By Viviana Paola González Vargas - International Relations degree student
“I can promise you that women working together —linked, informed and educated— can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet”. This a phrase from the one and only Isabel Allende, and it made a thought pop in my head. If a female author had said this before the 1950s, would she had been socially accepted? Probably not, because even now lots of people wouldn’t take this position seriously. Postmodernism is a literary movement that allowed a lot of women to have their opinion heard, so even though the gender struggle movement was present in previous movement such as Vanguardism, the real issues that women had dealt with for thousands of years were described explicitly until Postmodernism. Right now, it’s important to talk about this subject because in a world where women are still expected to keep quiet, we need to remember that our voices may be shut down, but literature is more powerful than we think.
Postmodernism allowed women to finally have a real platform to write their thought against the system that had been repressing them for years. During this period, especially after the 1960s, there was a change of how women were represented in books or plays. But not only female characters were changed, female writers were also the ones in charge of critiquing through their work what they thought was wrong. Also, during the postmodern period, more and more academic anthologies, essays and research papers studied the importance of gender inequality, gender roles, woman’s struggles in society, and the crimes that they had been victims of for way too long. Besides, fiction books, autobiographies and plays had main female characters portrayed in a way that opposed the traditional view of women, and it was more common to go into a library and find that more women were now published authors. In Latin America, we can see it in authors like Marcela Serrano, Cristina Peri Rossi y Blanca Varela.
It’s important to clarify certain aspects of my approach of Postmodernism. First, a lot of male authors also did an incredible job in a lot of postmodern literature, but women were my main topic because they’re a discriminated population and their work needs to be acknowledged too. It’s vital to also mention that we need to understand that problems regarding gender are still a big part of Latin American’s culture and even though now there are a lot of female writers, they still have a lot of trouble when it comes to being accepted or being considered to become published writers. Also, I think it’s important to add that woman talked about issues before Postmodernism, but in past literary movements, they were sometimes less descriptive or focused on legal issues, but during this movement new topics were represented, like sexuality, reproductive rights or crimes that were connected to gender.
As a conclusion, I would like to say that it’s really great that women now have a more active role in literature, since books can be a great tool when it comes to talk about how we can improve as a society. We sometimes ignore that what we write may influence lots of people, and female postmodern authors are a proof that words can change someone’s world. Of course, we still have a lot of barriers left to tear down, but as long as we are going forward, one day, they will eventually fall down completely.