Distorted Antigones: Dialectics and Prostitution in Lola and Shirins Hochzeit
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Rather than interpreting R.W. Fassbinder’s film Lola and Helma Sanders’s Shirins Hochzeit through the usual angle of genre and melodrama, this essay used Hegelian dialectical philosophy and gender theories to analyse the prostitute characters. Taking Walter Benjamin’s idea of the prostitute as embodiment of contradictions, and Hegel’s notion of women as the ‘irony of the community’, I examined the symbolism surrounding Lola which constantly mutated to figure her as a revolutionary force outside dialectics; as outside but also inside associated with the dialectical relations between public and private; as repressed individuality which, as such, maintains the community. By making dialectics become visible as the site of constant tensions she exposed the workings the dialectic and alluded to the dysfunction of the dialectic because of the domination of the universal. Shirin, on the other hand, is positioned less complexly as marginal but oppositional voice, and the circular device of the resuscitated speaking tragic heroine created a central tension between the desire for a different speaking position and acknowledgement of the danger of repeating the same stories.