. 

Postcard sent by a soldier to his beloved during the Wortd War One, Bulgaria 

Source L ''His wife should be educated,,., hiow how to 
read and write Bulgarian books, arithmetic, geography, history 


and a little bit of Greet Therefore, you should 
choose a clever, witty giri with honorable and 
dignified parents, pretty and nice, and then 
suggest her father to start educating her in 
the things above...''' 

Why did the student need an educated wife 
according to the author? 

In which fields sliould women be educated? 

Pavel A, Rovinskij, a researcher of the so- 
cial life in Montenegro in the 19th c, wrote: 

Source 2. "A// the graduates from the Fe- 
male institute in Cetinje (the old capital of 
Montenegro) got married... Some of them got 
married to accountants or to highly educated 
men. The number of the intellectuals in 
Montenegro mcreased in some spheres of the 
public and state life. There is a rule for them 
to get educated wives such as the graduates 
from the Female institute. Thus the institute 
performs one of its tasks to prepare for the 
educated Montenegrians well educated 
women partners in life... Another important 

issue is that the educated 
woman introduces to her 
home what is absent now, but 
needed, for the man of cul- 
ture. Only if the woman and 
man are on one and the same 
degree of intellectual devel- 
opment, there could exist to- 
tal solidarity and under- 

Turkey J 930s 

What changed at the end of 
the 19 century e, g. m 
Montenegro concerning girls' 

Guess which the reasons and 
the aims of the change were. 

What do girls and boys leam 

- at school; al home; from 
their friends; 

Are there any differences in 
the education of girls and boys 

The same tendency ap- 
peared in the Bulgarian village. 
The village bachelors from the 
end of the 19th century pre- 
ferred for wives those girls who 
had been sei^ants because they 
are ''more educated, more in- 
dustrious and more orderly \ 
as Dimo Kazasov, a well- 


known Bulganan journalist md politician, wrote 
in his memories. 

Thus servirg was considered a kind of edu- 
cation and training for girls. The wealthier 
parents in the village sent their daughters to 
study the order of the city house, the meals 
and manners of the citizens. Tlie poor ones 
sent their girls to serve in order to provide some 
money for living and to support their fami- 
lies, The earned money very often were the 
poor girls' trousseau, and what thev had leamed 
in the citizen families helped them to find a 
better spouse. 

But there were also, of course, cases when 
serving became Ehese girls' misfortune till 
the end of their life because they became vic- 
tims of offenses, love deceit and se\ual vio- 

ploitation of young people (e.g. as au-pair girls, 
in summer jobs today etc.)? ^^ 

During 1860s the first Bulgarian female or- 
ganizations defended the need of education for 
girls in order to fulfil their role of ''worthy 
mothers and worthy partners" of men. In or- 
der to conduct this role, i.e. to be ''worthy 
mothers and worthy partners" of men who 
were already receiving their education abroad, 
these organizations tried to convince women 
that financial sources, efforts and labor should 
be invested in another kind of dowry: spiri- 
tual wealth. The women of these organizations 
were convinced that the lime was about to 
come when the great amounts of dowry and 
gifts would not be treasured as much as edu- 
cation and enlightenment. 

Do you know current situations with similar 
problemis? (not only in your country but in whole 

Do you know examples of other work ex- 

Discuss with the whole class: What is more 
important: a great dowry, a good education (and 
what education?) or botli? Find arguments from 
history and from present time to back up for 
your opinion. 

Womefi's amateur theatrical play in Szabadka, Subotica, 19t4 


It is clear that the dominant perception of 
the female role in the 19th century was that of 
a mother and a proper partner of her husband. 
The first female organizations adapted their 
activities for women's education but only con- 
sidering their family roles Therefore their edu- 
cational policy was directed towards inciting 
qualities that corresponded to the ruling ideal 
of woman during the patriarchal and early 
craftsman 19th century. The girl was to be 
turned into "meek, nice, neat and obedient 
maiden" and after that into a mother, a saint, 
devoted to the family, husband and children. 
This ideal influenced girls's attitudes to their 
own bodies and their public behavior 

Let see the notes of Rovinskij about the edu- 
cational influence of the Female Institute in 
Cetinje, founded in 1869: 

Source 3 . ''In recent times some freedom 
in the attitude of men towards women has ap- 
peared in Montenegro, although the women 
understand and accept it in a different way. 
Some of them like it because they feel free, and 
others stick firmly to the old Montenegrian 
opinion on these relationships. The gradu- 
ates from the female Institute in Cetinje are 
from the last ones. Sofia Petrovna educated 
them extremely in puritan spirit. They are not 
impressed by wealth and noisy entertinn- 
ment... The domestic coziness is above every 
other pleasure for them... I know a 
Montenegrian who is a graduate from this in- 
stitute. She married a man with high educa- 
tion and high status in the politic world. He 
is rich and lives in a city in middle Europe, 
where life is blooming. She enters the high 
society together with her husband. She is 
pretty and well educated and leaves a good 
impression in this society. She could l\a^e a 
nice place in that society but spends her time 
at home with the narrow circle of her 
husbands friends ^ 

How did the graduates react to the change of 
the male ideal of women? Did they agree? 

What were the reasons wme Montenegrian 
women to oppose to such changes: 

- no interest in intellectual things; 

-* a changed behavior was not accepted by 
the society; 

- a changed behavior was not accepted by 

- the husband didn't allow; 

- their peer group (other girls and boys) didn't 

- women were not enough educated; 

- parents didn' t appreciate. 

The female place in the society was still de- 
termined by her role in the family as mother 
and tutor of children, runner of the private 
farm, spreading around love and gentleness. 

Isabela Gruici, 1897, Romania 

Wives were equal to husbands in the organi- 
zation of the funiiJy economics and fann. Very 
often women had greater influence in maiiag- 
ina the household than nnen. 

Banat, 1920s, Ramaria 

Source 4 , '"My grand grandfather was 
a simple man ", wrote the Bulgarian poJitician 
and diplomat Mihail Madjarov in his memoirs, 
*'aud managed only the outside work: buy- 
ing cotton and selling theprodnctioih but my 
grand grandmother did all the rest. She con- 
trolled his money, did bis accounting, man- 
aged his working shop and dealt with the 
craftsmen work as well as the trade... But 
there were other cases - my grandfather the 
priest M. was a contrast to his father. He 
managed not only the church and outside 
worky but also that work that at the time was 
considered Jenduine,.. " 

What was the position of the grandmother in 
the family? Who was more important, the grandfa- 
ther or the grandmother? 

Do you know other examples where women 
had this kind of role in marriage (sometimes also 
due to male absence during wars)? 

Nevertheless, women had proved their abili- 
ties as managers of the family farming and 
housekeeping they were excluded from the 
spheres in which the law, material and eco- 
nomic bases of the social life was founded, till 
the end of the 1 9th centurj^ Women had no place 
and rights in the public life. They were repre- 
sented by their husbands or men-relatives (fa- 
thers, brothers, uncles). Therefore women re- 
ceived no franchise rights and the opportunity 
for education and professional realization that 
could make them equal to men in the public 
life: engineers, architectures, traders, lawyers 
in the newly formed national states in South 
East Europe. 

No matter that the rights of the Bulgarian 
women according to the "Trade Law" from 
the 1980s of the 1 9th century guaranteed her 
the possibihty to conduct this activity if she 
had her husband's approval or if she was a 
widow and had inherited his business. Despite 
these rights the Bulgarian woman was rarely a 
trader because the society did not support or 
encourage such women's activities. At the 
same time the law suggested this activity for 
the married woman, whose guarantee in the so- 
ciety was her husband's agreement. 

The outlook of women also depended on 
their role and the morality expectations of so- 
ciety. Modem beauty ideal didn't exist and that 
is why for example during the 19th c. the pale- 
ness and wrinkles on her face were not a prob- 
lem for her self-confidence. Because her 
wrinkles were considered to express her ma- 
ternity and martyrdom, they were highly es- 
teemed by the society. In the 19th century the 
physical beauty was connected with the virtues 


of patriarchal society: goodness and assiduous- 
ness. '^Beauty" was linked to the notion of lively 
and physically healthy body as well as to the 
goodness and assiduousness of the girl that 
guaranteed the educating of the children, neat, 
clean home and a prosperous farming. The 
French traveler Xavier Marmier who had trav- 
eled around Montenegro in the middle of the 
19th century wrote: 

'\,, the Montenegrin girl loses her 
youth freshness because of her way of 
living, her face gets sunburned and 
wrinkled very early, but her body is 

It was more important for women to 
be able to do physical labor which ''can 
be endured only by an absolutely 
healthy body''. In his travel book, named 
"High Albania - A Victorian Traveler's 
Balkan Odyssey", Edith Durham pointed 

''Women's work in such a house is 
extremely heavy. They have scarce an 
idle minute save when sleeping. They 
fetch the firewood and all the water; and 
as they tramp to and from the spring 
with the heavy water-barrel bound by 
woolen cords to their shoulders, they 
spin or knit incessantly. They weave and 
make all the elaborate garments, doing 
the wonderful black braiding of men's 
trousers according to traditional pat- 
terns. Even the braid itself is hand- 
plaited in eight threads over a half-cyl- 
inder of basketwork, which the flatter 
holds on her knee, tossing the clicking 

bobbins one side to other, and pinning up the 
finished braid with swift dexterity. Dozens of 
yards are needed for one costume; but it is a 
work of art when finished '\ 

• What kind of hard work did women to do ? 

• Whal other hard work can you imagine? 

• Here were described typical female seasonal 
works. What season was the author speaking 
about? And what work do people do nowadays in 
diis season? 

• What do you think men did in this season? 

The woman was required to be healthy and 
strong, to have meek character and to provide 
the continuance of the kin. These notions of 

Peasant Mother^ West Rhodopy, Bulgaria 

woman: mother, housewife and comrade de- 
termined the attitude towards the feminine 
body: it became a source of physical health and 
beauty, providing the continuance of the fam- 
ily. That is why Xavier Maimier, a French trav- 
eler on the Balkans in the middle of the 19 
century, underlined in his ''Letters to the Medi- 
terranean and Montenegro'' , 


Source 5. '' These dignified women are 
steady and can be relied upon. They are 
grown rigorously from their childhood in the 
rigorous school of labor and assiduou.mess. 
Our storytellers should think of an extraor- 
dinary story to put them in some kind of 
love scene where they are spreading lilac, 
sank deep in golden rays and cicmds, atid 
in their imagination and dreams. The ro- 
mantic love in this lands of divine nature 
is an exception and even in the folk songs 
ii is a miracle, A mistake, called in the 
world of civilization mistake of the heart, 
that makes some mocked at and others felt 
sorry about, here is a deadly punish- 

What was the real situation of women in 
Montenegro according to the author and what 
was the attitude to romantic women and lo\''e? 

What did reality demand from the physical 
appearance of women and what did the ro- 
mantic ideal? 

For example the choice of a wife begun 
with the survey of the girl's body and as 
the descriptions of the everyday life during 
the 19th c. explain us 'if there is a pubhc 
bath in the village, it is easy to know whether 
there are any wounds on the maid'^s body". 
Thus the ideal of the ''beautifur: healthy 
body, good nature, mild character and nice 
outlook - was bom. 

A progressive step on the way to the healthy 
body and also to subduing the sufferings of the 
fetnalebody was the managing of the fear and 
shame that defined the relationships between 
the patriarchal man and woman and their own 
bodies. This fear and shame did not allow ac- 
quainting with the bodily pains and sufferings 
and showing it to a outside look e.g. of a doc- 
tor. Only the local medicine woman and the old 
quacks had access to the ill body in the patriar- 
chal world. The revealing of the secrets of the 

female body and the discovering of the body 
as a biological and physiological organism in 
Bulgaria started on the pages of the newspaper 
"Female world" from 1 888 on. The ideal woman 
now had to know much more about her body 

Bulgarian Family, Trojan, 1880s 

and how to keep it healthy. The articles in this 
newspaper were signed by ''Your Granny". Her 
figure continued to embody the notion of com- 
petence, knowledge, power and authority till the 
end of the 19th century. 

So, during the summer of 1888 ,,Your 
Granny" tried to make it popular in the newspa- 
per, ^reviewed by women for mistresses and 
misses*', the means of the contemporaiy medi- 
cine that could find and examine the different 
states of the female body. She encouraged the 


Health counseling of the mothers in the village, Maoedonia, T94€ 

women to visit ^female doctors'^-gynecologists. 
Of course, the newspaper policy was to turn the 
female body into a living organism, conduct- 
ing its basic social functions: continuation of 
tlie kin, giving biith and raising children. Women 
w^ere to overcome the shume and fear from their 
own bodies, to realize the advantages of the sci- 
entific methods in comparison to those of the 
folklore medicine. All these influences lead to 
the decrease of high female mortality at giving 
birth, so typical for the whole 19th century. 

Mortality at birth was relatively high during 
the whole 19th century and it remained a sig- 
nificant biologic and social trial for the female 
body. Here is such a description from Xavier 
Marnier written in 1854: 

Source 6. ,,The Montenegrin women will 
continue her long walking or some of the house 
work even when she is to be a mother. She is 

taught that it will be just a moment even if 
she is in the field far away from any help or 
support, alone with her pains and exhausted 
from her efforts. AH will happen very quickly, 
she will wrap the child in her dress and carry 
it home. If she gets sick, she should patiently 
suffer the pain till God feels mercifid to take 
her life. There is no doctor and no pharmacy .'* 

Source 7. **Then she remembered the 
third one, Katerina, and the day of her birth. 
When the soft and warm night evening made 
the colors of the plum tree invisible, she felt 
the first pains. Then she got scared. She was 
scared because she was alone at home, alone 
in the bay, alone in the whole workL People 
are so lonely in front of the death. Then she 
understood that everyone comes to this world 
as a lonely and naked being , 

When Apostol came, she laid her hands mto 


his as of her husband. When it became dark 
she started to wrinkle from pain. She cried 
and prayed to give birth to a boy. 

-Pray God, ApostolK she screamed from 
pain, Prey to be a boy! 

4 will prey for you!, he grabbed her hands, 
not knowing whom to pray\ 

- Why should 1 prey for a boy? I do not 
care. 1 want you to sunnve the suffering... 

-Pray for a boyy in order not live my life of 
a dog! 

-A girt said the grandmother and sat her 
fat ass on a chair. 

-A girl, she cried helplessly She laid on her 
wet pillow, Shefdt sorry for herself and the 
n^w womaUy who was just born to continue 
her suffering ". 

Y Yazova, Bulgarian writer 
of interwaf period; "War \ 

1 . Let's remember the changes that appeared 
in the social perception of Ihe wojnen virtues, 

2. Who were the carriers of these new per- 
ceptions? Why did not they consider it enough for 
the woman to bejusL a good housewife? 

3. Which was the dominant notion of the 
woman in this period? What were her positions 
in the borders of her home? 

4. How did the basic notion of a wife and a 
mother influence the perception of female 

5. What were the demands from the female 
body during this epoch? Why was the physical 
strength valued just as the female morality? 

Source 8, ''At this time Neda (the name of 
the girl a heroine from a novel) was almost 
15, Her hair was silky blonde, , , her eyes black 
as rnorelloSy her lips red and tiny, her face was 
white and round like a apple. Her face never 
got sunburned even though she worked alt day 
under the sun. She was thin and tali . - She wore 
nether too long, nor too short bony tails, the 
way the other girts did. She had measure for 

everything. . . Neda dressed loo sitnply, but too 

L. KaraveLov , Neda, 1868. 

1 . WlMt was tlic literal^ ideal of a beautiful girl? 

2. What was the difference between this litera- 
ry ideal and the „rear* woman? 

3. Compare this image with the ideas of the 
girls from the 1930s about how should a woman 
look like. 

Source 9< ''The sexy^ creatures were the 
pennanent theme among the high school boys 
as well as in the youngsters ' dreams. Except 
for momentaty scenes, caught from a foreign 
film or seductive color photos of semi-naked 
ladies, for example^ in the American calendar 

Bosnian student in the garden 

''Esquire'\ which was quite popular then, I 
had not seen a pinup-girl: every boy\s dream. 
We should not forget that the erotic fantasies 
of a ieenager can be extremely imaginative! 
Here is the ideal mature woman: she was 25, 
with jaunty stride along the golden 

Sabiha Gokchen, the first woman pilot fn Turkey ,1930s 

Sozopolian sand (Bulgarian sea resort), long 
legs, blond hair, bronze ten and tempting 
forms. " 

S. Giuev, Memoirs. In "Utopissi" 1 99OT/8. 

Source 10. "/ am giute satisfied for be- 
ing a woman and it wiU be hard for anybody 
to prove the contrary The women who desire 
to be men do not know what a thing is the 
woman; how much she costs, which her place 
in the family and society^ is, which her aim is, 
what her present and future are. In the old 
times, when women had no rights and was in 

mental darkness, such a wish could be ex- 
cused because then the man gave no rights 
to the woman. He imposed laws which were 
heavy and unjust for hen Also these laws 
granted him privileges and constituted in 
the woman disgust towards her gender and 
the hot desire to be a man who could do 
everything. The women should never want 
to be men because men have the advantage 
to kill one another in battles and deal with 
trade, T!wv are troubled by codex, scien- 
tific magazines and other dry and fruitless 
theories while we, the women, possess the 
most honorable and superior qualities. We 
give birth and direct the first steps and 
deeds of our children's bodies, hearts and 
souls; we encourage the great and genius 
tnen in there glorious struggles; we sacri- 
fice voluntarily our happiness for the sake 
of the others\ If we, the women, knew that 
the prosperity of our motherland, society 
and families depended on us, that we were 
the most important cycle of the society, that 
men became bold and courageous fighters 
and lovers because of us, we would never 
want to be men and envy their virtues'\ 
'*A man or a woman", signed by "YourGranny*\ In 
the newspaper "Female world". 01.03, i 898. 

