LOUISE O'NEILL: It’s important that we’re aware of the historical context of the backlash against feminism

I went to the Tate Modern in London because I wanted to see what The New Yorker described as an ‘empathy-inducing installation’ about immigration by the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera.

While I was there, I also saw an exhibition titled ‘Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany’; a collection of art created between the first and the second world wars, a time of great social upheaval for the country. As I walked into one room, there was a large sign warning that the artworks might prove to be disturbing for some visitors, and I was immediately confronted with graphic images of violated female corpses.

‘Lustmord’, which translates to “sex murder”, was a theme that recurred frequently in Weimar Germany. The famed American academic, Maria Tatar, wrote a book examining why the sexual politics of the time, which was viewed as the ‘birthplace of transgressive avant-garde modernism’, resulted in a society that was fascinated with murders by sexual predators, and depicted that fascination through literature, art, and film.

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