Feminism


Feminism
   The beginnings of feminism in Scandinavian literature can be found in the works of such writers as Mathilde Fibiger, Camilla Collett, and Fredrika Bremer, who promoted women's right to select marriage partners and to have economic independence, including the legal right to control property and the right to paid employment. These issues became paramount in the literature of the Modern Breakthrough in the 1870s and the 1880s, when Henrik Ibsen's play Et dukkehjem (1879; tr. A Doll's House, 1880) was received as a clarion call to women's liberation. Many writers of the period, for example, Amalie Skram and Victoria Benedictsson, portrayed the situation of women as both oppressive and injurious. More attention was paid to the situation of women in the family and the world of work than in political life, for example, in the novels of Elin Wagner and the plays of Minna Canth. The franchise was extended to women in Finland in 1906, in Norway in 1913, in Denmark and Iceland in 1918, and in Sweden in 1921, but the struggle for women's right to vote is not a major theme in Scandinavian literature.
   The second wave of feminism started around 1960 and deeply affected many Scandinavian writers. The rights of a female minority such as lesbians is a major theme in the work of Gerd Brantenberg. Radical feminism, and especially its emphasis on the role of patriarchy in the oppression of women, has influenced such writers as Svava Jakobsdottir, Cecilie Løveid, Kristina Lugn,and Bjørg Vik. Third-wave feminism can be observed in the work of such younger writers as Hanne Ørstavik, who in her novel Presten (2004; The Minister) links the social situation of Sami women to the colonial oppression of their forebears by the Norwegian government.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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