1. Which aspects were important for her fe- 
male identity? And why did she value iTiore the 
women's position than the male's one? 

2. How did this ideal identity carry the con- 
servative values in the modem epoch? What roles 
would it preserve for the women? 

3. Which of these perceptions will liberal femi- 
nism change in order to build a new ideal about the 
roleof women in (he society? 






Jugoslavia, postcard, 1930s 

Bourgeois Small Family^ Romantic Love 

Althe beginning of the 20 century capitalist production 
started to replace traditional family farming and crafts on the 
Balkans. More young people were looking for work and edu- 
cation in the towns. The new production conditions changed 
love and marriage, as well. The marital age increased - men 
who could no longer rely on the inherited property and family 
support, had to find first appropriate work and earn enough to 
build a home and support their own family. Often wives had 
to work as well in order to sustain the family budget. 

The period of premarital flirting increased: the feeling of 

love became valuable in itself; the relations 
between those in love became more senti- 
mentaL The personal requirements for the 
"beloved person of one's heart'' - manners, 
character, profession, political believes - in- 
creased. More often the newspapers were in- 
foirning about young people "who have com- 
iTiitted suicide because of unhappy love". The 
patriarchal dominance of men was replaced 
by the idea of chivalry —male patronage over 
the ''tender half of oneself and service to 
the ''beloved woman of one's heart". The re- 
fined behavior of young girls and their abil- 
ity to make their home a cozy family nest 
was highly valued. In their spare time young 
couples socialized more with their friends 
than with their relatives - they used to go to 
the movies, on excursions, for walks. . . 

The number of children in the family de- 
creased (2-4). They were no longer ex- 
pected as useful helpers in the family farm- 
ing, but were valued because of themselves 
and as "the nation's future". The relation- 
ships between parents and children became 
more emotional, child's personality w^as 
respected - the child's birthday was cel- 
ebrated, parents were looking for suitable 
toys, clothes, schools and friends for 
^ their children. Family care for the chil- 
dren increased, as well as the price of bringing up a child. 
The small bourgeois family gained independence from 
the kin-patriarchal patronage: its primary goal was no 
longer just the continuation of the husband's kin, but "the 


family happiness'', and '*the good upbringing of 
children" as well. 

The family, however, became more depen- 
dent on the crises of the capitalist market and 
the unemployment, on the political ideologies 
and struggles, on the scientific and technical 
achievements. The inevitable inclusion of 
women in the capitalist pro- ^ 

duction advanced their 
emancipation and 

professionalisation. Work- 
ing women became more 
independent, new perspec- 
tives opened in front of 
them- they could get real- 
ization not only as wives 
and mothers, but also in 
their professional and so- 
cial activities. Some of 
them chose to dedicate 
themselves completely to 
the professional vocation 
and ''in service to the na- 
tion'*. But for most of the 

wives the work burden was Timisoara, Romania, 1923 

doubled - they were ex- 

pected to work hard not only at the factory, but 
at home as well keeping to their traditional role 
of good wives and mothers. The numberof ''old 
maids and bachelors" also increased; these 
were people who wanted to get manied but 
could not do that because of their high expec- 
tations (they had not yet met their "Mr. or Mrs. 
Right"), or because they did not have secure 
incomes and could not support a family. 

Motherhood - Medicine, Laws 

The decrease in birth rates at the beginning 
of the century started to cause social anxiety. 
Society saw a way out of this situation in the 
development of social support for poor moth- 
ers, the affirmation of family values, the de- 
velopment of science. It was believed that with 
the development of genetics, medicine and so- 

cial statistics people would finally be able to 
master their evolution and the national state 
would rationally plan its population: families 
would assure the preservation and improve- 
ment of the nation by raising an optimal num- 
ber of physically and mentally healthy children. 
The number of children decreased, but the 
social care for their birth, up- 
bringing and education in- 
creased. All marriages, births, 
cases of child mortality, ill- 
nesses were strictly registered. 
Medicine imposed new health 
and hygiene norms for 
children's upbringing. Births 
and abortions took place in the 
hospitals under doctors' super- 
vision. Abortions were re- 
stricted. Child mortality de- 
creased sharply. Life expect- 
ancy increiLsed - 54 years for 
men and 67 for women (Hun- 

Special labor laws supported 
the birth and upbringing of chil- 
dren. For an example the law for 
the protection of pregnant women and women 
in child birth in Bulgaria from 1905 provi- 
sioned 55 days vacation for them and payment 
of half of their salary, and th e law for the social 
security form 1924 increased the paid mater- 
nity vacation to 84 days including also medical 
and financial support. 

The representatives of Christian femiiusm, 
which was the official feminism in most of 
the South-East countries, pleaded for pohti- 
cal and educational emancipation of women, 
but pointed out that the right to professional 
realization of women should not disturb their 
realization as mothers. They opposed to the 
idea of institutional upbringing of children in 
kindergartens and homes which was promoted 
by the revolutionary feminists and fought for 
the right of working women to be provided by 


the state, so tTiey could bring up their children. 
They believed il was only the coziness of the 
home, the parents " love and wamith that could 
educate in children bolii morals and love nec- 
essary for the nation's progress. Women's pro- 
fessional realizadon sliould be appropriate for 
their female nature and should not interfere 
with the family values. Women's pailicipation 
in social life would contribute to its cultiva- 
tion in the spirit of motherhood and charity. 
Women's charity organizations started to help 
for the upbringing and education of ''deprived 
nadon's children'- poor children, orphans, 
immigrants' children, etc. 

Male and Female nature - Cultivation of 
Sexual Drives 


At the beginning of the 20 centur}^ the hu- 

Secondary school £tudent,Bulgaria, 19205 

man body - its genes, reproductive functions 
and erotic feelings became subject to an in- 
creased scholarly interest. People discussed 
not only the social problems of the gender and 
the family, but started to talk for the first time 
about ''sexuality and sex"; new ''scholarly" 
definitions of the biological peculiarities of 
men and v^omen, their body desires, and erotic 

The sexual-health education emerged. The 
pedagogues were trying to protect young men 
through magazines and lectures from ''the 
vice of masturbation", which was considered 
to exhaust the organism and kill the will, and 
girls - from unwanted pregnancy poindngout 
to the destructive effects of STD and abortion 
on the reproductive health of young women. 

The differences between the two sexes were 
underlined and exaggerated as genetically pre- 
determined and absolute. Female nature was 
considered as more sensitive and dependent 
on sexual impulses and desires. The socially 
useful behavior demanded that w^omen should 
overcome their sensual nature through the ema- 
nating role of motherhood and social charity. 

Male nature was considered to be more ra- 
tional and strong-willed than female: Man 
could overcome their sexual drives and de- 
velop their personality through professional 
and military service and self sacrifice - for 
the family and the nation. 

At the beginning of the century the small 
nuclear family - an educated and professional 
father, an educated housewife and two-three 
children bonded forever in a love union was 
affirmed as a national ideal. Family coziness, 
mutual spouses' fidelity and care for the 
children's future were considered to provide a 
shelter against the uncertainty of the capitalist 
labor market, political conflicts, sexual temp- 

The Families of the Poor. Paid Love 


At the end of the 19 century not only boys 


but poor girls, as well, headed toward the towns 
- to became housemaids in rich homes or work- 
ers, keeping a hope to save money and get a 
profession or find "the beloved one of their 
hearts^and man7 him. But soon they had to get 
accustomed to exploitation and unemployment. 
Many innocent girls became victims of pimps. 
At the beginning of the century prostitutes in 
Bulgaria were mainly foreigners, but during the 
1920s and 1930s the brothels were full with 
poor girls from the villages - mainly house- 
maids (51% of the registered prostitutes in 
Sofia in 1934 were from the village, 33% 
housemaids and 31% workers). Miserable life 
and poor sexual education contributed to the 
dissemination of STD, which reached a threat- 
ening rate. The statistics of examined prosti- 
tutes in Sofia showed 
that 53% have had gon- 
orrhea, and 24% syphi- 
lis (1934). 

Thenumber of ''de- 
cent" wealthy husbands 
who were tempted to 
search for secret enter- 
tainment in the brothels 
was on the increase. 
Poor boys who had 
found their luck in gam- 
bling and crimes spent 
most of their money on 
indecent women and 

The theme of the 
cold prudence and cru- 
elty of the capitalist 
town killing the hopes 

tution of starving wives and the misei7 of home- 
less children - was described in many novels 
and poems. 

During the 1920s and 1930s prostitution, 
city crimes and the increased number of sui- 
cides were accepted as the biggest threat to 
marriage in bourgeois society. The feeling of 
hypocrisy of the official ideology praising the 
family coziness and devotion to the nation was 
spreading around; new ideas about love and so- 
ciety became popular. Freud and his followers 
substituted "the almighty and mysterious sexu- 
ality'' for the genes and social will as the lead- 
ing force of civilization. The Balkan philoso- 
phers and writers started to explain the social 
tensions and conflicts in the capitalist society 
with the repression of sexual drives and lack of 

Dragan Berakovic (Jugoslavia), Bread, 1937 

of romantic love and high ideals and pushing 
the more sensitive people towards suicide 
turned into a leading theme for the Balkan writ- 
ers (IvoAndrich, Konstantin Pavlov). The dis- 
integration of the family in worker's suburbs - 
the drunkards' scandals and fights, the prosti- 

fulfilling erotic life of leading politicians and 

The followers of Mamism call for a social 
revolution, which will make love and family 
free from the ''chains of capitalism*'. 



1. Family picture (Bosnia, 1920s) 


Describe the iirrangcment, clothes and expres- 
sion of the father, his two sons, daughters-in-laws 
and grandsons. Is this a big patriarchal family 
headed by the old father with his subordinate sons 
and daughters-in-law living together in the village? 

2. A novel (Croatia, 1930s) 

"He was a representative of an insignificant 
factory for stamps with the pompous name 
''Ekcelsior"" and with the insignificant salary 
of 30 kroni per month. He has been traveling 
day after day, year after yean When he started 
he was young, and now his hair is white and 
he is still traveling from village to village, from 
town to town with a suitcase in his hand... 

...Offering his stamps, he walked into the 
room of a gentleman who welcomed him cor- 
dially. He was a young man who had been mar- 
ried for a couple years and who was now en- 
joying his life with his young wife constantly 

caressing hen In the afternoons, his wife, beau- 
liful, tender, came into the town to meet him in 
front of his office and they walked along the 

High Street, or had fun in 
the company of friends, 
and if the weather got cold 
or it was raining, he - 
young and in love, joyful 
- took his bike and rode 
home for the coat, caming 
back with a smile of a man 
in love and hugging his 

,., And when he saw the 
nice household, the fine 
porcelain, the silver 
dishes, as he felt the 
gentle warmth of the 
room, as if some kind of 

luxury was emanating 

from every small thing. . . 
(The hostess asks the salesman about his family,) 

- Oh, my heart is still free! - and these words 
were said in such a voice that it was obvious 
that this man was still longing to give some- 
body his heart,, 

- You mean you are still thinking of getting mar- 
ried! ? - the hostess exclaimed unwillingly. , . 

Croatia, 57j3W5^, t977. 

Answer the questions: 

1 . What are the spouses' responsibilities in the 
young family? 

2. What are the relations between them? 

3. Why had the sales person not managed to 
make his own family? Would he have stayed alone 
in the patriarchal society? 

4. What new opportunities for love and mar- 
riage does the bourgeoi.s town give? 

5. What people were deprived by the new bour- 
geois social order? 


3- Political speech of a Christian femi- 
nist (Hungary, 1920s) 

"When I call the attention of the Nalional 
Assembly to protecting women's vital force it 
is not merely because of women. We, Chris- 
tian women, view this problem not like radi- 
cals, from purely women's angle, based on class 
struggle principles, but from the point of gen- 
eral interests. We consider women's vitality as 
a source of national vital force. ... If men's 
economic interests suffer a loss, harm is done 
to the women too. But if the woman's strength 
is exploited and she sends her children off to 
life with reduced vital force, that loss cannot 
be compensated, nor balanced, nor repaired any 
more,. .We seek strong men with strong aims, 
but we can provide this country with strong men 
with strong arms only if there are strong and 
healthy mothers". 

First speech by Margil Slachta in ihe Parlianient on 23 
April, t920. In: I. Mona: Margii Slachta. 1997, 

Answer the questions: 

1 . Where does the concept of ''force" used to 
describe the connection between the nation and 
motherhood come from? 

- biology, etonomics, physics, politics, reli- 
gion, everyday life? 

2. How is the nation figured out and why? - as 
political, economic, religious, l")iological unity? In 
kin, spiritual or productive terms? 

3. Wliy are the words "strength", "strong", 
"force", "vitality" so important for Uie autlior? 

4. Picture, *^Aii afternoon in the 
garden^' (Bosnia, tlie 1930s) 

Answer the question: 

Have not women lost the traditional calmness 
and delight in life because of their emancipation? 


Work in groups; 

Separate into two groups - the first one should 
search forargumet^ts about what women and men 
won from women's emancipation and 
professiona]i7.aiion, and the second one should 
search for arguments about what they lost. Orga- 
nize a discussion. 

5. Articles ^Bulgaria, 1920s) 

'The wotnan is a family heroine, but 
through her husband and children she has a 
significant influence on the well-being of 
society. -.There he is - a poet or an artist. We 
admire his works; but do we know the muse 
that inspires him? Do we know how he reaches 
this clarity, this warmth and beauty in his 
works? Let's go to his home and look into his 
family life - and we shall discover the source 
of these qualities: they are only the artist's 
sensitive soul's expression of that warmth, 
clarity, the whole poetry his family is 
breathing, . -How many poetic souls have died 
only because there has not been a woman by 
their side to take off the burden of everyday 
struggles, and manage to keep their refined 
way of being impressed by the small things 
and the foolishness of everyday life, " 

Our press about the woman. 
In: "Christian woinan'\ 8, 1923 

"Children love stories. That is why, never 
refuse to tell your child a story even if you 
have to make it up. ., Be aware of you behav- 
ior, your child is watching you - don't contra- 
dict yourself. Children are very observant. Be 
kind towards the housemaid, compassionate 
towards the miserable. Don't show slaughtered 
animals to your child. Let love towards every 
living creature become strong in your child. 
Later in life children will try to decrease and 
eradicate all cruelties. 

Always think first before saying something 
to your child... But once you say it- let your 
child know dial it will be as you said, there would 
be no turning back. That is why, do not ever 
quickly ignore and reject your child's desires 
without thinking them oven Whatever he or she 
wishes for - if it is possible, appropriate, and 
good- allow it. You should not be your child's 
enemy, or else he or she will turn against you 
and start to live a secret emotional hfe. 

Go out with your child in the town or village 
often enough. Explain everything that he or she 
asks about along the way. This is very impor- 
tant especially in the period of acquiring the 
first impressions about life, i.e. between 3-6 
years of age. 

Advises to the young mothers. 
In: "Christian woman", 2-3, 1923. 

Answer the questions: 

1 . What are the reasons for wives to take their 
husbands' everyday burdens? 

2. Which fixed gender roles could you find 
in the text? 

3. What is the difference between the tradi- 
tional patriarchal and the new bourgeois expec- 
tations of the woman's role? 

Mark the statements. Back up your 

Which of the following statements are charac- 
teristic of official Christian feminism and which ones 
- of revolutionary feminism from the beginning of 
the century? 

• Women should be educated so that they can 
educate their children better and be equal partners 
of their husbatids. 

• Women should be educated so that they may 
achieve personal professional career. 

• Women should be organized politically on the 
national and international level and engage in pub- 
he debates, so that they can protect their own rights. 

• Women's rights cannot be opposed to the rights 
of men, cliildren and other mcmbei^ of society. 


• Women may work for the progress of society 
not only through political struggle but also more 
quietly and modestly, into the social foundations - 
through children's education and the beneficial in- 
fluence on their husbands. 

• Public kitchens, kindergartens and homes 
should take over the cares for children, so that moth- 
ers may have more time for work and for them- 

• Working mothers should be provided with 
more vacations and social support, so that they may 
be able to bring up and educate their children, 

• Main purpose of the life of men and women is 
the professional career and the gaining of more 
material goods (improving the standard of hving). 

