10 / 10 / - 24 / 11 / 2000
Exhibition / Presentation
Nomeda und Gediminas Urbonas (LT)
Discussion on Films
Film list + Synopsis
TRANSACTION session at the Women Studies Center, Vilnius University.
Participants are watching TV and reflecting on the comments of the psychiatrists
VD - Dr.Viktorija Daujotyte, philologist
AMP - Dr.Ausrine Marija Pavilioniene, philologist
SD - Dr.Solveiga Daugirdaite, literary criticist
DM - Dr.Dalia Marcinkeviciene, historian
RP - Dr.Rima Praspaliauskiene, historian
A.M.P: Shall we try to achieve that men and women after all reach an agreement, a common language, joint work in the society or shall we leave, as one of the commentators said, the work to men, and preserve the stability to women. I'm really not willing to agree with it. And I think that the commentators think in a very stereotypical way. You just have to look at this row, the way they sit, three men and one woman, why not 2 to 2? This space is created artificially.
V.D.: What interesting is there in that model? 3 men - 1 woman. Based on my partial observations, this model meets the proportions of 20th century. When in some meeting, direction, genre, three men stand out, an acceptable woman appears. Three and one. This is an optimum ratio, which so far our culture has revealed in some way. Then, furthermore, e.g. it is possible to pick up, let's say from literature, a famous, generation of modernists-neoromantics - Aistis, Brazdionis, Mikinis, Salomeja Neris. Let's get back to our time - let's say, the rebirth of the Soviet period from the roots - again there is the same relationship - Baltakis, Marcinkevicius, Maldonis, Degutyte Janina. One generation was born in approximately 1930.... 04:22.
V.D.: And I could go on listing the names, even up till the present. So as we look, we can presume, that it's not that bad, one third - it's not that catastrophic, we should hope a 2:2 ratio. AMP: In anyway it is notable, that those movies were produced when no one spoke about feminism in Lithuania yet. If we evaluated, probably the movies of these days, there would be totally different matters, because a traditional stereotypical way of thinking simply streaming from those men-psychologists. And for some reasons you give them the will, permit to comment, why don't you allow women psychiatrists to comment. They could have been acquainted with theory of feminism, because the knowledge enables that man to evaluate everything in anoter way, by applying feminine theory, etc., changing attitudes.
D.M.: But I think, that the very fact, that the psychiatrist is woman, doesn't mean that she will comment from non-traditional positions. I think that both of those levels of psychiatrists and movies are at the same level. 05.44 Women, it seems to me, said the same. Whether or not it's a man or a woman - it doesn't matter.
S.D. But it is very good, because it reflects the existing elite of our psychiatrists. But in fact you can see in the open text, that this is the most stencil-like way of thinking, love toward froidism, what the world was sick with 100 years ago is being told with a serious facial expression. In general we approached a period, when you see a group of people and they tell you that they are experts. First of all you think: 'Wait wait wait, what kind of experts are they? Why are they experts? Are they experts for real? And what does it all mean?' You start thinking how it all is, because an expert is simply a specialist and nothing more. Now there are many sorts of different experts, the fact which makes one laugh. 06:46.
V.D.: Artificial space and non-artificial space. That cultural world is all artificial. But here there are as if the second layers of artificiality, those movies have a readily-made ideology, which is a special construct, of course, very manly construct. All these totalitarist ideologies are extrememly manly, made according to all principles, if we could look. They are hazardous, frightening, ideologies of force - Fascism. It forces people, it can be in a way even attractive for a woman, if we look at Fascism, just like that revolutionary or whatnot, when women start wearing leather jackets, leather coats, pants, shoes. Maybe one must think that it's not only an artificial world like man's world, but it also has that layer of ideology. Of course, then we can ask whether the human kind knows a single ideology, which could have illusions to reorganize the world, the ideology, which could be called a woman's ideology. That is the only ideology which could be discussed by Solveiga and which was created or reconstructed by Marija Gimbutiene, of course, this is the ideology, which already exists in far realms of the past and which seems never to return. That mother-deity keeping up that world and not exactly that status quo, but the one which creates that world. Creativity is the only action, which coordinates a certain stability and change.
