• unitwinidevaw2021

TEASER: RETHINKING FEMALE CHARACTERS FROM SCHOOL LITERATURE LIST

By Anastasiia Krynytska


When I was a kid I remember going to school and studying Ukrainian, Russian, and World literature at the same time. Oh, I loved literature, because it gives you the opportunity to live lives you would never have. You find yourself thinking about choices you most probably would never experience on your own. Literature helped me to create the whole other fiction world, through which I could understand the real world better, could feel prepared as I thought for almost every situation. I looked up to brave heroes or to poor people achieving big goals.


Nowadays there are more and more discussions about the necessity of gender inclusion in children’s and young adult's books In the USA. Some topics are also discussed in Western Europe. But the question about gender abuse in school books remains open, as the definition of abuse broadens. Especially important this topic is in Russian and Ukrainian school literature, where women are often presented as those, who “silently suffer”.


Each and every literature piece is a product of a writer´s mind and a social context, and this is what gives it meaning. This project does not aim to rewrite classical school literature. I personally find it important that we can read old stories, look around ourselves, and admire all the positive changes we h  ve achieved. But I remember being a schoolgirl, reading about a woman who kills herself because of untrue love and getting angry. I didn´t want to adapt that behavioral pattern. But how many others

So my project´s goal is one more time, not to rewrite classical pieces that we study in school. I don´t think literature needs rewriting, but it definitely needs an explanation that it does not always translate to the real world. My goal is to create a digital space for rethinking the old literature in a modern way. Where female students from Ukraine and Russia could simulate the lives of those female characters and think about what could be done differently in a modern world. I want to use existing inold literature archetypes and patters of female behavior to empower the young female generation. Gender abuse is a so to say hot topic right now, we have a lot of sadly negative statistics, examples, stories. I want to take a completely different approach and simulate the ideal space where girls and women can think about and feel how the modern world gives them more opportunities to feel safe.


How will it be done? At first, there is a research stage. All gender abuse examples from Russian and Ukrainian classic school literature are to find and analyze from a psychological perspective. At the next stage, a website is to be created, where several female characters found in the research stage will get digital “profiles”. Then connections with Ukrainian and Russian schools will be established and participants are to find. And as an outcome we will have a website, where modern female students will write from the perspective of chosen female characters what would they personally do or think in that situation. Will, the decision be different? Are modern girls feeling more secure? Or did they already adopt behavioral patterns from literature?



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