• Egoism and materialism cannot make women 
or men happier because they have a more honor- 
able call: self-sacrificing love for the family, nation, 

• All professions ai-e equally appropriate for men 
and women. 

• Women should engage themselves in profes- 
sions that do not contradict their femininity and ma- 
ternal calling. 

Organize a discussion: 
Which of these arguments are right according 
to you? 

6. An article on the 
"scientific" differences be- 
tween men and women 

Bulgaria, 1941 

The detachment of man from 
nature is due mainly to the pecu- 
liarities of his sex. He is less 
connected to the process of rec- 
reation and has a lot of time to 
get elevated on the road of the 
abstract and the less 
primitive*, *The whole sexual 
perception of the woman, her 
entire readiness for love is re- 

flected in her skin< The way of differentiation 
that she has undergone is short and still as close 
to nature as at the beginning of the sex 
differentiation.,, The woman uses her skin in 
the same way as her predecessor did a thou- 
sand years ago. That is why in spite of her four 
late perceptual abilities - hearing, taste, smell 
and sight, the woman is most sensitive, weak- 
est and most vulnerable sexually through touch- 
ing. This is the source of the logical interpre- 
tation of the established tmth, that the woman 
loves physically strong men, and that the idea of 
masculinity in her is equal to physical power, not 
to say to body clumsiness and roughness in man" 

Dr. AI Minchev, Philosophy overview, 1941, 5. 

Fill in; 

In the popular culture the opposition (man - 
woman) is often thought as opposition (spirit - na- 
ture), (abstract thinking - ), (self control - 

),( - X( - )^.. 

Work in groups: 

* Describe: Male prejudices about women. Fe- 
male prejudices about men. Explain what the 
sources and reasons for these are. 

•Search for examples: popular novels, adver- 

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Kiier. iby6»M^ 8 

itpcKO D^Ti Pmiaapi 

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(oiie, nDc;KJii>e noB(>«TH, iiHitaitne tf*^^ 

t.B ^pmnlljCK^ pO^l- Ho-BT«TII 3B. ttpO- 


i{cpatiii/<3, SI H3AM- 
tfytH ciDOMate id MO' 

cat v/K^t ipex^ 


■eMt Be Aw Kfvt^ 

t/tfcto u i\fHr Out 

Plasjranje erotizma posfe \ svetskog rata preko reklama fao vld 
" fniodernizacije". Ogias Strucno^ salona midara, Beogratl. 1937. 

irotjsm was used in th« advertisements in po$twar lime as an expre$$ion cf 

modernizatior, Belgrade, 1937 


tisemenls movies, songs, which st i [1 support these 

• Search for altemalive novels, advertisements, 
movies, soagj^, which contradict th&se prejudices. 

7* A novel, *'The maid*- , Ivo Andrich 


"Her father (after an unexpected bank- 
ruptcy) called her to come close, rose with an 
effort, caressed her hair as he used to and said 
in a calm voice: 

- Do you know, son, you and I will have to 
talk, I thought that I wovild endure and live 
longer, that it will not be necessary to leave you 
like that. . . Yourprofit does not depend on you 
only^ it depends on other people and a variety 
of circumstances, but your fmgality depends 

entirely on you. Towards it your whole attendon 
and all your strengths should be directed. You 
should first of all kill in yourself all those so- 
called nobleness, generosity, and compassion, 

[.. .] It was rather unusual in those times, a 
woman, and even more at this early age to work 
alone, go around the state institutions and ne- 
gotiate with businessmen. But her case was 
thought of as an exception and was accepted 
like one. Everybody knew well this thin girl 
with burning black eyes and yellow face, poorly 
dressed, having no fondness of fashion or any 
female need to adorn or beautify herself 

[, . .] And years were passing by. The young 
woman was prematurely turning into a sharp and 
capricious old maid who had become obsessed 
with money, her life passing by between the 
house and the warehouse, entirely preoccupied 
with her business, with no entertainment and 

Family of a notary, Rumania ^19t0s. The third EuroF>B Founcfation, rimlsaara 


friends and without feeling any need for them. 
Her only and regular going out, which was not 
immediately connected to her work, was the 
visit to her father's grave. . , 

(The old maid becomes heartless and thrifty 
and dies alone in mental disorder), 

Ivo Andrich, a famous Yugoslavian writer, 

*Thc maid", i978 


The capitahst change of social and family re- 
lations leads to a change in the traditional ideals 
of masculinity and Femininity. Unusual person- 
alities appear in Balkan literature from the be- 
ginning of the century (Yordan Yovkov, Ivo 
Andrich, Y Leskovar etc.): ''feminine'* men - 
sensitive, dreaming, helpless, especially attached 
to their mothers - suicidal poets, political Uto- 
pians; and also the figures of '*manly" women - 
most often the only daughters of their fathers — 
overpowering wives, thrifty old maids, radical 


• Why is the father calling his only daughter 

• Do you agree with Ivo Andrich that wor- 
shiping the capitalist idol of Money and stingi- 
ness, especially by women, ruins all human liirks 
~ friendship, love, family, nation, and makes 
people unhappy. 

8< An article about prostitutes (Roma- 
nia, 1923) 

"... Everywhere in the restaurants, cabarets, 
show places, on the street, and everywhere you 
look you see these creatures, who, under dif- 
ferent masks [...] sell their dirty love and they 
always offer an unexpected gift to our Don 

The police records provide evidence for talks 
about 606 prostitutes and cabaret artists who 
had worked here since 1919. Now, in the broth- 

Dear Miss Vitka, 
Nevertlieless you don't know me I dare to write you a post 

cart to wi&h you a Marry Christmas. I wish you joy and 
success. Let s your life be crowned with roses. Please take 

my greetings of the heart 
You fellow tenant: Pavlov Slavcho, Gorna Dgiumaja, 1928, 


els here there are around 50 *'girls*\ about as 
many as cafechautant artists, 40 who work on 
their own between different hotels and 80 who 
practice unofficially this profession. . - 

The public garden and bushes along the main 
boulevard are the main places for the prosti- 
tutes who often prefer all kind of decadent 
things. As the sun goes down you can see 
couples who get lost among the trees and 
bushes. In the same places jerks attract simple 
girls, usually factory workers, because they 
want to "rent the bushes'\ There are also some 
carri age drivers who lure such poor girls to get 
in and send them to the biothels which are so 
many in Constanca.,,". (Article in the paper 
"Marea Neagra " (Black Sea). 1923), 


Answer the questions: 

'Who is responsible for ihe prostLtution accord 
ingto the author? 

^ What is Ihe author's altitude towards prosti- 
tutes, pimps and clients? 

9. An autobiography (Bulgaria, 1934) 

'*In contemporary Europe Btilgaria is a clas- 
sical example representative of sexual dissat- 
isfaction and a crazy love hunger. The word is 
about the quiclcly and unsuccessfully impro- 
vised 'Mntelligealsia". Bm among the common 
people the picture is also inconsolable. While 
'"^male widowhood'' in any other European 
country does noi by any means decrease the 
man's chances of getting married again, in 
some remote regions of Bulgaria a widower, 
even being young, has to go from village to 
village: to look for a wife and consider him- 
self happy if he finds a *'fright'' every one 
would run away from to marry him. My heart 
bleeds for our people when I see in the news- 
papers pictures of young, handsome boys who 
have killed themselves because of love. In 
another place whole dozens of beautiful young 
girls would be rurming after them. In this 
wonderful county on the Balkans they are 
driven mad by some female clerk, worker or 
housemaid, spoiled by a number of admirers. 
The love dissatisfaction unheard of in any 
other place in Europe destroys at an early stage 
the nerves of the ''Bulgarian intelligentsia". It 
makes it not only unproductive, but also harm- 
fuL The lack of love delight at a young age is the 
reason for this gloomy picture of the political, 
social and cultural life of small Bulgaria." 

Kiril Hrislov, Time and Contemporanes, 2001 . 

Answer the questions: 

In what LetTiis Was the author considering roman 
tic love and its consequences? 

What was the difference between Bulgaria and 
the rest of the world? 

What was the author's attitude towards Bul- 
garian intelligencia? Why? 

Chose; I agree / I agree to a cer- 
tain extent / 1 disagree 

• Bulgaiian men are sexually shy by nature, 

• Bulgarian men are sexually suppressed be- 
cause of the loss of tlieir patriarchal advantages. 

• The low salai'ies and unemployment suppress 
the erotic life of the intelligentsia. 

• Widows have greater chances of getting mar- 
ried than widowers. 

• Men kill themselves because of love more of- 
ten tlian women because tliey are much more ide- 
alistic than women. 

• Men kill themselves because of love more of- 
ten because they are more irresponsible and spoiled, 

• The capitalist society is more adjusted to 
women's pragmatism than to men's nobleness. 

• The fatal women in capitalist society have un- 
resUicted power over insecure men, 

• Women in capitalist society are more exploited 
than men - at the work place, as well as in love 
and family. 


The official bourgeois ideology considered pay- 
ing too much attention to the sexual drives as un- 
worthy; submitting to the sexual urges was consid- 
ered as loosing self-control, degradation to primi- 
tive nature, exhausting body and mind. According 
to the representatives of psychoanalysis and sym- 
bohsm of 1930s reflecting on the suppressed but 
powerful subconscious drives allow people to mas- 
ter them. The problems of social injustice started 
to be represented as psychological and sexual 
problems. For their solving individual therapy was 
required ratlier than social solidarity and action. 

Answ^er the questions: 

Which drives do vou know? 


Are there good drives and bad drives? Which 
ones could be useful? 

Write an essay: 

"'How we could better master our sexual drives 
- neglecting them, reflecting on them, using them 
for a noble purpose, just let them free?" 

10. An article, the Communist press, 

(Bulgaria, 1921) 

"In her absence of rights the woman shares 
the worker's fate* But in her case, this fate is 
twice harder. Being in a stale of economical 
dependence on the husband* the woman is con- 
nected to her master for the rest of her life. There 
is no way out of her subordination, she finds 
herself always face to face with her executor, 
like a victim. And he wants to possess not only 
her body, but her emotional life, as well 

Marriage was the destiny of the woman, the 
family - ''the holy family'' - was supposed to 
absorb her But what this maniage and this 
family - one of the pillars of modem world - 
actually look like? Nothing else but a two- 
sided prostitution. Whether Madame (in the 
brothel) unites the sides or the church sancti- 
fies the union, it is all he same: where selling 
and buying of a human body exists, there is 
prosdtution. And marriage stands on material 
considerations, not on personal inclinations: 
the family is an economic, not a moral 
unit. ..We cannot imagine the capitalist world 
without prostitution: it is characteristic of it 
as a necessary evil. Without it, as without re- 
ligion and militarism, it would not be able to 
uphold. That is why the Christian state supports 
it and regulates it". 

'The woman arid communism", G. Bakalov, 1921. 

a mla ¥are ^^^ ui^^f^^-^Ap^ 

Fill in: 

With a revolutionary zeal the author, communist 
from the beginning of the century, has turned up- 
side down the basic values of bourgeois society 
exposing the holy monogamous marriage as hid- 
den prostitution, the beloved husband as , 

the family love as .,....., the personal marriage 

choice as , the church wedding as , 

thecoziness of a family home as. . .. 

Answer the questions: 

1 . Metaphors of what sphere has the author 
used to denounce the bourgeois family? Why? 

2, Can you imagine a world without the mate- 
rial necessity, state, army and family? Is such a 
worid possible or is it just a fantasy? 

Search for examples: 

Are you tiware of some nonstandard forms of 
people living together? 

Write an essay 

"Life in a rich and rational world without 
stranse fantasies and desires''. 


Work of Women, 
Work of Men 


The division of work according to gender 
goes far in the past. Some work roles of men 
and women seem so constant that people have 
often tried to derive this divjjsion from their 
biological differences or endowed predispo- 
sition toward them. Phrases like: 'This is not 
men's work" or 'This is not women's work" 
speak about such popular attitudes . Some 
work activities and professions are gender 
marked Some of them, especially the ones 
associated with positions in power are often 
related to the male sex only. 

Where are the significant gender-specific 

differences in work rooted in? Agriculture, 
which used to be traditional occupation for 
most people in the past, provided the basis for 
a more complimentaiy division between men's 
and women's type of work. Later on, the pro- 
cess of industrialization made a big part of 
work activities move out of the home. House- 
work which was done exclusively by women 
remained unpaid in contrast to the work con- 
ducted outside the house, so it was not valued 
enough. It was estimated more or less in moral 
categories such as care, duty, expression of 
love for the family, a source of joy for the 
housewife, etc. Along with this, thousands of 
women from the poor classes of society were 
forced to work outside their homes, including 
the newly opened factories, in order to pro- 
vide a living or to support their families. This 
turned out to be another source of problems, 
namely, how would they manage to combine 
their duties as mothers with these at work? 
The third problem was connected with the 

Harvest-time, 1930 


women's access to the well-paid professions 
requiring university degrees. The competition 
there was severe and ihe restrictions that 
women had to overcome had been the subject 
of longtime struggles and debates. Thus women 
from all social categories were affected by the 
new situation on the labor market, although in 
different ways. 

Today it is difficult to imagine that during 
the 19 century the working day in factories 
was extremely long and no difference was 
made between men and women, and children. 
Usually social insurance in cases of illness or 
accidents was not provided. The lack of a la- 
bor code was a threat to women^s safety and 
pregnant women and mothers were most hkely 
to lose their jobs. Labor codes, which specifi- 
cally regulated the conditions of work for 
women and children, was implemented in tlie 
countries of South East Europe at the end of 
the 19 and the beginning of the 20 centaiy 
In this period different countries introduced 

regulations aiming at shortening the working 
day for women and children, prohibiting the 
niglit shifts for them as well as preventing the 
recruitment of women for positions which 
were proved to be dangerous to their health. 
Also, there were some alleviations for women 
in the last months of their pregnancy and breast- 
feeding mothers. On one hand the alleviations 
could be interpreted as a positive development 
of the legislation regulating women's labor, but 
on the other, some feminist organizations ac- 
cepted the prohibition of night shift work - 
sometimes better paid - and the work in ?ipe- 
cific industries as new restrictions imposed on 

Working in the Villages 

Labor legislation had not been at ali con- 
cerned with village women for quite a long 
time. They had to do extremely hard agricul- 
tural work which included also the produce of 

such necessities as food and clothes, which 
were made usually by hand. Knitting and 
weaving in the household were traditionally 
done predominantly by women, which did 
not mean that they were released from do- 
ing hard manual work on the field. Accord- 
ing to a survey, conducted in the rural regions 
in the 1930s, chopping wood for the house- 
hold took about 5% of the w^omen' time de- 
voted to housework. They also had to carry 
heavy loads: i.e., they were responsible for 
bringing w^ater homeas there was no running 
water facilities in village areas. Gradually, es- 
pecially after the First World War, several 
public organizations such as women's asso- 
ciations, child protection organizations as 
well as some municipal and state authorities, 
started to anticipate the problems of village 
women and their families. Summer kinder- 
gartens were opened in many villages at the 
time of the most intensive work on the fields. 
With the development of new technologies 
the introduction of some labor saving facili- 
ties relieved the housework to a certain ex- 
tent. Although, this led to the restructuring 
of women *s labor, it also added of new house- 
hold chores connected with the maintenance of 
better sanitary conditions in the house and the 
garden, taking more responsibilities of the 
children's education and care for the home 
comfort and cosines. 

Professional Labor 

The development of the state administra- 
tion and the constant mushrooming of the civil 
service offices in the South-Eastem countries 
at the end of the 19 century was accompa- 
nied by the opening of office positions that 
were mainly meant for women, namely typ- 
ists, secretaries, accountants, telephone opera- 
tors. During the First World War the percent- 
age of working women went up, but this trend 
seemed to be controversial and unstable. After 

Rose-picking, Ottoman empire, IBBOs (F. Kanitz} 

the war and especially in the second half of the 
1920s the authorities in many countries made 
attempts to drive women away from their job 
positions. Laws were implemented according 
to which women employed in offices were to 
be either made redundant or were forced to re- 
tire. The laws regulating this process in some 
countries affected also the teaching profession. 
These laws were in operation until the end of 
the Second World War and in accordance with 
them men were given priority when employed 
as teachers and additionally, their salaries were 
higher than women's. Inequality was espe- 
cially recognizable when married women 
sought employment as they were supposed to 
be financially supported by their husbands and 
thus a job position for them was supposed to 
be of no importance. Most often, it was the piin- 


ciple of the financial support of the 
family that shaped the labor policy 
of the state authorities and not the 
quaUties or the abilities of the in- 
dividual for a professional develop- 
ment in a given sphere. 

It was in the period between the 
two wars when women decisively de- 
clared their will to have the right of 
professional choice as part of their 
future lives. Female students' essays 
and questionnaires conducted in the 
1930s revealed that only about *4 of 
them planned to stay at home and be- 
come only housewives and mothers. 
The surveys showed that about one 
half of the female students were go- 
ing to continue their studies in the 
fields of medicine, pharmacy, nurs- 
ery and obstetrics. In the question- 
naires the students shared their 
willingness to become even pilots, 
architects and engineers. A great 
number of them wanted to become 
lawyers, which at that time was a 
profession banned for women and 
which made women's organizations 
to fight for their rights. 