A.M.P. But anyway creativity is also characteristic of masculine sex, I wouldn't like to assign that spiritual potence to only one sex.
D.M. Now that we've mentioned M.Gimbutiene, it would be worth seeing how another ideology evolved - the beginning of one more ideology and was presented publically for the consideration of the entire world.
A.M.P. However, the historians deny it. That was a beautiful myth.
D.M. Yes, they deny it, but how? I appears, there was a patriarchal fight, which was won by it. For 10 years the whole world admired that ideology. But now it is extremely criticized and practically refuted.
S.D. No one denies, that it is a myth, but the myth not in the sense that it is untrue, but myth, which, as it is notoriously said, has been a basis for all radical feminism. In fact that myth was living to the extent that it managed to trigger the beggist movement of women, which partially were inspired by it. That myth does not necessarily fall into categories of truth and untruth.
A.M.P. I do not want to agree with it. Perhaps this was the basis for mother, the basis for mother who gives birth and creates. This is only one of the aspects of the theory of feminism. Women feminists also emphasize that practical activity and I would especially like to return to these days and look at those proportionts, which were nicely discussed by Viktorija. Let's take a look at the election posters: Mrs. Prunskiene and men, she is the only.
V.D. But in some posters she isn't there, there are only three men. So this still reduces the proportion.
A.M.P. No program mentions equality of sexes, except that of Paulauskas, because it is joined by psychologist Vasiliauskiene. She is trying to foist this perception, saying that women are also able to create and manage this world. It means that our country is getting ready for elections and no program says, that this society should be created by both sexes. Thus we should be able to live up to it and not to be lulled by ideas of Gimbutiene. Instead, we should propagate action, speech, commentary.
V.D. Once again I would like to get back to the ideas of Gimbutiene. I agree that it is a myth, but myth is not what is untruth. In general, it's impossible to fight against myth. A.M. And there is no need to.
V.D. Myth can be and can remain alive, myth possesses life and myth has dislocated something essential in the structure of the world. I think that whatever was done by Gimbutiene cannot be proved, but it can't be denied. It can't be denied. And these ideas will always come back, because they create strong balance. That is an ideology. If it didn't exist, it could exist. it could be so.
S.D. The fact that it didn't exist makes things worse.
R.P. No one refuted Gimbutiene's words. She is criticized, because she supposedly used her research for political reasons, but no one gave an alternative idea for those 20.000 or 500.000 years. And it is quite strange, that so far in our society M.Gimbutiene has not been appreciated by women themselves. In fact, she didn't consider herself a feminist and in all interviews, when asked about her relationship with feminist movement, she would simply answer: 'I'm not a feminist', though in fact she actually was. And it seems very strange to me that our women don't use her as a weapon in the society.
V.D. It is quite good that we don't do it in the society.
V.D. Because she is considered to be an authority. We can't use her, just can't. It is such an important phenomenon which cannot be used in any sense.
R.P. Perhaps I've put wrongly: not 'used', but 'follow'.
V.D. Follow the authority? The title of the authority should be obtained somewhere, which could be done in the form of dialogue. It is important to have a very strong creative energy, in order to be able to speak with Gimbutiene, not only to refer to her.
D.M. Perhaps Rima wanted to say, that opposed to the rest of the world, Gimbutiene has not envoked feminist movement, maybe that's why we have Prunskiene in the posters or we don't have her at all. And perhaps that's why politicians don't speak about equal rights today. Because we had a perfect chance, the whole world had a chance and for us it wasn't a chance although she was one of us.
R.P. But we missed her.
A.M.P. Because our women and our people in general lack education. Even her books weren't released in our publishing houses. Isn't that so?
