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Narrating feminisms: what do we talk about when we talk about feminism in Estonia?

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Drawing on interviews with women who identify as feminists in Estonia, this article explores how the stories we tell about feminism and its past influence the kind of theoretical and political work we are able to do. Zooming in on the story of the emergence of feminisms in postsocialist Estonia which has not been thoroughly researched yet, this article calls upon feminists in Estonia to reflect critically on how they conceptualize feminisms, while at the same time building a framework to think about local feminism within transnational feminist context. Starting from stories of how women became feminists in Estonia since the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, I reflect on the gaps, chance encounters and tensions that my fieldwork revealed to narrate feminism differently, to bring forth new aspects of feminism in this context. In particular, I focus on two moments: the common imaginary of ‘real’ feminism as Western mass movement and the tensions between the local context and ‘Western feminism’. I complicate the narrative in the article through including interludes in between the main text to highlight how the incidents that happened outside and around the interviews shape my story of feminism in Estonia.
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Keywords: Becoming feminist; Estonian feminisms; local feminism; postsocialism; transnational feminism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Thematic Studies РGender Studies, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Publication date: July 3, 2018

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