Not all of these plans were sue- 
cessfuUy accomplished especially 
after the beginning of the Second World War 
in 1939. Still they revealed what young 
women's attitudes to labor in the 1930s 

Socialism and Women's Labor 

In the countries where after the end of the 
Second World War socialism took over, la- 
bor legislation regulating the equality of gen- 
ders was adopted. The intensive construction 
of plants, dams and roads needed a lot of work 
force. This gave opportunity to many young 
women to enter new professions including 

even those of technicians. The images of women 
workin£T in the Field of construction, as crane 
operators, tractor drivers and machine opera- 
tors became emblematic of the new socialist 
regime. The network of social establishments 
releasing women from the burden of house- 
work or even replacing it, however developed 
very slowly. In the 1950s and 1960schildren 
of working w^omen were often looked after by 
tlieirgrandmothersusually living faraway from 
their homes. Slow, inconsistent and irregular 
was the change in men's attitude to the house- 
work, so the essentia] burden still came on 
women's shoulders. Despite the pro- 


duction of labor-saving appliances and their 
availability on the market the proportion of the 
housework still remained high because the de- 
mands of the home, in terms of cleanliness 
and comfort were also increased. The lack of 
feminist movements and organizations handi- 
capped the possibility for a public debate and 
restricted the discussions over the newly 
emerging problems of gender equality in the 
sphere of labor. 

After the changes that took place in 1989 
women's positions deteriorated in several ways. 
At present, women are more often affected by 
unemployment and the collapse of the system 
of social care. Moreover, unemployment in- 
creases the intercompany competition for job 
positions and reinforces the rivalry among 
women of different generations. 


Many young girls in the past had to serve as 

housemaids in other families in order to 

support their own families. In the following 

table and texts you can see how their num^ 

ber hud changed and haw one such girl 

experienced her service. 

h Number of paid domestic 
servants in Budapest 












L As it can be seen from the table, many of 
the girls worked as housemaids at the end of 
the 19 and the first half of the 20 century. 
Which social circles did most of them come 

2. How do you explain the decrease in the 
number of housemaids during the 1920s and 
the end of the 1930s? What events took place 
in Europe at that time? 

3. What kind of jobs could the young girls 
from the poor social classes have? 

4. Guess what problems and dangers could 
the life of a housemaid bring to ayoung girl? 

5. How do you imagine the relationship be- 
tween the landlady and her housemaid? 

The girl-servant (right) is sliil a little child and pfays with the dotis 
of her master's daughter (left), Bulgaria, 1943 


2, Excerpt from the memories of 
Neika Doseva (1930s) 

"I have been a servant since I was seven. Hun- 
ger made me do it We were three children. Our 
father could not feed us. We didn't own any land. 
That is why he was a shepherd. My mother was 
paralyzed. They could not take care of us chil- 
dren, so they had to send us as servants. When I 
was leaving it was as if had a frog in my throat. 
1 was going lo the home of strange people, to- 
tally unknown to me. So, I left for the home of 
the dentist in Balvan to be his housemaid,, ." 

D . Liingazov, It was not a life, biii a sad stor\\ 1 987 


1 . Why Neika couldn't stay in her family? 

2. How did she feci without her family? 

3. A big number of poor giris from South East 
Europe today go to work in other countries. What 
dangers could they face? Do you know any orga- 
nizations that try to help such gids? 

3, Table: Age structure of the domes- 
tic servants from Vakarel region 



1 . At what age did the girls fronn the village of 
Vakarel become domestic servants? 

2. At what age was their number the largest? 

3. How long did a girl work as a domeslic 


From 10 tu 13 
years of age 

From 14 U> 20 
years ofaae 

^rom 2(J to 25 
years of age 

25 years o^ 
age aiui Lip 





num icrs 


















i 926 











Men and women had different occupations. 
You can see some differences in the following tables 

4. Percentage of active working population in Tiirl^ey according to the data of 

the census (12 years of age and over): 

Census year 


1 990 











proJ'essional wotkers 





Adminisiralive, e>:<?cutive and 
muiiagcrial wi^rkcr^ 





C!eiit;al and related workers 





Sales workers 





Service workers 





Agi'i cultural, aninial liusbiuidry 
;ind foicMry workers, fishermen 
and huiUcrs 





Non-agricultural workers and 
iransporuiiion vehicle operators 




3 1 .70 

Uneinployed, seeking a job 





1. In what work sphere is the biggest dispro- 
portion between men and women? 

3. In what spheres do most of the employed 
women work? 

- among the people working in the professional 
andscientifiC'techTiical sphere 

- in the administration and entrepreneurship 
~ in trade 

- in agricuhurc and forestry 

- in transportation 

4. In what spheres do most of the employed 
men work? 

5. Which proportions have remained the same 
since the 1970s 

6. What are the trends in the 1990s 

7. How would you explain the fact that ac- 
cording to the table the percentage of the un- 
employed men is higher? 

5. Statistics of the number of male 
and female teachers in Bulgaria 














As you can see from the fable, the ntimber 
of male and female teachers in 1926 was nearly 


1_ Can you judge which generations were af- 
fected by diis change? 

2, What is the situation today in your schoo!? 


6, Picture from the second half of the 


1 . Look at the picture above. What does it 

2. How would you explain the comparatively 
big number of women in tliis profession in the 1 930s 

3. Which professions (e.g. phannacyjgel femi- 
nized during the last decades? 

7. Miksa Falk: Emancipation of 

In; Women's Profession. Excerpts from the History of 
Feminism in Hungary 1777-1865. 1999, Budapest, 

Kortars. ed- Anna F^bri 

'\..OLir age is an age of emancipation when 

all chains are shaken off, lowered heads are 
lifted up and all shackled forces try to break 

free,.. So, emancipation is everywhere, all over 
the world, in each segment of society. Does the 
sun of our enlightened age not shine on women 
alone? Is she alone condemned to take eternal 
care of her husband's tiny domestic needs, of 
her children and of her kitchen? Is she alone, m 
a time of general hberation, at the feast of 
Freedom's revival, to remain a slave? 

Oh no, wc do not wish women to be slaves, 
we only wish them to remain women: that they 
would not divest themselves of that incompa- 
rable ornament Nature had bestowed upon them 
and we wish they craved not for such adorn- 
ments that w^ould cease to be adornments on 


1 .What tenns have been used in the text to de- 
scribe women's siniation? 

2. Can the hoLij^ehold work be compared to 


''slavery" and ^hy? 
-because it is not paid 

- because it is compulsory 

- because it is for someone else's benefit 

3. A lot of people (men and women) do not 
view household work as ".slavery". What satis- 
faction does it bring? 

- it is a care for one's ov^^n home 

- it bears the feeling of fulfilled duty to the people 
close to oneself 

- it is traditionally expected to be done by the 

4. Make a table of household activities and 
of the way they are distributed in your family. 

Look at the table you can see the Gender 

stratification in the academic sphere in 

1987-1988 including types of institutes of 

higher education and scientific positions 

8. Table (Bulgaria) 

1 . How has the proportion of women in aca- 
demic hierarchy changed in Bulgaria? What is the 
percentage of women at the liighest academic lev- 

2. How could you explain these changes? 

- women do not have ambitions in the academic 

- women face difficulties in their academic ca- 
reers, because they have obligations with the house^ 
hold work and witli children's' upbringing 

- women advance with difficulties in the aca- 
demic hierarchy because of the prejudice against 

- women are more suitable for art work than 
for scholai^ly work 

3. In what spheres of science is the percentage 
of women the highest? 

4. How would you explain this stratification? 
-by tradition 

- by the specific attitudes of men and women 
toward particular professions 

- women are admitted more easily in these 
spheres of science that need less investment 

Type of Institution 
















artd Teacher 



















































17 . 




















































Fcn\i c 


























1 5.94 I 
















Slatisticul guide for higher and college education in Bulgaria, Sofia, 1989. 


The fact that women couldnH get qualified work 

seems to be quite "old'* but even today and 

mote and more today- after the change of the 

political system - we can see such situations 

9. Excerpt from the interview with 
Tatiana Bora^ 33 years old, Romania 

[...] "Yes, I am a mine worker. 1 never 
worked down under in the mines, but helped 
to design the galleries and did several jobs 
in the mine over more than 16 years. I al- 
ways felt like I was a niine worker. It was my 
whole life from the time I got out of schooL 
It was really the only life we knew here in 
Jiu Valley. But I lost my job there in spring 
of 1998- I was made redundant. I don't have 
a job at Lupeni mine any more. 

I was confident when I first left the mine, 
I wanted to try something new. I wanted to 
work in the radio and TV station. They told " 
me there was ajob there and 1 applied. There 
was ajob all right and I was qualified. But they 
said when I appHed I was too old. For women 
in Romania today, if you are 30 you are too old. 
You might as well not even bother to look for a 
job. You go in and ask for an interview and they 
tease you about your age. They only like young 
women. Probably they know they can push 
them around more if they are just young. But 
also they like very pretty women. It is that way 
all over Romania. They want thin women too, 
and my husband says I am a little bit too heavy 
to get ajob, maybe. But I have lots of skills 
audi work hard. I can use a computer some, I 
would have been good at the radio and TV sta- 
tion. I have a good voice for talking on TV, I 
think. Anyway, that is over with. The mine is 
over with, and the other chances are over with, 

I am lucky because I found this job with the 
Agency for helping the unemployed mine work- 
ers. I feel like I am helping in a small way. But 
you know, there is not much any one can do 
here. You can try though, I do that. 1 try to 


B, Andreevic, Soop kitchen N 4^ 19J6 {Jugoslavia) 

cheer people up and encourage them* But life 
here is very sad. 

In Bucharest there are more jobs but they 
say right in the newspaper: "Women over 30 
should not apply/* They say things like 
''Women who apply for this job must be at- 
tractive and voung and look good in western 
clothes." [,..] 

Judith R. Dushku, Romanian women tell transition 

talcs: oral stories ofRomanian women ofthe post- 

Gommunisl decade : ETachcva. T, Nedin: She on the 

Balkans, 2(K) I. 


1 . What is the occupation of Tatiana Bora? 

2. How did she feel about her occupation? 

3. What are the reasons for her discharge? 

4. What kinds of women are privileged accord- 
ing to her? 

5. Do you know similar cases? 

6. What kind of deci.sion can be found for those 
who are left without ajob ofthe plants 
closing down? 







In the former chapters we learned about the restrictive 
norms of gender relations in the patriarchal society of the 
19 century; about the control of all kinds of contacts be- 
tween girls and boys, about traditional values like family in- 
tegrity instead of " marriage by love " and so on . We also saw 
that there was a gradual change in these norms, caused by the 
change in the value system of the 'Ideal woman'', regarding 
her education, social activities and relationships between 

Stelan Danaitav in the "Two Guitars", 1969 


Women rowing on the Adriatic sea ISSiOs 

Womeii at Work 

The neglecting of the patriarchal restrictions 
was connected with the transition to modernity 
and the imposition of new bourgeois morality 
in the new places of work and social life. 
Women entered the factories as workers. Some 
of them got career opportunities, traditionally 
considered to be male; doctors, engineers, law^- 
yers and architects. The relationships between 
men and women and their attitudes to their own 
bodies changed, especially after the First World 
War Women started to communicate with men 
in work places freely. Tliey were involved in 
legal relations with the state. Their bodies per- 
formed things, connected with specific skills. 
Their demands for healthier bodies were 
greater. Women started to dress according to 
the latest fashion. Their clothes and hairstyles 
had to be convenient for work in factories and 
not to threaten their life. For example, the dan- 

ger of entangling one's long hair in the machine 
could be lethal The rhythm of work and the new 
manner of living required more speed and free- 
dom in women's movements, trams, trolleys, 
and popular sidewalks demanded shorter dresses 
thus parts of the ankle were to be exposed. 

Of course, this process of allowing women 
to work out of home was long-lasting and 
therefore Dimo Kazasov, a Bulgarian journal- 
ist and politician from the interwar period, 

'T/?£? appearance of female sen^ants in the 
cafes was a great surprise for men in Sofia'\ 

Let's imagine what a sensation the appear- 
ance of women in the lawyer's, doctors' and 
workers' clothes must have been. 

The First World War accelerated the process 
of public tolerance and state acknowledgment 
of female professional labor While men were 
fighting and job positions in shops and public 


administration were free and women were em- 
ployed. Widows had to earn their living and they 
needed jobs and activities outside home. This 
was the time when the first women conductors 
and women in trousers appeared. 

Source 1« ''Women in the old times car- 
ried the burden of doing everything in the 
house alone or with tlie help of servants. To- 
day, however, things are different With the 
help of the sewing machine the Bulgarian 
woman could sew white shirts for her hus- 
band and all lier children for a weelc and the 
bread costs 25 siotinki in the shop nearby. 
Old people were right to allot to women only 
the housework because she would have the 
time to do anything else. The old people had 
apprentices to help them because the house- 
work included working the land as well. 
TIterefore they were allowed to buying slaves. 
Then steam and electricity took over. They 
made the most tedious work easy and they 
produce five times faster than man does. Ma- 
chines do not get tired and do not need a rest. 
They replaced manual labor 

Today spirit is of greatest importance and 
the machine provides the strength that can be 
equally controlled by both men and women. 
Machines make work simple and easy so that 
a clever and skillful woman who knows how 
precious time is can manage the housework 
for two hours no matter how many children 
she has. Meanwhile she can do something to 
earn extra money to help the family budget, 
especially in cases when the husband is lazy 
or ill - something that happens often. Many 
women do so and they should because nowa- 
days 50 or 100 leva per month are not 
enough. But men should help too and let their 
wives work instead of letting them befriend 
people who can hann them. " 

"TTi^ M^oman as a housewife, craftsman, s€ieniisf\ 

an article of "Your granny's"; 
In ^'A Woman's World", 1 898/3, 

• What was the new development in female 
work at home? How was il before, how at the turn 
of the 19 to the 20 century? Which period is 
ca led "old'*? 


19 century I 

uiu of the century 

and ap- 
helped in 
the house 
and on 
the field 

• Wliat consequences did this development have 
for the everyday ife of women and of the whole 

• What did "Your Granny' expect from men 
and why? 

• How is it today? What do you expect from 
women and from men in the househo d and in work 
outside the house? 

Source 2. The development of female work 
affected the legislation as well: 

Law for hygienic and safe labor, 15 June 1917: 

''(Working hours): article 18. The daily 
working hours shall not be longer than 8 for 
the children of both sexes under 16; 10 hours 
for women of any age and boys under 18; 11 
hours for men above 18. 

(Maternity): article 20. Defense of the 
pregnant: 8 weeks mateniity leave with half 
the salary. They cannot be dismissed" 

• What gender relationships did tiiis law reflect? 

• Try to depict a working day of a man and a 

■ Why was it so strange for people in earlier 
times to see women as workers, accountants, doc- 
tors, lawyers etc* 

• What distinguished the women's behavior in 
these roles in comparison to that at home? 


At the same time when technical progress 
changed the working situation in the household, 
the First World War influenced the overcom- 
ing of the shame we talked about in former 
chapters, because, for instance, in the hospi- 
tals and during administering immunization 
against contagious diseases the mascuHne body 
was entrusted to women-nurses and was un- 
dressed before their 
eyes. The first sol- 
diers' reactions, for ^^^~^ 
example in the 
Sei*bian army, were to i 
refuse to undergo 
these manipulations 
but the surviving in- 
stinct was stronger 
and dealt with the so- 
cial instincts much 
faster than public 
norms. Life in 
trenches strength- 
ened the sense of 
personal hygiene and 
the need for body 
comfort; the sol- 
diers' letters dis- 
played how strong 
the need for soap and 
the removal of lice 
had become. 

But there were 
also conservative 
voices against the fe- 
male presence on the Dancing in war time 

Source 3, "A soldier hates to see a 
woman in the battlefield, because he thinks a 
woman can cause trouble and he cannot bear 
the beauty of women being destroyed in battle. 
This superstition has a good reason, Nutner- 
ous cases prove that. This phenomenon is ex- 
plained by the fact thai a sexually active sol- 

dier is less capable of fighting and less care- 
ful, because his senses are not so sharp, as 
they should be. He is therefore in greater dan- 
ger than his fellow fighters. Tfiere are numer- 
ous examples of soldiers and officers, who 
mysteriously died right after spending a night 
with a woman. 

In 1912 and 1913 this superstition of sol- 
diers was so 
strong that we cd- 
most had no prob- 
lems, and sexually 
transmitted dis- 
eases almost did 
not exist. The 
whole world was 
fascinated by the 
morality of the 
Serbian soldier. In 
1914 and 1915 
this morality was, 
due to this par- 
ticular situation, 
slightly corrupted, 
but it appeared 
again on 

Thessalonica 's 
front. Soldiers 
were faced with 
the charitable 
presence of Brit- 
ish and French la- 
dies, admired 
their morality, as 
they admired 

theirs, loved them 

in a brotherly manner, but without breaking 
the rules of honesty and morality. When re- 
cruiting a new army we have to renew the 
presence of morality and to remove sins, " 

D-r Vladimir Slanojevich, Exerts rrom my Wiir Di iiry, in 
D-r Vladimir SLanojevic[i,"Histor) of Serbian War Sanitary 

Trial' \ Belgrade, 1992. 

