What is it about?

This article examines the ways in which the DEFA film Sieben Sommersprossen (1978; Seven freckles) presents social norms pertaining to gender equality, relationships, and sexual intimacy as expected of teenagers in the GDR, and how these norms reflect on the concept of the socialist personality. It provides close readings of the plot juxtaposed with relevant publications and archival material to demonstrate how this young-adult film engages in discussions about the persistence of traditional gender roles while wrestling with intimate concerns honestly to promote an alternative set of socialist values that were not at odds with socialism per se but with certain values foregrounded by the political leadership. As such, the film criticizes the status quo in a way that resembles the reformist efforts of the 1980s, occupying as they did an interstitial position between social expectations and social change aimed at improving, or finding an alternative to, actually existing socialism in the GDR, the so-called Dritter Weg.

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Why is it important?

This is, to my knowledge, the only article that deals with the film and explores questions of gender and sexuality norms.


I hope that this article inspires people to watch the movie and explore more of DEFA!

Juliane Schicker
Carleton College

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Gender, Sex, and the Socialist Personality in Herrmann Zschoche's Sieben Sommersprossen (1978), Feminist German Studies, September 2022, Project Muse,
DOI: 10.1353/fgs.2022.0014.
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