Workshop Teaser

Tomislava Vankova

Tomislava Vankova interned at Pornceptual & WHOLE Festival
Graduation Project
Letters Of The Strong Girls

The term “Male girl” is a compliment. One of the biggest complimentsyou can receive in Bulgaria as an ambitious woman. A male girl (inBulgarian: muzhko momiche) is not a tomboy or a very androgenousperson, being deemed a male girl is an acknowledgement that you areas strong as the guys. This strengththat Bulgarian women have built to battle the societal patriarchal thinking is still somehow characterized by the patriarchy itself. As a symbol of empowe`rment, we are put under a label that is dominated by male presence. Being defined as a “male girl” myself, I consider this term tobe an ideal representation of the emancipation controversy, concluded from my thesis.

“Letters of the strong girls” is a project that aims to collectively break in a playful manner the Bulgarian paradox of using a sexist comment to award female empowering behaviour. Through a series of workshops, “Letters of the strong girls” invites Bulgarian women to share their mundane “male girl” stories by drawing them on custom made postcards! During the workshops they have an opportunity to hear a small introduction on the topic by one of the initiators, to meet new friends and supporters and to become an active part of the cause.

To see how our last event went, click here!

Letters To The Red Emancipation

Bulgaria has had a troubled political history in the past decades, the most notable one being the transition from a Soviet satellite to a liberal capitalist state. Experiencing this kind of drastic political, cultural and social transformation in a small country such as Bulgaria made this transition process much more personal, and it has become the topic that I always come back to in my work. Dealing on a daily basis not only with the changing mindset, but with the communist legacy as wellhas made me realise how inf luential those events still are. Exploring the fascination provoked by my family’s female figures, I digged deeper into Bulgaria’s contemporary political record and tried to figure out what affected the determination I have observed and the progressive way of thinking that I see in my grandmothers’ generation and the generations they raised. Was there connection between political uncertainty and the way women eagerly played an active role in the society?

In the spirit of the recent 30th anniversary of the fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria, my graduation research paper looks back on the country’s communist past, examines its specific contribution to the female emancipation process and answers the question of how the socialist practices failed to open the door to equality for Bulgarian women but gave them the key to it.

The thesis was written and printed as letters as a symbol of the past and my gratitude towards the women in my life.