World War Two 


• What was the consequence of female pres- 
ence on the batlletields according to the author? 

• WTiat kind of roles should women play in war 
according to the author, and why? 

• Where in the text can you find proofs of the 
old prejudice? 

• Make a summary of Ihe political and military 
events in 1912/1 3 and 1914/15. 

Here is another example for the change in 
relationships between women and men, this 
time during the Second World War: 

Source 4. "'Let's talk freely! Said the 
young woman and shamelessly let David 
take off her shirt. 

Alexander was surprised that something 
like this wa.^- taking place in front of his eyes. 
He turned his face. When he saw that his two 
comrades were Just cleaning and bandaging 
the woman's wound and were not impressed 
by her nakedness, he dared to look at her His 
heart shrieked of pain when he touched the 
dirty and bloody shirt of the young woman, 
when he saw her unclean breast and sun- 
burned neck. This thing is not for women, he 
thought sadly,'' 

Yana Yazova, Bulgarian writer from the inter war 

period /^War\ 2000 

• What in this text give you a reason to think 
that the Second World War totally changed the re- 
lationships between sexes? 

Friendship between Women and Men 

Not only work and war but also balls, res- 
taurants, opera, cinema, exhibitions, political 
and social clubs, sports and travel agencies, 
places for recreation and vacations, leisure time 
(parks, beaches, baths, picnics, mountain camps 
etc.) enhanced the communication between the 
sexes. The touching of the bodies, walking hand 

in hand, the free talks, the friendship between 
men and women in public, which were impos- 
sible in the patriarchal times, became the nonn 
in bourgeois everyday life. As Stefan Gruev ex- 
plained in his Memoirs: 

Source 5. ^'Friendship outside school was 
satisfactory and it was blooming primarily on 
the beaches of Sozopol and Varna and in the 
villas in Chamkoriya (Borovetz) - famous 
places for swimmings skiing and excursions 
during these carefree years. When we went 
back to Sofia we could hardly wait until week- 
ends came to continue our new relationships 
and flirting at the tennis courts and the Boris 
Garden or at the public swimming pool 
''Dianabad" or at the first dance clubs that 
were intmduced recently. '' 

Stefan Gruev , Memoirs; In: 'Letopissi', 1996/7/8. 

• Where did friendship outside school spring 
up? And why did it work so well outside school? 

• How is it today? Where do you meet new 

Managing the complex rules of body perfor- 
mance in ball rooms demanded new culture of 
movements. The special ball gowns only al- 
lowed women to show in public discrete parts 
of their neck and/or hands. Therefore the new 
culture, linked with the preparation of dress- 
ing, dancing skills and the new outlook and 
behavior, which were achieved through long 
lessons outside home neglecting the tradi- 
tional role of housewives and educators of their 
children, met the resistance of conservative 
male opinion. The Bulgarian newspaper 'Ta- 
triot'' in 1889 demands brothers and fathers 
to be very careful with the preserving of the 
moral values and dignity of their sisters and 


Source 6. ''We were ashamed to look at 
men and women; and now we are so,.. Whv 
should we desecrate marriage? There are 
some reasons that led us to this situation. 
They are: first - luxury and free communica- 
tion between genders, the present education 
which turned to be a sudden and unexpected 
change that became hazardous to domestic 
life. Second, ball rooms became particular 
places where women lose their humbleness'''. 

"Marriage and Celibacy", "Patrior, 18897 12. 

• How did this newspaper judge the change in 
the relationship between the genders? Can you 
guess what were the pohtical views of the author? 

Here is another example of opposing the 

Source 7* ''The horo is our folklore. We 
all know it, and there we are free and equaL 
Clusters of people gather together with small 
or no difference in the outfit, Tlie ball is so 
different from our horo that, considering our 
education, it helps loosening up the relation- 
ships between men and women and for the 
preparation of virgins for mothers and 
wives who are not positive and serious. 
There is something so shameless in the 
attitude, dancing and looks of our 
women and girls, that we can say some- 
thing even worse than what Matey 
Arnold said about American women. 
Many of our women are not humble in 
terms of supporting the new freedom in 
relationships and interactions between 
genders so that passion and decency 
stay in their right places. What can be 
spotted at halls is also present in walks 
in parks and at the dances and every- 
where we want to look more free and 
more European\ 

"Ball and Horo". "Patriot", 1889/ApriL 

• What did the author criticize? 
-leisure activities in general 

-the looseness of relationships between women 
and men 

-women in general 

-the new freedom of women 

-men who are visiting balls 

• What were the * 'right places'' for women ac- 
cording to the author? And why? 

• What threat did "conservatives" see in balls? 
Which were the traditional values and gender roles 
threatened by the cuitiire of balls? 

• Which were the other places, where the tra- 
ditional gender roles disintegrated? 

For the same reason Vladimir Gachinovich 
(young Bosnian socialist in turn of XX th cen- 
tury) in his essay about Zerajic criticized a few 
girls from Bosnia studying at European univer- 
sities, because they followed their colleagues 
"in their scandalous life in cafes". Therefore 
the cafes in the central pail of the cities were 
primarily for males in the mornings and are vis- 
ited by women in the evenings. The important 
in this case is the presence of women in places 

Seated Ladies at a ball celebrating tlie Day of Independence, 9.t[}.!928 


Sofia, 1930s 

that were traditionally male. Of course, this 
practice gradually disappeared after the end of 
the First World War and it was simply a distant 
reminder in the 1940s At the same time the 
places for entertainment were divided not into 
male and female, but according to class prin- 
ciples. Workers, bourgeois and servants had 
separate places for entertainment. 

• Do you know separate places for girls and 
boys, for women and men or for different social 
groups in other periods, in otlier countries tliat ex- 
ist today? Give examples. 

The New Culture of Leisure Activities 

This situadon changed after the First World 
War, in the 1930s and 1940s with the turning 
of the cafes, cinemas, mountains, rivers and 
summer pools into common places for enter- 
tainment. Here people got rid of their clothes 
and problems or, as t^epotlers of that time wrote: 
''The bathing suit erases the class differences, 
underlined by the clothes and everyday life 
outfits. " That is how a reporter from Sofia re- 
flected this change in the morality and the atti- 
tude towards the body; 

Source 8. ''Not long ago it was a sensa- 
tion to see a girl in a sportswear Some years 
passed and women became witty and started 
calling the pants 'shorts' and now they feel 
at home in shorts. The bathing suits that 
reached the knees, now cover only some parts 
so that the body receives more sun and air 
And bath i tig in the sea? The beach in Varna 
was created thanks to the argmnent that for- 
eigtiers wanted it\ It was unbelievable for us 
to wish for something connected with sun and 
air. We butnped into the wrong notion of mo- 
rality. How did it happen that air and sun are 
nowadays something regular, yearned for and 
free? The voyage along the Iskar river also 
contributed to this. The flow to the *' Maria 
Liiisa' pool then followed. People wanted air 
and sun, the municipality gave these places 
to Sofiar 

"Air*Siin*=Water" by R Spasov. t940. 

• Why was it a ^'sensation" to see a girl in sports- 

• Afik your parents and grandparents whether 
they had similar experiences in their youth, con- 
cerning one's clothes, haii'style, behavior? 


'Maria Luisa" pool, Sofia 

• What did "air and sun" mean for the people 
before, what at the turn of the last century and what 
does it mean for people today? 

• Why was it not always "positive" to have a 
bronze tan? 

• What does this mean for the modern beauty 

This is the time when sunbaths were adver- 
tised as healthy and useful. The theme of skin 
cancer was still unknown to medicine, although 
this was the time when protective creams ap- 
peared, promising a good tan. Beach culture im- 
posed the new idea of beauty of men and women: 
'a sunburnt body physically strong from the 
swimming and exercises . It was imposed by 
the "Beach Queen^'- contests there have been 
filmed since the 1940s and the demonstrations 
of jumping from towers as well. Here is what 
the film by Spas Todorov reflected: "The choice 
of the queen of the beach in Luzhin" (South 
West Bulgaria) in 1940: photos at the beach, 
the walk of the queen of the beach accompa- 
nied by Gennan songs. This new conception 

imposed the image of masculinity and feminin- 
ity, characterized by athletic bodies and 'long 
legs, blond hair, bronze tan and tempting 
fonns'\ depicted in the memories and adver- 
tisements from that time. This ideal for mas- 
culinity and femininity incited identity crisis 
in teenagers who were far away from it. Here 
is such an e?campie by Stefan Gruev in his 

Source 9. ''Then I spent hours eating her 
up with my eyes as a hungry puppy, torn by 
doubts and desires. At that age 1 suffered from 
painful complexes: while my school peers 
were growing up with masculine bodies I was 
still a pale and fragile child. I feared that no 
girl was going to look at me in my bathing 
suit and that is why I never did take off my 
shirt when we were at the swimming pooL This 
summer nothing else could depress me mare 
than the beautiful, well -built young men 
around this attractive lady,'' 

S, Gruev , Memoirs... 


• What was the biggest problem of this boy in 
his leisure time and why? 

Tlie first magazines and newspapers that ad- 
vertised bathing suits and sportswear suggest- 
ing specific gender styles, appeared in the 
1920s and 1930s Fliit, love before marriage 
and adultery were among themes that appeared 
often on the pages of the magazines. They were 
subject of satirizing and were ridiculed, but 
gradually they become a decadent rebellion 
against the ruling conservative norms of gen- 
der relationships often defined as bourgeois hy- 
pocrisy. The Bulgarian sound filna'The Resort 
of Varna and the Rest Houses'* was produced in 
1932. '^Attending resorts'' became as a fashion- 
able life-style. Of course, the summer seaside 
resorts and the winter ski resorts remained a 
privilege for the middle and upper-middle 
classes of the society. But walks, picnics, sun- 
bathe at the rivers remained preferred enter- 
tainment for the rest of the population. 

In practice, the culture of spare time helped 
definitely the creation of public places for en- 
tertainment, where the freedom of communi- 

cation between men and women was common. 

Contacts between youngsters in cafes and clubs, 
where they met and fell in love with young beau- 
tiful girls from the lower classes, became a 
nightmare for their parents. But, as Avdo Humo 
writes about Bosnia: ''When I was boy this 
topic was much discussed at home and at fam- 
ily meetings, which were very frequent In my 
youth, al the beginning of 20 century, there 
was hardly any public cultural life in my town. 
Those family meetings gave the rare oppor- 
tunity to exchange every sort of information, 
ranging from economic, political and inti- 
mate to various gossips" 

The culture of the leisure beginniing of this 
century was an exception rather than a rule. It 
was mainly influenced by: 

• The implementation of laws defining the 
working hours that led to a progressive decrease 
in ihe length of the working day and week; 

• The progress in medicine, enhancing the 
positive role of tourism, fresh air and rest for 
the human body; 

• The state social policy, which supported the 
provision of hygienic work conditions and pro- 
vided for places for a rest and entertainment; 

• The consideration that entertainment could 
be regarded as a cure against the dreads of the 
First World War that undervalued many of the 
traditional values of the older life-style, which 
resisted the ideas of having pleasures and 
obliged people to devote themselves to work 
and family only; 

• The boom of the travel agencies as a re- 
sult of the entertainment advertising which 
turned into a successful business in compli- 
ance with the new attitudes towards enter- 


Modern Ideals of Beauty 

TTie newly developed leisure and tourism *1n- 
dustry" also contributed to the change in the 
attitudes towards the human body, to the estab- 
lishment of new views on beautiful and healthy 
body, which involved an elegant silhouette for 
women and strong muscles for men. The 
wrinkles became a problem and the cosmetics 
developed into a successful trade. The adver- 
tisements of beauty saloons and their miracle 
effect displayed on the pages of color newspa- 
pers had imposed new "sterile" image of the 
female beauty: a smooth face with no wrinkles, 
looking fresh and betraying a healthy way of 
life, which outlooks can be preserved by cos- 

• What is the idea! for beauty today? 

• What do wrinkles mean for women and for 
men (in older time and today)? 

• Which other beauty "sins' " were created within 
the last hundred years? What is, concerning the 
ideals for beauty, not ''allowed": 

-for women 
-for men? 

• What do you think about the fashionable ide- 
als for beauty? 

Cinema has imposed greatest influences on 
the changing atdtudes of the contemporary in- 
dividual towards their body and communica- 
tion and thus helping to overcome fear and 
shame. It was one of the cheapest types of en- 
tertainment. Its visual effect and the possibil- 
ity to provide more complex intellectual im- 
plications made movies preferable to the tra- 
ditional drama. Here is how according to 
Georgi Georgia v, author of the book ''Sofia and 
its People" film characters influenced life- 

^ I mm. im 

t!iii vmm 

lildn III Hill 





SeriHKH Mitfop 

sHMcwMa Hanjrra aa rpanoAr h Afliiy. kao « VH- 

HvpeiiiiTO nen hi6«p 

CB1UW H (nHABHDf ftQUlO, nttmafMO, KlKUyibeL. MB- 

uiHH, niiaTHii,umijg, 3»tic^ rannna ititgHDcra-ng 

Z'ensha moda m Bsograilu 2a s^mu' 1936^1937. 

Advertisement Belgrade 1936-1937 

Source 10* '*A dandy from the capital dif- 
fered in his hairstyle from anyone from the 

country as he had the constant quality of ex- 
travagance. He styled his hair in the period 
before the war and after it. But and especially 
after the appearance of the sound film, he 
definitely started to imitate the heroes from 
the screen, who used to make women sigh. His 
hairstyle covered the whole distance between 
the Charles Boae 's brigantine hair to the wild 
curls of Pal Yavor'\ 

''The shortcut hairstyle came into fashion 
at the end of the 1920s The fashion of the 
styled hair came together with it. The film 
screen was very influential over the develop- 
ment of the hairstyles, especially of the girls. 
The public opinion still could not accept a 
woman with a husband and children to pay 
attention and change her hairstyle. At the 
same time girls' hairstyles ranged from the 


shortcut of Greta Garbo to the careless wild 
curls ofAlida ValV^ 

nice there and we had a great time'\ 

From the "Serdika" journal, Sofia, 1940/6 

• Describe the change in fashion and styles in 
these two sources from the early 20 century. 

• What further changes in fashion (clothes, hair 
styles etc.) do yqu know, which "idols'* from mov- 
ies or music bands do you know? 

Here is another example of iht importance 
of cinema for the dreams and ideals of young 


Source 11, "-4 naked youngster in fash- 
ionable pants with zip is sitting at the table 
nearby. His ID card must read: face - rounds 
no mustaches, no specific marks. He is wear- 
ing yellow sunglasses. He is smoking with a 
carefree pleasure. There are cigarettes, 
matches, a coffee and a newspaper on the 
table. It is not hard to understand his hidden 
thoughts: he is traveling. He may have never 
been abroad, even to Belgrade (the a return 
ticket, visa and passport, all this for 560 leva 
). He may be an accountant and it must have 
been hard for him to save money to buy these 
extravagant pants. But 1 know be is traveling 
at least in his thoughts. The fdms, the two- 
hour happiness, have given him wings. The 
film has made him leave his skin shell and 
now he is not in the open pool area of ''Maria 
Luiza'\ he is in Munich or Salzburg, at the 
lake Bled or even on the beach of Lido. There 
are many like him around. That girl over there 
is also like him. She is Jumping on the ter- 
race because she has seen it in films and she 
thinks it is 've^y fashionable and shocking'. 
She is laughing with a clear voice. The school- 
girls who are calling her down seem like chil- 
dren to her. She is a lady in her thoughts. This 
will not prevent her from sayifig later on: 'To- 
day we were at ''Maria Luiza'\ it was really 

* What did movies influence these young 

* What did they dream about? Why was it im- 
portant for them to have the possibilities to escape 
from the real world into the world of dreams? 

The memories of a 19 year old boy give us 
another example of the influence of Hollywood 
on the outlook and behavior of the young gen- 
eration in the interwar period: 

Source 12, "At the age of 19 1 had a child- 
ish face and was the only one who did not 
need to shave. Now it may not seem to be a 
problem, but at that time and in a society, 
which worshipped 'masculinity* to have no 
beard was a real tragedy. Forty people used 
to turn towards my desk with flat jokes while 
I was blushing and wanted to sink in the 
ground. The most painful were cases like this. 
One evening a large group of friends, both 
boys and girls, went to dance in a nightclub 
in Varna, The jauntier let everybody in ex- 
cept me. 'Children are not allowed!' he said 
before the girl I was courting. To make up for 
the lack of a beard I started smoking when I 
was in the company of my peers in order to 
obtain a manly expression. I was holding my 
cigarette clumsily and coughed all the time, 
but even this did not help me much to look 
like Humphrey BogarL '* 

• What was tlie problem of this boy? Do you 
think that boys in earUer time had similar problems? 