V.D. The book 'Old Europe' and her main works were published, but if we get back to the reality you are talking about, it is evident that to little has been done. Elections are coming, we have such a situation and no idea works in practice, no one even cares about the surface level. No part has done anything to make women appear in those posters, make them participate. As far as I remember, that trump card was used by social democrats in the last elections, but now it's all gone, we're going backwards.
R.P. But maybe it's good that it's gone. We can take a look from the outside and judge it. Maybe we don't need that show, women should start participating in it more actively by themselves. No, we're not there, we're ignored, so let's make a step.
A.M.P. That's correct. I wanted to say, that when I tried to step aside a little and observe whatever remains from the enthusiastic acitivity we started ten years ago, I concluded that if this group of women doesn't exist, the group that puts forward those ideas, you won't resurect them. They are quite lazy, they are not interested in anything. Then it means that we have to write, and constantly remind them what is the meaning of feminist ideology, that it's purpose isn't by any means the opposition of sexes, that there are many aspects, directions. We have to do a huge work.
D.M. I also think, that it's funny to speak here in the media and personal discussions today about our feminism, threat of feminism. It's funny. Here in Lithuania there can be the fiercest feminism in the world for some 10 years, but after all we will only make one step forward.
S.D. No, you know it's good to have a ghost. Everyone is afraid of something, afraid of aggressive feminists, asking 'Where have you seen such feminists?'
V.D. Well, Solveiga, for instance.
A.M.P. A human always has several social masks. One never completely exposes his true face to the society. That authentic life is intimate, spiritual life, which is lived secretely on one's own. And I don't believe, that all people supposedly expose themselves to the society. It's natural, that they wear those maks, they protect themselves in this way, so that they are not hurt, destroyed. It's normal. But I may agree with you, that this Soviet model, artificial space is coming back now. Here we can see, that former leaders from those days are coming back to politics. I'm sorry to get back to the political discussion, but it's because I'm interested in it. Let's take, for instance, Mr.Brazauskas. Being a former president he suddenly starts considering himself fit for the new age. His mentality is no longer suitable, he is also lagging behind scientific issues, he can no longer offer us anything. So men line up, all coming back - they will resurect Lithuania. I don't believe it.
V.D. But let's take a look from a different perspective. The possibility of returning is created by space. That space is suitable for returning. And there are no rivals.
A.M.P. That's absolutely true. And we get back to the issue of victim. There are no rivals.
V.D. Getting back to those times, that artificial space in culture was mostly created because of the compulsary models, imposed on the living life. That life was alive and we, females were alive and children were born, and everyone was alive, but we were put in a certain kind of cage. And the beginning of the movie, of the construction, changes, grand reorganization and first of all that artificial, ideological, threatening and compulsory, it makes the biggest impression of artificiality. The mask is worn all the time, and we have to create artificial issues by ourselves for our lives and our life, our survival, at least. These are a little different issues, the do not impose ideological force on us. That movie, which doesn't have such a mode will not gain strong position, it will be brushed aside. This also existed in literature, in history. Looking to the world, and advanced and unadvanced class through a certain world is the most frightening artificiality.
A.M.P. But, Mrs.Viktorija, it existed at all times, the entire history. For instance, I'm currently writing an article on Cooper, and studying a wonderful work The American Democrat", written in 1838. In that book he criticizes democracy, the democracy we are proud of and saying that 'the best democracy is the American democracy'. He proves that the rule of the majority is more horrible than the rule of a tyrant, because an individual of the mojority, if we may consider ourselves such individuals, personalities are made yield to the majority. They are not allowed to express themselves. And if an individual, an intelligent or a spiritual man tries to oppose the majority - he is destroyed.
V.D. Yes, we may agree, that this terror of the majority against an individual is horrible, but if we got back to that time and the present time, there is one model. One, protegated, protected, supported by repressive structures. At present, after all, we would see, including ourselves, influencing not that only model. After all, there are several models. And that is the biggest possibility a man can have - several artificial spaces, not one. Then, possibilities of women certainly increase in those several spaces, more than in one space, speaking theoretically. And then there is that concreteness of life.
