Geography, Dirndls, and a Make-up Hating Dictator

This week for my individual project I was in the researching mood. I know they say that you should do all your research before you start the writing process, but my brain doesn’t always work that way. When I feel the need to write, I write. When I feel the need to research, I research. I never want to lose a good flow of ideas, so I roll with my gut to see what I can do.

Anyways, I spent a little over an hour researching Nazi Germany culture, as my own work is about a dystopian Nazi society. My fictional nation does not completely mirror Nazi Germany, however there are pivotal aspects of it that I include. One thing I specifically focused on for research this week was geography. Everything in Nazi Germany was systematic or planned to carry out oppression and other unspeakable acts, geography included. What I found while researching is that ghettos and extermination camps in the Third Reich were all kept in the east, one because that is where the targeted victims were, but two because they also wanted to keep it away from the German people. It worked as an “out of sight, out of mind” setup. It is something important to consider for my fictional world. It made me ask questions like how does physical, cultural, and political geography effect my fictional world? I think the answers are going to be pivotal in making the nation what it is.

I also spent some time researching another aspect of Nazi culture: fashion. Fashion was another piece of the puzzle the government tried to influence. According to Nazi ideals, German women needed to be some of the most fashionable in the world. They stressed how important it was that women wear dirndls, or skirts/dresses cinched at the waist and then loosened as they flowed out. Tyrolean, or wool, jackets, were also very popular. Hitler apparently despised makeup, so he encouraged women to wear minimal make-up, if any.

The past week I had also jotted down some notes and ideas to add in to my work once I finish my first draft. I try not to go back and edit much, I would like to finish my book completely before I start the editing process (though it’s still a habit I’m trying to break), so I always try to keep track of the ideas I have before I forget them. These notes of course include some of the information I dug up while researching.

It’s been a very informative and thought provoking week, and I can’t wait to get writing again.

dirndl

An example of a dirndl, although it is from a later time period (1960s).

Photo CC-By: Bess Georgette

Link to Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

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5 thoughts on “Geography, Dirndls, and a Make-up Hating Dictator

  1. Great idea to just go with your gut feeling on whether to research or write, whatever works! The fashion aspect is very interesting too, are you going to incorporate something like that into your story?

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    1. I am definitely planning on incorporating the fashion piece into my story, I think it works well for my nation and also helps seal together other bits and pieces of the place. However, I think make-up will be more prevalent in my fictional world than it was for Nazi Germany. That’s the beautiful think about writing fiction, you get to pick and choose what works for your story.

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      1. Great idea! I’m reading “The Giver” right now and assigned clothing is a part of their world, too. Such a small thing really seems so crazy and controlling. Make-up being a more prevalent part sounds cool, I’m interested to see what you’ll do with it.

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  2. Researching different cultures is really interesting due to the fact that you don’t know what other cultures have to offer until you really start digging into them and researching them. This is a great blog post, nice job!

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