* How did he try to compensate for his "prob- 
lem"? Do you know similar "strategies" exercised 
by young people today? 


According to the statistics, going 
to cinema had become the most 
preferable entertainment after the 
First World Wan The records of 
sound films in cinema archives re- 
veal the fact that the most frequently 
seen films during the interwar pe- 
riod were love melodramas, adven- 
ture and historical films. The policy 
of the Bulgarian state, on one hand, 
attempted at limiting the access of 
pupils to these films, but, on the 
other, it lowered the ticket prices for 
some films. These particular films 
revealed the hard life of prostitutes' 
or transmitted the danger of thrust- 
ing thoughtlessly into feelings and 
passions, which could destroy 
youngsters' career prospects and all 
life. All this speak about the great 
influence of the cinema over the 
outlook and behavior of boys and 
girls during the interwar period. 


A girf looking at a film poster 


1 . What is the difference in the ways the patri- 
archal and the bourgeois cultures control gender 

2. Which were the new places where freedom 
in communication between men and women was 
possible and new forms of gender relationships 
were confirmed? 

3, Why was the First World War considered 
significant for the change in theattitudes to the body 
and gender relationships? 

4, Why and how the culture of leisure had 
changed the relationships between genders and 
created new attitudes towards the body? 

5, How did Ihe cinema influence gender rela- 

Lets remember again what was the difference between the patriarchal and bourgeois culture in respect to 
disciplining of one's body. 

patriarchal culture 

bourgeois culture 


getting into contact with each other 



body "shaping'' 


Politics and 


The establishment of the modem state and 
its institutions in ihe 18 and 19 centuries in 
Europe and North America; elective goveni- 
ment, parliamentary system, constitution, 
modem army etc, provided opportunities for 
a greater number of people to be involved in 
the power structures compared to traditional 

societies. Modem political life implies a com- 
petition between political parties with differ- 
ent program and strategies uniting a variety of 
social strata. They organize political meetings 
and publish their own printed media. Tlie prin- 
ciples of freedom and equality proclaimed by 
the French Revolution become attractive for a 
great number of people. The reader has prob- 
ably noticed the fact that when getting ac- 
quainted with political history one does not 
come across the names of many women. Po- 
litical activity was associated with the activity 
and realization of men. Politics appeared to be 
afield excluding one of the sexes. 

This fact is not simply a result of the divi- 
sion of labor between the sexes. We know that 
political institutions take decisions that define 
the way of life of all people. They allocate pub- 
lic finance (the stale budget), they design new 
laws that define the conditions for and access 
to education, labor economic activities, heri- 

T[ie Government of Constantln Stollov,1897, Bulgaria 


tage, social support etc. Many of the decisions 
of the poUtical instttutioiis impose divisions 
based on gender characteristics. 

There could be people supporting the idea 
that women preferred to stay at home living a 
sheltered life, devoted to family and children 
and were only happy to leave politics to men. 
Probably this was true for most of the cases 
but certainly not for all of them especially af- 
ter the French Revolution. Throughout hi story 
we can observe that women were excluded 
systematically from the political sphere. They 
were forbidden to participate in political ac- 
tivities or deprived of their political rights. In 
some countries, e,g. Hungary, in 1848/1849 
the election law deprived women of the al- 
ready granted (although indirectly) right to 
vote. Excluding women from participation in 
political life was done not only through legal 
acts. To a great extend this happened as a re- 
sult of a variety of ideological arguments con- 
cerning women's inabiHty to perform politi- 
cal activities. Many of these arguments can 
still be heard today. In the second half of the 


19 century natural scientists were searching 
for evidence that women were biologically pre- 
destined for home activities rather than for 
social ones. Later on Freud's Psychoanalysis 
brought up new arguments from the study of 
the human nerve system and psychological 
characteristics claiming that women are crea- 
tures showing greater dependence on sexual- 
ity incapable of deep mental activity and ab- 
stract thinking. 


The fierce debate that was raised resulted 
in an increase in women's social activities and 
eventually led to the formation of many 
women's organizations that began the struggle 
for emancipation. The general movement is 
widely known as 'feminism'. However, there 
is a great variability in feminism and it has 
never actuatly been a unified movement. The 
reason for this is that women belong to a vari- 
ety of social classes and their political inter- 
ests are expressed in a varietv of w^ays, Accord- 


ing to those who do rjot know feminism it is 
just an ideology of the hatred of certain women 
(most probably neglected by men) towards 
men. It was recently when a leader of a Bulgar- 
ian women's organization when asked if she was 
a feminist, answered: *No, no, no a thousand 
times no. We love men and life in couples' . Ac- 
tually only few of the most radical acts of femi- 
nism were directed against men. Liberal femi- 
nism supports gender equality and the idea that 
people from both sexes are born different but 
equal and must have equal opportunities in life. 
Liberal feminism does no reject family as a so- 
cial structure; on the contrary it asserts it and 
what is more it calls for equality between the 

Generally feminism 
analyses the ways 
women are discussed in 
society and the power 
relations between men 
and women. Feminism 
teaches us to treat all 
people first as indi- 
viduals and raises our 
awareness in cases of 
disrespect of person- 

in a much greater extent. In addition, because 
of the iong'Iasting alienation of big parts of the 
population from the central government 
(mainly in the conditions of the Ottoman Em- 
pire), more or less permanent forms of self- 
defense were established which contribute to 
the emerging of images of manhood in which 
the heroic behavior played a great role. Such 
men's groups were glorified in the folklore of 
the Balkans, There were rebels, popuiaiiy known 
as haiduti, or other historical groups; klefty, 
chetnitzi. etc. In the process of the moderniza- 
tion of Balkan communities, accompanied by 
fierce social struggle, revolutionary violence 
and military conflicts, some of these paragons 

South East Europe 

The region of S outh- 
East Europe has its own 
special historical fate, 
marked by many sudden 
political changes and 
mil itary conflicts which 
occurred more often 
than in other parts of 
Europe. Patriarchal so- 
cial structures where 
preserved here. For 
these reasons society 
was dominated bv men 

Macedonian chetnicks, 1903 


of heroism and manli- 
ness were associated 
with revolutionaries 
and waniors and influ- 
ence the contemporary 
concept for the role of 
man. Nevertheless, if 
we look closer at the 
political development 
in the 1 9 and 20 cen- 
turies, we shall dis- 
cover political debates 
concerning emancipa- 
tion similar to those in 
other European states. 

Women Organizations 

Women charity activists, 1923 

The first women's societies in the Balkan 
countries where established in the 1850s. 
They did not have any political objectives, their 
aim being to help women's aspirations to edu- 
cation so that women could become better 
partners of their spouses and better mothers. 
Hundreds of such women's societies provided 
financial support for poor girls to study 
abroad, opened kindergartens and a wide range 
of educational courses. Women teachers 
started to play an increasingly important role 
as they represented one of the few prestigious 
professions, which society accepted as suit- 
able for women (at least for single ones). Very 
often young women teachers where influ- 
enced by socialist ideas, one of the reasons 
being that at the time social democrats were 
the only politicians who included the idea of 
emancipadon in their programs. As socialists, 
the members of the Balkan women's organi- 
zations had international contacts and there 
were cases when women teachers, activists 
of the social democratic movement in one 
country become leaders of the womcn'sor- 
ganizations in a neighboring state. This was 
the case with Stoyanka-Tsanka Yovanovic, a 

teacher who grew up and got education in Bul- 
garia and who later on went to Belgrade to 

become one of the leaders of the women's 
movement in Serbia. 

In the second half of the 1 9 and the begin- 
ning of 20th century, various women^s 
organizations were established in the countries 
of South East Europe . Some of the first such 
organizations were those in Hungary. In 1865 
women's movement started there with the pub- 
lication of 'Women's Manifesto \ Women in 
Hungary were granted suffrage /right to vote/ 
as early as 1919, and in 1922 the first woman 
MP /Member of Parliament/ entered Flungar- 
ian parliament- This was Margit Slachta (1884 
- 1974), a representative of the movement of 
Christian feminism. Christian Eeminists 
pleaded for both: for the specific women's 
virtues, national and family values and for 
the women's education and employment. 

In Turkey the first women's rights organi- 
zation was created in 1913; in 1936 the Fed- 
eration of Turkish Women wa& founded, which 
in fact supported Kemal Ataturk's policy and 
the values of the Republic, as well as the de- 
velopment of women's education and the sup- 

Elections in November 1945: "Everybody on the elections" 

port of motherhood. Women were granted suf- 
frage for the by-elections in 1930 and for the 
general elections in 1934. 

The comnnon struggle for allowing women 
access to higher education united Bulgarian 
women's societies. Bulgarian Women' s 
Union was founded in 190L The union 
started publishing its own newspaper 
"Zhensky Glas" (Women's Voice). In 1903 
the women - social democrats left the union 
proclaiming that it was the socialist state to 
come that would provide a general solution 
to all problems of women; there was no use 
to achieve isolated objectives. In 1910 the 
union "Ravnopravie'' (Equal rights) was cre- 
ated by reformist social-democrats. Bulgar- 
ian women (married, divorced, widows) were 
allowed to vote in 1937. 

A lot of feminist writings where trans- 
lated in all the countries of South-East Eu- 

rope which made possible for women to take 
part in the international debate on women's 

in Serbia the emancipation movements was 
associated with the name of Draga Dcyanovic 
( 1 840 - 1 87 1 ), a Serbian youth organization ac- 
tivist. She gave lectures on the condition of 
women in Serbia and called for Serbian women 
to free themselves from the oppression of men, 

In Greece women got the right to vote in 
1956. It seems that in many countries suffrage 
was achieved in a period of authoritarian 
rather than democradc regime. 

Women and Social Care 


From the middle of the 1 9 up to the middle 

of 20 century women found in charity orga- 
nizations the best opportunity for social ac- 
tivities and expression , Speaking about char- 


In the 1930s, the protection 

of children became a 

common collaboration field 

for women from alt Balkan 

states. The First Balkan 

Congress for Child Protection 

took place in Attien in 1936. 

Here we see two posters 

showing the social activity of 

the Belgrade community 

presented to the Second 

Balkan Congress for Child 

Protection in Belgrade, 1938. 

They illustrated the ideas of 

''social motherhood'' as a care 

for all children in society 

ity, we usually imagine high society noble la- 
dies giving alms to poor children for Christ- 
mas, But in South East Europe charity was 
managed mainly by the women's organiza- 
tions. The organizations like Christian, Red 
Cross, Teachers' societies etc. attracted a great 
deal of middle class housewives and profes- 
sional women. Female teachers were the most 
active in the beginning, later on female doc- 
tors, nurses and agronomists got involved as 
well Such organizations opened orphanages, 
homes for old people and for poor chi Idren, 
they used also to provide free food for poor 
people. In the years of World War One thou- 
sands of Red Cross activists took care of 
wounded soldiers and prisoners of war; and 
of the graves of the dead ones from the both 

In Hungary the social and welfare activi- 
ties of the women's charity organizations 
were the first of such kind in the region. 
For instance, Susana Koshut (the sister of 
the revolutionary L. Koshut) worked as a 
nurse in the military hospitals during the 
revolution (1848-1849). 

In Turkey women's charity started with or- 
ganization founded by Emine Semidge, later 
it developed into a network of charity organi- 

zations. In 1914 the Union for the Protection 
of Children was founded in Turkey. 

The Bulgarian Union for the Protection of 
Children was founded in 1925. Two years 
later a special institution was created within 
the Union called 'Women Teachers - Coun- 
selors". The girls were trained to manage spe- 
cial social, educational and charity activities 
in the countryside. Constantia Lyapcheva, the 
Union's most distinguished activist, believed 
that the roots of charity were not in alms- 
giving, but rather in creating honorable hu- 
man beings. In Bulgaria, in the 1930s out of 
6000 activists involved in caring for old 
people, 5000 were women. The Union of 
Bulgarian Women opened Higher Social 
School for Women, qualifying officers for 
the social services. 

Many of the women who participated in 
charity activities insisted that it was only 
through their social engagements that they 
could fulfil their "true woman nature" . *The 
social motherhood ideology" developed 
stressing the need for maternal duty of women 
to be extended over the whole society. This 
ideology was criticized by some feminists as 
reinforcing the inequality between the sexes, 
but we should take accoLnt of the fact that 


A group of Jewish Women from Kjustendil, Bulgaria, IdOQs 
Archives of the Jewish HfstorioaJ Museum, Sofia 

many of the skills and a great deal of the ex- 
perience, acquired by women in the social 
charity, would later contribute to the founda- 
tion of welfare state and of professional so- 
cial care. 

The Time of Socialism 

After World War Two in the communist 
countries of Eastern Europe women were 
given unlimited access to all political insti- 
tutions. And even more, women coming from 
the masses: factory and farm workers, build- 
ing construction workers, etc, due to their 
achievements as manual workers could have 
entered the Parliament, a possibility even un- 
thinkable before. However in the conditions 
of the totalitarian one party regime, the demo- 
cratic institutions were formally elective and 
did not play any significant role. This is why 
any conclusions concerning the political role 

of women in a communist society, based only 
on the percentage of women in governmental 
institutions, are unreliable. All former femi- 
nist organizations being dismissed the pub- 
lic dialogue on the political roles of men 
and women broke up. For decades women 
of communist states were isolated from the 
emancipation movement behind the Mron 
curtain \ where the fight for equal rights 

The involvement of women in all political 
institutions did not solve many of their so- 
cial problems. For instance the extreme re- 
strictions imposed on abortions in some coun- 
tries /e.g. Romania/ were not opposed by the 
official women's organizations, which were 
quite formal and controlled by the govern- 
ment- Many women's organizations even sup- 
ported those measures. 

After 1989, the year marking the begin- 
ning of democratic changes in most of South 


East communist countries, it 
turned out that women were the 
ones to take most of the burden 
of the transition- They suffered 
much more than men from the 
rise of unemployment and the 
collapse of the state social care 
system . Many girls become vic- 
tims of the organized crime sup- 
plying the underground We.^t Eu- 
ropean market with young pros- 
titutes. All groups of women need 
more information about activi- 
ties in other countries, they need 
contacts, mutual support and ex- 
pression of their own problems. 
Now different groups of women 
feel they should raise their voice 
and make society hear them* 

* ij! :^ 

Tray to find information about 
history of women V educational^ 
political and social activities in 

your own country. Fill in the 

table^ adding events and names 

of activists. 

Tsola Dragoycheva, member of the Leadership of Bulgarian Communist 
Party speaking for a meeting, t9SOs 


First hatf of the 
igih century 

Second half of the 
19^ century 

First tialf of the 
20*^ sentuiy 

Second half of the 
20^ century 

Education for girls 


First women wit i 
university degree 


Women charity 

Political riglits 




The organized participation of women in 

pontics dates only from the first half of the 

20 century. But there were politically active 

women in earlier time 

1. A novel about the life of Queen 
Marie (Mary) of Romania 

[,..] And this young, intelligenl:, subtle^ brave 
and well prepared for business British prin- 
cess became the wife of shy Ferdinand... 
Originally, this was a marriage a la conve- 
nience and its main aim was the stability of 
the fRomaman] kingdom and the heirs for the 

It was clear from the beginning that the 
Queen was a stronger character She has been 
educated in a family where the model of the 
grandmother dominated and where women 
were indeed used to taking care of the house- 
hold, to cooking and to being real wives. On 
the other hand, she knew that noblesse oblige 
and she had accepted the responsibilities of a 
royalty as it had been taught proper in Great 

She immediately started to learn Romanian, 
a Latin language and to show pride in having a 
dual citizenship. She was active, almost with 
no self-restrictions and she developed her ex- 
traordinary capacity to influence those she met 
On many occasions, her behavior was infor- 
mal, and, for example, the way to choose the 
men in her escort aroused gossips although the 
attitude of the Romanians was closer to the 
modern permissive society than to that of Vic- 
torian England- Except for the scandalous sto- 
ries, she was very popular. Her position became 

very strong during the Balkan War of 1912- 
1913 when she went to the front line. She 
worked as a nurse. .. [and] treated soldiers af- 
fected badly by typhus or other infectious dis- 

Romania owed her more than any other 
politician the decision to join the Allied Pow- 
ers [the Entente]. The initiative seemed as a 
compromise from the military and geographi- 
cal point of view and Ferdinand, was ready to 
support Germany, but the [...] Queen, fully 
convinced that England and the Allies will win, 
showed more influence than her husband. [...} 

Leonard W.Taylor, Regele aurului ^i Regina Maria, 
(The Sourdough and the Queen U Bucure^ti, 1996, 

Answer the questions: 

1. How was Maria educated in her home? 
What was she supposed to do? 

2. When did she start to learn Romanian? 
Why did she need it? 

• What was her attitude toward the Roma- 
nians according to the author? 

• How did Queen Maria help her country 
during the time of the Balkan wars 1912-1913? 

• What was her political influence in the Ro- 
manian society? 