A.M.P But women themselves have to penetrate to that artificial space. Men
V.D. With one's artificial spaces
A.M.P. Yes, because men really won't handle and offer them - take and manage us, rule. Men won't do it, I don't believe it. Well, maybe one or another.
S.D. Well, if there is a term of artificial space, then I would like to speak about the opposition of nature and culture. I wouldn't like to accept this term, because any cultural space can be artificial. Well, but there is enough of that artificiality in nature. Take a look at a park - it's an artificial thing. Alder srubs, grown up in their own way are natural. A park is artificial. Potato is an artificial construct.
S.D. Certainly, there is a problem, that traditionally a woman is more associated with nature, as psychiatrists said, with raising and taking care of children. But that's all an artificial construct
D.M. And it's quite strange. They say, if you realize something, something will change. But in fact, we keep observing here, we may contemplate, realize, talk about the artificial space, created by men, that space of men, but if there is no practical step, be it without any realization, nothing changes. Really.
V.D. Yes, and the artificial space, created by men, the artificial construct is 3-4 times more artificial for women, we also have to take take it into consideration. The envolvement into creation of artificial space by women, as human beings, is not enough, because our part in this artificiality is very small.
A.M.P. Perhaps we have to speak about that mass culture, about the activity of journalists, radio, television, those who forcefully offer us that artificial space, where women only perform a function of sexual satisfaction. There are also servants, house-wives. It is most unortunate that these worst stereotypes took root in our culture. Woman is free only in the sphere of sex and instincts, but not in the civil sphere.
D.M. The way those psychiatrists comment, it seems that they have realized everything, and they would answer the same way as we did, but you can judge from their intonation that it does exist now, in the past and it will exist in the future.
V.D. Once again getting back to that artificiality, we are not able to construct such artificial standards, based on which men speak in public and run nice job positions, and their ideal woman is a woman working in the kitchen. This would be allowed by the artificial standard, taking it for granted. But we don't have such artificial standard to stop men, saying such phrases. And in that place, even a man, thinking in this way, should put on a beautiful mask and say 'My ideal is a creative woman, such as I am." And then this artificial construct would be very useful. This mask.
A.M.P. I agree, Viktorija, but we, women, have to create this perception by ourselves and put forward it for men. Now, that we are going to European Union and Nato it's a shame to say, that 'My wife is a housewife' or somebody else. Nowadays it's no longer appropiate to say this or 'I have a few lovers'.
V.D. Which means that we have to take care about these artificial constructs.
D.M. This is witty and artificial, but very useful.
V.D. Useful. It works, and then something changes in our consciousness, we react, think, that this mask is no longer that bad so I'll put it on, and I won't say in public, that it is ideal to have a woman meeting me in the kitchen, bringing me my slippers.
A.P.M. Just like our mayor Paksas: 'My wife always waits for me dressed up and very beautiful'. So that's her merit. She is a really beautiful woman.
V.D. And that's very nice, but in the same sentence he should also add, that 'I also wait for her dressed up' and the world would equalize. One part is not bad, just the second part should be added, though men forget to add it.
D.M. We've come to the conclusion: it is necessary to create an artificial space in manly principals. They create it in that way and so shall we.
S.D. Of course you can't brandish with a sward against tanks. By no means.
A.M.P. We won't use that word 'manly priciples'. Let's create an artificial space, as we understand it. Let's create the artificial space as we understand it. After all from our nice discussions I would get back to the problem of personality. Woman and men should be educated as rich and self-reliant personalities. Spirit, which can express its opinions without being afraid to take off that social mask and create problems at work. We have to educate a brave young generation. I can see it. When I started to work with journalists, I tell them in a straight forward way, criticize those, who already have jobs, because they are my former students, I teach them. I say - don't be afraid. And I base it not only my personal life. There are many great literary people, philosophers, including Hesse, who simply present personality education methods. So just read it and apply it for your self, and grow, don't be a coward, learn looking people into their eyes. Here, this is one principle, which shows, that your will is already strong, that you will dare say something.
