Feminine/Masculine: Gender Issue in Spain from the Second Republic to Franco

By Yannick Ripa

The Spanish Civil War transformed gender into a stake and reinforced the oppositions on sex differences in the 1930s. The republican measures taken in favor of women were more of a way of breaking with the old regime than a will to institute an equality of sexes. However, the conservative right wing and the extreme right fustigated the feminist dimension of the republic. Nationalists identified themselves with virility synonymous to Hispanicity. They argue for a “true feminism” that protects the hierarchy of sexes and sublimated female self-denial. The Civil War instrumentalized and complexified the question of women: it showed the limit of leftist feminism and reinforced the antifeminism of nationalists. It announces the construction of the Constitution of the Francoist State: masculine and heterocentered. The feminine is locked up in a rigid barrier good for controlling women and manipulating them to reinforce dictatorship.

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