3. Should women who take high positions in 
politics and government take care of their fami- 
lies too? Should they be able to cook and take 
care of the household? 

4. Should people (men and women) who 
dedicate themselves to their career be substi- 
tuted by someone else in the cares for their 

5. What do you think about women's par- 
ticipation in politics and government? 

Political participation of women was developed only step by step as the following 

Hungarian example shows 

2. Statistics about Women's Participation in tlie Hungarian Parliament and 

Governments (1922 - 1994) 

Year of 

Absolut number and 

Percentage of women 

deputies in the 

Parliament (%) 

Woman serTiii^ aj> 

President of the 


Wonian .serving 
as a minister 

Niime of (he 


1 Maiiiit Slachta 


1 Anna Keihly 








14 (3.3%) 


22 (5,3%) 


71 (17,6%) 

1949-1951 Aiimt 

Minister of 



1956 Anna Keihly 

State minister 



1958-1961 Vuleria 

Minister of 



1963-1967 Istvdniie 


Jczs efne Vass 

Minister of 
Light Indiislry 




84 (23,8%' 

Keseru Jaiiosne 

Minister of 
Light Industry 


iOl (28,6%'J 


106 (30, 1%') 


80 (20,7%) 

1987-1990 Judit 

Minister qf 
We fare and 


27 (7%) 







1994-95 Kosane 
Kovacs Maeda 

Minister of 

Jonas Karoly. Paripafwpflkum 194H-199Q, (Wax Cabinet of Parties), Budapest, 1990. 

Answer tlie questions: 

1 . Pay attention to the dynamics of women's 
participation in the historic development. When 
do we see the first woman in the Hungarian par- 

2. What do you remember about Margit 
Slachta from the text of introduction? What were 
her convictions? 

3. How did her participation enrich political 

4. When did the share of women in the Hun- 
garian parliament reach its peak? 

How would you explain this? 

5. What was the attitude of the communist 
government toward women's participation in the 
power structure? How did this influence 
women's place in society? 

6. In what spheres of govenmient did women 
take the highest positions? Why? 

- economy; - culture; 

- industry; - agriculture; 

- social sphere; - education, 

1, Can you imagine a woman in the follow- 
ing positions: 

- Prime Minister - President 

Hungary, 1910s 

- Defense Minister - Finance Minister 
8. Point out names of women - ministers and 

members of Parliament in your country. In what 

spheres do you find them mostly? 

The writer Hristo Silyanov (born inl880) 
participated in the movement for the liberation 
of Macedonia from Ottoman rule at the end of 
the 19 century and the beginning of the 20 
century. Later on he worked as a journalist. 
His memoirs were written as letters to the 
literature teacher Manya M. who also sup- 
ported the liberation struggles 

3. The letter of a Macedonian chetnik 
(rebel) to his friend Manya 

"You admired the wild life of yourhroth- 
ers and cursed your sex. The thought that you 
will never be able to get out from the role of a 
nurse, that you are condemned to put up in 
your home homeless people, send them shirts 
and socks [..,] this thought cut the wings of 

your dreams. And you felt you were bom un- 
happy, stigmatized by fate. 

I understood you Manya, I understood you 
perfectly. I also thought of myself as convicted 
to be nailed by the city [...] like a tired ox, 
which is headed towards the slaughterhouse 
voluntarily [. . .] Do you think that this thought 
is less painful for a man than your awareness 
of the helplessness of a woman?" 

From **Letters and confessions of a Macedonian 

chetnik", 1928, 

Answer the questions: 

1 . What were the social activities of women 
of ihattime? 

2. Why did the author suppose that the 
woman was not happy with her sex? Why did 
he mention the iielplessncssof a woman'? 

3. What did the author's mean by ''a wild 

4. What types of men and women did the 
author describe? 

• Why did the author compare a man who is 
"nailed by the city'' to a ''working ox"? 


• What stereotypes about gender roles did 
the author affirm? 

• What political moveraents on the Balkans 
made use of these stereotypes for their propa- 

5. Should men and women share the same 
ideal of behavior? 

Underline the right statements and 
support your choice: 

The author's ideal of 'manliness' was: 

- a man should sacrifice himself for certain 

" a man should be patient; 

- a man should live peacefully; 

' a man should lead a turbulent life; 

- a man should be hardworking; 

- a man should be educated; 

- a man should be strong and brave; 

- a man should be a hero. 


Women in the first half of the 20 century 
were supposed to take care only for their 
husbands and children. But there were 
also women who tried to change these 
expectations. It wasn 7 easy for a woman to 
be politically active in the beginning of 
the 20 century as far as politics was con- 
sidered a man business. One of these 
women was Halide Edip Adivar from 


4. Biography of Halide Edip Adivar 
(born in 1884) , Turkey 

The renowned novelist who was one of the 
heroines of the national independence move- 
ment, wrote stories which could penetrate to 
the depths of the human soul and which could 
excite the reader. Her most famous works are 

"Sinekli Bakkal", '^Vurun Kahpeye", "Kalp 
Agrisi" and ''Zeyno'nun Oglu". She was a 
prominent intellectual leader during the v^ar 
for it! dependence, alongside the Kemalist re- 
sistance. During the Republican era however, she 
was critical of the Kemalist policies and had to 
leave the countiy and live in exile until she died. 

Answer tlie questions: 

1. What do you know about the Kemalist 
revolution in Turkey? 

2. What do you know about ihe situation of 
women before the Kemalists revolution? 

3. How did it change the situatioii of women? 

4. When were the women in Turkey granted 
the right to vote? Find it m the text of the introdtic- 

5. What do you think about the emigration 
of social activists due to political reasons? 


4, A Picture, Constants Lyapcheva and Georgi Dragoev, 1934 (Bulgaria) 

Can you describe what is presented on 
the photo? 

Mark the true statements. Back up 
your choice: 

- the pholo presents a family at home; 

- this IS a photo of a study /a special room 
for intellectual activities in one's home/; 

- this is a photo of a room in a private house; 

- the woman who is sitting on the chair is 
subordinate to the man 

- the man is subordinate to the woman; 

- the woman and the man are colleagues dis- 
cussing their work, 

2. Try to make short biographies of the people 
from the picture based on the scheme: 

-family origin; 

- career. 

3. Find in the inlroduction (Women and so- 
cial care) the name of Constantia Liapclieva. 

5. From the article of Dimitrana 
Ivanova, the "Zhenski Glas" magazine, 

"And if the woman - married or single 
can go to the factories and workshops, of- 
fices and state institutions, why can't she 
become a judge, a lawyer, a member of par- 
liament, a journalist, a technician, a priest, 
a doctor, a professor, an executive and "what 
else not",..What right do you have, if she is 
forced to work, lo make her do the dirty work 
only, to ban her from doing any intellectua] 


L What attitude toward women's work is 
Dimitrana Ivanova pleading for? 

2, Wliich professions were usual for women in 
themiddte of the 1920s? 



Women's demonstration for women's rights, 19tOs, Hungary 

3. Which professions women were not allowed 
access to? 

4, Write an essay *'My future profession". 

6. A Bulgarian journal **The Woman 
Today", 1950s 

[...] She is like that, the leader of the garden 
brigade... Yordanka Bitunska. She saves nei- 
ther labor nor time. Holidays are workdays for 
her There were occasions when she even left 
her guests at home on her Name day feast., . 

The agronomist of the cooperative farm 
Ganka Tsoneva smiled: 'Well, you are Hke fire ! 
You don't sleep a wink! Do you know what? 
rU give you my pocket torch. Check the calo- 
rimeters in the greenhouse, and if the tempera- 
ture is +15^ C, put the frames and the straw- 
mat over!" 

[-.,] This morning, as usual, Petrana left for 
the farm in the dark. In the morning, she can't 
lie in bed. When the rooster sings she gets up. 
Cleans the house, makes breakfast for the ki ds. 

puts the pot with the lunch to cook and the gate 
squeaks silently behind her. . . Petrana is always 
inahurry [...] 

Answer the questions: 

L What were the profession of the w^omen 
discussed in the texts ? 

2. Which of them were leaders? 

3- How did they cope with their duties at the 
work place? 

4. Did they keep to their traditional family 

5. Were they responsible to their famiHes? 

6. What was the communist ideal of "being a 
real woman'' ? 

7. What positive changes did socialism bring 
to women ? 

8. What of the old problems socialism was not 
able to solve? 







Free Love, Communal Family 

The Marxist view of Jove, marriage and sex played a 
significant role in the history of the Balkan countries af- 
ter World War II Just like Freudism, Marxism also ne- 
glects entirely the importance of the genetic-biological 
factors to sex differences and drives and exaggerates the 
meaning of the political conditions. According to Marx- 
ism, the inequality of sexes in the bourgeois society is a 
result solely of class oppression. The communist ideol- 
ogy promises to workers and peasants that after taking 
forcefully over the political power they wilt be able to 
free society from the century-old institutions of op- 
pression - national state, private property, Christian 
monogamous marriage. Since economical dependence 
and social stratification will fall off (all being equal and 

Midnight meeting, 1958, Bulgarian movie 

"A film about the young who discovered the meaning of their 

work in the straggle for the good of the people... " 

Man and women were antifascists, party activist, best workers but never just lovers in the official communist art 


rich), only love will be decisive for the mari- 
tal choice. Free communist love meant simi- 
larity of characters and political accord. The 
family will not be a compulsory form of co- 
habitation of the people in love, and children 
will be brought up communally and edu- 
cated by the state so the parents may have 
more time for their profession and for their 
social commitments. 

Liberalizing the Legislation 

The 1940s - 1950s were marked by the 
struggle of the new communist states against 
the bourgeois monogamous family, which lead 
to liberalization of the legislation in regard to 
divorces and 
abortions; the 
right of patri- 
mony for 
children bom 
out of wed- 
lock was ac- 
(even if the 
fathers had 
married or 
after a di- 
vorce the 
children were 
not necessar- 
ily given to 
the innocent 

Hungary was placed among the 5 countries 
with the highest divorce rate in the world. To 
compare, the divorces in bourgeois Turkey in 
1983 were 3,6% and in 1991 - 4,7%, 

The legislature created conditions for 
greater freedom in choosing and changing 
one's spouse, as well as in choosing suitable 
time and form of maternity. On the other hand, 
family became more unstable and easy to be 
controlled: party functionaries started to inter- 
fere in most intimate affairs of communist 
state subjects. 

Communist Welfare State 

Communist educators rejected the idea of 

that only 
the family 
may en- 

• * « *• 

*■ f 4 *. 


Family celebration "First of Mav", Child textbook, 1970s 

part. The only thing forbidden was marriage with 
a Western foreigner (in Bulgaria up to 1970s). 
Divorces became ridiculously easy - though not 
as easy as in the USSR, with postcards, but af- 
ter a court trial - due to character differences, 
continuing disagreements, by mutual agree- 
ment, etc. Their number rose: 



Bulgaria- 10% 
Bulgaria- 15 % 
Bulgaria-21 % 

Hungary-23 % 
Hungary-28 % 


f^ . proper up- 

.^Jml bringing 

of chil- 
dren and a 
for the en- 
tire insti- 
ization of 
the care 
for chil" 
dren was 
sought: free hospital care, kindergartens, so- 
cial kitchens, holiday camps, special after- 
school interest activities were provided. 
Through the overall communal upbringing and 
communist education of children the state tried 
to overcome "the egoism of family upbringing", 
'*the religious delusions" and the other ''harm- 
ful prejudices" of their parents. 54% of the chil- 
dren between 3-6 years of age in Bulgaria in 
1960 were in kindergarten, and in 1975 the 
number increased up to 75%, 


The .state protection and education of chil- 
dren took from Ihe parent ji many ^f their fam- 
ily responsibihtiei. Job and lodging, Though in- 
adequate in most of the cases, were provided 
for every citizen , The marital age fell again: 

New traktorist is greeted, 1952, Hungary 



Average marital 

age for girls 



15 years; 



20 years 

(for 55% of girls) 



21,7 years 

The number of children bom out of wed- 
lock rose as did the number of children left 
for upbringing in state children's homes. 

The free communal upbringing of children 
facihtated women's involvement in the accel- 
erated industrialization of the South Eastern 
countries (by the 1970s the urban population 
became between 70-90%). Women had new 
perspectives for professional and social real- 

ization. In 1965 92% of the women in Bul- 
garia had work positions in the state owned 
companies. The communist propaganda encour- 
aged women's involvement in typically male 
professions — tractor drivers, crane operators, 
construction workers - professions, contra- 
dicting the bourgeois ideas of womanhood and 
maternal responsibility. Even today foreigners 
are impressed by the large number of women 
working as bus drivers, ticket guards, construc- 
tion workers. 

In spite of the emancipation propaganda 
everyday life of women was hard. Because of 
the poor social services and the constant defi- 
cit of essential commodities, after the end the 
workday wives had to stay at endless queues 
for buying bread and other goods, then they 
were expected to cook and do the housework - 
no time was left even to talk to their children. 

The price of the communist welfare was the 
establishment of a total political supervision 
not only over the religious and professional 
life of the citizens, but also over their private 
life. The family problems of workers and 
employees were discussed at polidcal meet- 
ings. The practice of discussing the love af- 
fairs of a husband on the request of his wife at 
party committee meetings which could result 
in forbidding divorce and even recommend- 
ing another child to strengthen the family ties 
was common. In order to get pemiission for 
abortion, women were humiliated being ques- 
tioned about their most intimate problems by 
special state committees including party ac- 
tivists, colleagues and doctors. 

Propaganda and Abortion, 

The party-state took over many of the pro- 
viding and educational functions of the fam- 
ily, but the expectations for an increase in birth 
rates were not justified. Ever since the 1950s 
it has been falling down. In 1960 the popula- 
tion growth in Bulgaria had been 17,8 per one 
thousand, in 1980- 14,5 per thousand, in 1990 


- 12,L In Slovenia during the 60s and 70s the 
families had an average of 2, 1 children, in Bul- 
garia during 1975-2,9. Both abortions and the 
number of children bom out of wedlock rose. 
Abortions in all communist states were le- 

Girl at the Abortion Committee: 
"To simplify things I got myself a season ticket!" 

Ludas Matyi 


galjzed and became accessible to eveiybody. 
For 30 lei, the price of a bottle of wine, every 
woman in Romania could stop her pregnancy 
(from 1957 to 1966), Abortions in Hungary 
were legalized - first in 1945 because of the 
numerous cases of rapes by the Soviet soldiers, 
and in 1952 abortions were permitted after an 
examination by public committees: 



36 000 abortions to 196 206 births 
42 029 abortions to 223 000 births 
183 00 abortions to 156 500 births 

In 1 96 1 abortions were with 20% more than 
births. In Yugoslavia abortions were legalized 
later in the 1970s. 

What was the reason for the sharp increase 
of abortions and number of children aban- 
doned by their parents? Except for the weak- 
ened sense of personal responsibility and fam- 
ily values because of the communal- atheistic 
upbringing, another significant reason was the 
hypocrisy of the official propaganda. Marx- 
ism - Leninism was not interested in the bio- 
logical body and its sexual drives, sexuality 

was viewed as a remnant from the ' Yotten capi- 
talistic past" and became a taboo theme. The 
party functionaries equated sex appeal with 
Communist appeal: the dedicated to Mother 
party not drinking, not smoking puritanical 
male who radiated strength and optimism. The 
female workers whose true love were party 
functionaries and who despised tenderness as 
a decadent capitalist past. The praise of the 
sexless workers of communism held the young 
generation in total ignorance in regard to 
sexual relations. 

Birth control pills, condoms, etc. were not 
advertised, they were hard to get and with poor 
quality (the rough condoms were called "ga- 
losh"). No sexual education was provided. On 
the other side the communal living at brigades, 
camps and dormitories away from the parents' 
supervision gave youngsters opportunities for 
uncontrolled sexual activity. During the 1960s 
more than 20% of the girls in Albania who 
had taken part in a work brigade got pregnant. 
The number of children born out of wedlock 
increased, not because of the mothers' desire 
to bring up their children aione, but because 
of their low sexual culture and irresponsible 
sexual behavior. In Bulgaria children bom out 
of wedlock in 1960 were 8%, and in 1990 - 
12,4%, In 1970 only 6,2% of such mothers 
wanted to have a child, 72,2% gave their chil- 
dren for upbringing in state homes. 

Sexua! Revolution 

Despite of the propaganda, the communist 
state did not manage to win the young people 

for long - the 60s were years of youth anti 
Soviet riots and revolts (Hungary and the 
Czech Republic). Startled b>' the youth discon- 
tent, the Hungarian communist party changed 
its politics toward sexuality: free love was 
encouraged instead of free life. In the West 
the 1960s were also troublesome - it was the 
time of sexual liberation and human rights 
struggles. Rock music, jeans, pornography 


started to get through the 'Mron curtain". The 
communist elite used the Western liberation 
movement for their own purposes. The atti- 
tude to revolt against all authority, especially 


"Please, God, make the sun shine toTnonoTV, 
so we can wear our new bikinis!" 