D.M. But for me, this method, proposed by the professor is quite acceptable. It is perfectly implementable, very clever and it would be very effective.
V.D. Of course, truth is a serious issue, you can't deny it. Of course, we hope that there will be a society, where a man will think the same way he talks, this will be so. But now we are in the situation, where there should be some artificial construct, which would somehow prevent that manliness, which denies woman's right to equality or identity. It is extremely risky, when we talk like this on the television, and this though multiplies in artificial, mockery forms reaching kindergarden or even further institutions - 'well, so this is the girl - make her stand in the corner'
R.P. But gradually these things should change. Today we can see that women adapt faster, change their qualification easier. Just look - courses of English are attended only by women, rarely - men. We can read newspaper articiles about men in their fourties, laying in bed at home, doing nothing, looked after by mothers. This should gradually come to an artificial culture. This should come.
V.D. There, there is. We can't really simply ignore it again. The thing which seems to me very beautiful. When I travel by trolleybus, which shows my abilites, I observe passing cars and sometimes I count women, driving them. It is a very interesting phenomenon for me. I'm very glad seeing such women. This is one of that self-reliability and independence of women, their artificial spaces. She is in her artificial space - in her car, she is so self-reliant, separate and of course, she is acting, and it couldn't be otherwise.
A.M.P. But getting back to points of turns, we have to start from laws after all. There won't be laws, helping women change life. Her emotional resistance will be in vain. We are calm, because there is an institution of A.Burneikiene, where women may come. Those laws of equality of sexes are not perfect yet in Lithuania, and Aurine Burneikiene admits that. Thus, they should be developed further. Yet this makes us peaceful.
V.D. And I think, that this law shouldn't have been adopted before that decade, without women's efforts, without centers, movements, feminism. After all, this lead to an evident situation, when members of parliament were foreced to put on masks and agree: 'equal rights'.
D.M. Then, everything is based on practical issues. I've always liked the idea of Solveiga who would say: 'We have to create a sorority and support women even in cases they are wrong. Support each other. Because otherwise there won't be anything'. -Solidarity
D.M. Yes, solidarity.
V.D. Yes, solidarity. It should be, it should work somehow. Of course, women historians should observe what's happening, just like you do. We don't have to surrender that space in literature and observe what our sisters and mothers used to say 100 - 200 years ago. This can't be forgotten in any case. And this is a certain demonstration of solidarity.
A.M.P. History leads us to the need to document everything. Whatever we're doing here in this center. We have to document whatever we've done in all professions. We'll perish, but whatever we've done can remain behind us and be used as a help for the growing generation - for girls and boys to understand who they are.
V.D. And perhaps now it should be said, that whatever you - Nomeda and Gediminas, are doing here is also a response to what we're trying to think, do in a concept of polylogist, that is a real polylogical situation. You want to look from that space to that space, watch from several perspectives and, well, keep track of what's been happening and what is happening. And there is nothing in this world what we can do except by using one's own ways and measures, trying to understand each other. That modern language, technicized, computerized, visual, the language of the contemporary art, that it turns toward really social problem areas, I would say this is one of the new steps, the movement of modern language toward social, even important problems, And perhaps in this crossroad there may be some very interesting issues.
D.M. And we can consider this to be one of the ways of creating an artificial space in favor of women. --- Maybe, maybe
V.D. Because modern (modernistic) language has been developing without turning from social problems, from problems of sexes, from all that space of the human. It developed as a language of abstracts, hints, traditions. It followed such a way. And perhaps we see such a special returning back.
A.M.P. And if you allow me, I would like to summarize, that in fact, man lives in an artificial space, bu t that artificial space should not ruin him spiritually and physically. This is how it is today in our society. Regardless of sex, men, women and children are frustrated by this artificial space. This is not good and we, women, should really resist it not only because we've brought and keep bringing life to the world, but in order to make us feel cosy in this artificial space, make us want to create, but not cry.