Porcupine, Jugoslavia, 1960s 

the authority of schools, youth organizations 
(the Komsomol, Pioner) and the party made 
young people accept some myths about them- 
selves and the world, which allowed them to 
escape from the dull and hypocritical commu- 
nist reality into the world of despair, anarchy, 
and irresponsibility. The eroticism in art, the 
distribution of pornography and the promis- 
cuity of young people was tacitly encouraged. 
Since the 70s the youth decadence, the de- 
mographic decrease and the rising problems 
with certain ethnic minority groups, which 
kept their high birth rate preserving patriar- 
chal patterns, started to frighten communist 
leaders. In order to encourage marriage and 
motherhood, they passed laws providing finan- 
cial support of studying and working mothers, 
loans with zero interest were given to newly 
married couples, etc. In 1968 in Bulgaria the 
maternity leave was increased - from 84 to 
120 days for the first child, 150 days for the 

second, and 180 for the third child. Mothers 
received the right to an unpaid leave for up to 
6 months, which was acknowledged as service. 

In Romania the catastrophic demographic 
decrease from 25,6 per thousand in 1955 to 
14,6 in 1965 led to restriction of abortions - 
with the only exception of cases of incest, 
rapes, pregnancy over 45 years of age, etc, 
and the wrongdoers were sentenced to 10 years 
in prison. Meanwhile, the use of all contra- 
ceptives was banned, as a result of which the 
state orphanages were filled with unwanted 
children. After decades of forced social ex- 
periments, the ideas of ''sacramental monoga- 
mous family" and nationalism started to re- 
turn. However, compared to West European 
development, they were anachronism. 

At the beginning of the century the roles of 
men and women in South East Europe started 
to be defined in a much broader way - not only 
in the terms of the reproducdon of the kin and 
the nation. Today gender is differentiated from 
the biological sex and sexual orientation: from 
an inborn identity (with two meanings - man 
or woman) sex started to be viewed as a so- 
cial choice on the continuum between the man 
and the woman allowing individual erotic 
choice. Today's consumer society offers a 
variety of possibilities for satisfying one's 
individual erotic desires, gender roles, and 
forms of family cohabitation, which does not 
necessarily mean that the opportunities for 
equality and mutual understanding between 
men and women have also increased. 



1, A Partisan Guerrilla's Letter to his 
Mother (Yugoslavia) 

''Greetings, my old woman, and death to fas- 
cism! Your partisan, your son and your child, 
Martin Klen, is writing to you and greeting 
you. . . 

It's better my darling mama to tell you 
something good, isn't it? When I'm feeling 
joyful, I'm singing, God damn it, and the whole 
mountain echoes. And most often I sing the 
Zagoriye village song **A spring is gushing up, 
oh, you black-eyed girl". This song is always 
in my heart, although our Milica (a fellow- 
partisan) has her own opinion, which is not 
very relevant to my joyfulness and happiness. 
She says that it is nothing, that there is no use, 
and so on, and that true songs are the ones 
that sing about our struggle and freedom. 
Milica has her right, but I think Tm right too. 
She is Serbian, from Velyun, she has already 

been in our army for 3 years, carrying a gun 
and a solder's overcoat, and how black her 
eyes are - even the soot in our fire is not that 
black. So, my darting mama, Fm telling you 
all this to know that I have firmly decided to 
get married soon. When the war is over and 
our victory comes I'll get married, but Fm not 
taking lagica from Brezic, but another one, a 
completely different one.. /' 

Ivan Donchevic, Yugoslavian writer, *'A letter to a 
mother in Zagoriye^\ Short stories, 1977 

Answer the questions: 

• Why was the partisan writing lo his mother, 
not iiis father? 

• What was his language like? 

• What quahties of the beloved one was he 

■ Compare them to the patriarchal and bour- 
geois ideals of womanhood. 

• What old ideas did influence the partisan's 
new attitude to love and marriage? 

Meeting Sovfet army Monument, Bulgaria 


2. Female poetry (Yugoslavia) 


I met you when the snow was melting, 
Melting and warm wind was blowing, 
With its closeness the spring exhilarated me, 
I was breathing the light air thirstily, 
I was looking tenderly at your footsteps in 
the white snow. 

And I understood, you'd be darling to me. 
Darling all my life. 

Desanka Maksimovic. a famous Yugoslavian poet, 

published in !he 1920s. 

The speaking of iron 

Here 1 am in an iron ringing garden 
The metal is blazing like blooming poppy 
Burning seed is crackling in the chimney 
Iron nightingales are whispering in thin 

Flinches are ringing in the big smoky hall 
Just forged cobras, boas and motley vipers 
Are hissing on the floor. 

DesankaMaksimovic, published intbe 1960s 

Answer tiie questions: 

• What has Desanka Maksimovic preserved and 
what has she changed in her poetic language from 
1920s to 1960s 

• Which poem do you like more and why? 

3- Legislature (Bulgaria) 

'The woman may reach social freedom and 
equality only in a world that has rejected op- 
pression of the minority over the majority and 
has granted all people the goods they have pro- 
duced,,. The judicial equality of both sexes is 
already a fact. Men and women have equal rights 
and responsibilities as citizens of our state (art, 
36 of the Constitution of the People's Repub- 
lic of Bulgaria). . . About the positions women 
have reached, one may definitely judge by their 

Female policewoman with her dog in 1947, Hungary 

participation in spheres such as health care (ev- 
ery second doctor is a woman), the technical 
professions (every third engineer is a woman), 
science (every third science worker is a 
woman) . . . The commitments a woman has in 
the family take her twice the time it would take 
a man. . , Observations show that the bigger load 
the woman has is connected not only to the 
upbringing of children, but also to the personal 
way of living w^ith her husband. This combina- 
tion oi everyday cares for the well-being of the 
family as a whole, the necessity to create and 
sustain appropriate conditions at home espe- 
cially to the husband, make it necessary to in- 
sist on one more role of the woman - the func- 
tion of a wife. This function is put together with 
the already discussed functions of a mother, a 
worker and a social person," 

Milanka Vidova, Legislative protection 
of motherhood, Sofia, [980. 


Answer the questions: 

• What was promised to women by the com- 
munisl state? 

• What did the state expect from women? 

• Is it possible for every woman to be at one 
and the same time a caring mother and wife, a 
devoted social person and an experienced 
worker? What conditions should be provided? 
What would be the price? 

• Most of the Bulgarian communist leaders 
come from poor rural families and have got only 
elementary education. Could you connect this 
fact to the official expectations about women's 
duties and rights? 

4* An article on the condition of 
women in South East Europe (Bulgaria, 

the 1970s) 

May be that is why I was really surprised 
to find out that in some western industrial so- 
cieties, as in England, for example, the woman 
is viewed officially as a human being of sec- 
ond quality. Women's work is considered of 
low value, women's salaries are lower than 
those of men, no key position is granted to a 
woman, and it seems that the kingdom of sec- 
retaries and housewives is blossoming. 

Looking formally, it is not like that in the 
East, Actually, we have nearly the same atti- 
tude. Everyone who has passed along the co- 
operative blocks has seen that only women 
work there, men are privileged administrators. 
Women are working at hard and unhealthy 
places - to start with the mines and end with 
the concrete mixers... But what is more of- 
fending and cruel is the attitude of men, I still 
know a lot of people who say ''a female'* 
(zhenska) instead of 'a woman''. And add to that 
the vulgar attitude of the male supervisors who 
consider it their right to take their subordinate 
women and girls to bed.. ." The woman is the 

best and the cheapest pleasure", once said to 
me in a state of drunken honesty one of these 

Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident writer. *The 
image of the womaii", ''Correspondence reports from 

Bulgaria", 1991. 


Interview your parents and relatives: 

• What were their professional, social and 
family duties in the communist state? 

• What examples of advantages and respect 
for women do they remember? 

• What examples of discrimination and hu- 
miliation of women do they remember? 

• Were they advantages or disadvantaged by 
the post-communist change? 

Write an essay 

'The advantages and/or disadvantages of the 
communist establishment for both women and 

Fill in the mind map: 

Women rights 


in practice 

Women duties 

in theory 

in practice 

Hea(th-educationa[ action for warding off infectious 
diseases (1945) Cutting children's nails, Macedonia 


Our world and !Tie capitalist one. *'Woman today" magazine, 1955, Bulgaria 

5, Interview with a prostitute 

(Budapest, Hungary, 1966) 

"We have lost faith in everything: in old- 
fashioned religion, in the capitalist order, in 
socialism, in communism. Everything turned 
out to be lies, God did not help us when 1 was 
thirteen and a Russian soldier raped me in the 
cellar- and then took the ring my parents gave 
me for my first communion. The so cold "free 
world" did not lift a finger to help us in 1956 
when a little unity, a little firmness, would have 
freed us- And Communism's lies are shown up 
everyday. What is left? Whatever 1 can taste and 
touch, eat and drink; the pleasure my body can 
give and the pleasure a man can give me. And 
that is quite enough" 

In. **Sexuai behavior in the cominunist world", 

R Stafford, 1967 

Answer the questions: 

1 , Wliatdid the girl mean by "communist lies"? 

2, What were the reactions of the Western gov- 
eniments and people to tlie political revolts in com- 
munist countries? 

3. Could you explain the connection between 
the political violence (war, revolution) and sexual 
violence (rape)? Look for some examples in lit- 
erature and movies. 

4. Why does the lack of social perspectives 
and common values lead to sexual promiscuity? 

6. An anttiropological observation and 
a partisan story (Yugoslavia, the 1940s) 

"In Yugoslavia the partisan guerilla is still a 
king and hero. Almost every film, book, every 
other statue or painting glorifies him - the fighter 
for freedom and independence, the guenilla 


wai'rior who overcome teirific odds and in the 
end drives out the invader. Much of the guerilla 
mythology is overdone and exaggerated.., 

'" During those six months we (communist 
partizans) raided this town twelve times , . ,One 
of my Guerillas took special pleasure in mak- 
ing the chetnik (collaborator to German army) 
captain j ump out of his bed in his nightshirt or 
even without it and run for his life, while he 
took his place in the conjugal bed and gave a 
wife a pleasurable time". 

A story of a Serb partisan commander In: Sexual 

behavior..., 1967. 

Answer the questions: 

1 . What did the commander mean by *'gave a 

wife pleasurable time"? Whose "please" was he 
talking about? 

2. What is the connection between the cult 
to the heroic armed man and the practice of us- 
ing sexual violence against women as political 

3* The violence against women takes differ- 
ent forms in different times and situations. Could 
you count some of the more open or closed 
forms of violence in the past and today? 

7. Popular joke (Hungary^ 1970s) 


This joke is connected with the atmosphere of 
sexual promiscuity, established in Eastern Europe 
after the anticommunist youth insurrection in 60s, 
''Give them (youngsters) plenty of prostitutes and 
they will forget about politics; ' This was the per- 
sonal advice of Matiash Rakoci, Hungarian com- 
munist leader, to editors and publishet^s. 

Underline the correct answers: 

• The joke is ridiculing: 

- The sexual freedom of young people; 

- The inesponsible behavior of young people; 

- The excessive cares of mothers; 

- The common sense of mothers; 

- The lack of sexual education in communist 

• Whose responsibility should it be if a girl 
gets pregnant? 

- the girl's 

- the girl's and her boy friend's 

- the girTs/boy's parents' 

- the society's 


Ask you parents and relatives of other jokes 
from the communist times connected to love and 
family life. 

An old lady visiting a doctor, asked for birth 
control pills, got prescription, two weeks later: 

''What do you want?" - asks the doctor. 

"Another prescription - the same pills." 

"But ma'am, why do you need so many at 
your age?" 

'They make me sleep so well" 

"For goodness sake ... these are not sleep- 
ing pills!" 

"Sure they are. Every evening 1 give one to 
my daughter, who is eighteen. And then I sleep 
the soundest sleep/' 

8. Autobiographical interviev^^ of a 
woman born In the 1950s 


My father died when I wds 19 years old. I 
would not say I miss him and that it is a bad 
memory forme, because he had not lived with 
us anyway, and was a rather repulsive person. 
An alcoholic and a rake, he left my mother 
when I was born. He got together with some 
woman from a village near PLovdiv (big Bul« 
garian town). . ,He came to see me from time 
to time, but nearly every time he drank heavily 


Orphanage, Rtimanfa 

(Counsef of Wor/d Churches, Geneva, archives} 

and started to torment my mother. He abused 
her and sometimes beat hen Then, I think it was 
in 1967, 1 was 13 years old, when I took a seri- 
ous decision for the first time in my life and 1 
chose him away. I told him that I don't want to 
see him anymore, and that TU kill him if he steps 
into this house again. 1 finished 8 grade in 1979, 
to tell you the tmth, I didn't want to study very 
much... (in 1982 she gets married and lives in 

.. .. T called my husband in the bedroom to 
show him the letter, and he hit me because he 
said he knew what it was all about. After that 
he hit me again and 1 fell on the bed. He called 
me a whore, stupid, he told me thai he has never 
loved me and wonders why he has married me at 
all. He hit me, it hurt a lot. While he was swear- 
ing and beating me, his friend came to see what 
was going on. At the same time Ivan took off my 
clothes and raped me. . . I will lie if I say I haven't 
slept with shabby men. ..After that gradually I 
entered into narrower circles where the cream 

of the scum was, being they politicians, mem- 
bers of parliament, artists and cheats, all the 
ones about whom nothing is known, everything 
is deeply covered." 

Oralintei'view, 1991 

Mark the true statements. Back 
up your choice. 

What were the reasons for this girl to be- 
come a prostitute? 

- Violence in the family -alcoholic father and 
abandoned mother 

-The girl herself -her unwillingness to study 
and work 

- The husband of the girl and other men profil- 
ing from organized prostitution 

'Tlie crisis of the family in tlie communist state 

- Hopeless future 

- Psychological problems of the girl 

- Self-haired and the feeling of being defiled 
-Wrong ideals 

- Lack of social education 


9. Essajj Slavenka Drakulic^ 

To avoid uniformity, you have 
to work very hard: you have to 
bribe a salesgirl, wait in line for 
some imported product, buy blue 
jeans on the black market and pay 
your whole month's salary for 
them; you have lo hoard cloth and 
sew it, imitating the pictures in 
glamorous foreign magazines, 
What makes these enormous ef- 
forts touching is the way women 
wear it all, so you can tell they 
went to the trouble. Nothing is ca- 
sual about them. They are over- 
dressed, they put on too much 
makeup, they match colors and tex- 
tures badly, revealing their provin- 
cial attempt to imitate Western fashion. But 
where could they learn anything about a self- 
image, a style? In the party-controlled maga- 
zines for women, where they are instructed to 
be good workers and party members first, then 
mothers, housewives, and sex objects next, — 
never themselves? To be yourself, to cultivate 
individualism, to perceive yourself as an indi- 
vidual in a mass society is dangerous. , . 

For us, the pictures in a magazine like 
*'Vogue" were much more important we stud- 
ied their every detail with the interest of those 
who had no other source of information about 
the outside world. We tried to decode them, to 
read their messasze. And because we were in- 
experienced, enough to read them literally, the 
message that we absorbed was that the other 
world was a paradise. Our reading was wrong 
and naive, nevertheless, it stayed in the back 
of our minds as a powerful force, an inner 
motivation, a dormant desire fur change, 
an opportunity to awaken. The producers 
of these advertisements, Vance Packard's 

Slavenka Orakulic 

'hidden persuaders/ should sleep peace- 
fully because here, in communist countries, 
theirdream is coming true: people still believe 
them, women especially. What do we care 
about the manipulation inherent in the fash- 
ion and cosmetic industries? To tell us they 
are making a profit by exploiting our needs is 
like warning a Bangladeshi about cholesterol. 

S. Drakuiic, famous feminist journalist 
How we survived communism art! even laughed. 1991 

Answer the questions: 

1. Why make up and fashion were so impor- 
tant for women in communist stales? 

2. Did women succeed in their strive for style 
and individuality? 

3. Was make up and fashion in communist 
state a question of personal choice or politics? 

4. What are fashion magazines all about? 
Selling goods to women; Developing sense 

of style and beauty; Informing abou! cloth in- 
dustry ; Offeriiig women an escape from reality, 
Affimiiiig the stereotypes of women as beautiful 
and sensual "objects". 



19* and 20' Century 

Additional Teaching Materials for Secondary Schools 

English language translator: Elena Ruseva, Eli Bojadzhieva 
Enghsb language editor: Ivanichka Nestorova 

Design and lay out: 
Niirie Miiratova 

Printed by: 

Art Print Blagoevgrad, 
teL: 00359 73 8 08 37, 
e-mail; krompet@avala,bg 

ISBN 954-680-197-6 

Approaching the history of gender relations in South East Europe, we would rather 
try to outline the common problems of people of Eastern countries than to present 
different national traditions. We put greater emphasis on the things that connect men 
and women love, profession, and human dignity - than on the ones opposing them. 
Ideals of being "true" mate and being "true" female vary in different social groups 
and change in the course of time. We behave "like a man" or "like a woman" not so 
much because of our biological specifics but because of certain social expectations 
and established traditions.