Shaping Women: National Identity Through the Use of Language in Franco's Spain


Carbayo Abengozar, Mercedes (2001) Shaping Women: National Identity Through the Use of Language in Franco's Spain. Nations and Nationalism, 7 (1). pp. 75-92. ISSN 1469-8129

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Abstract

In my article I show how a very particular identity was created for women during the period of Franco's Spain. I will draw upon a varied range of materials from official discourses, particularly the Sección Femenina (the women's branch of Falange); the Álvarez Enciclopedia and other texts such as songs, poems and the popular press. Following Foucault (1980: 30) I analyse an identity based on oppressive discourses whose power 'reaches into the very grain of individuals, touches their bodies and inserts itself into their actions and attitudes, their discourses, learning process and everyday life'. The nationalistic stress of this discourse is one that encourages women to create a new image of Spanish femininity that should be 'different' from the liberated portrayal of women coming from Europe, mainly through the path of growing tourism. The language of these discourses is somehow baroque, elaborated, energetic and highly dramatic. It tries to seek attention through an unnecessary and badly misorientated dramatism. It is cryptic and manipulative and claims to be poetical, but its main intention is to confine women indoors and to make them look at the world through the curtains or from a closed window. On the other hand it made women feel they were the representation of a unique matriarchal nationalism making them appear as the heroines of an essentialist national metaphor: women mothers of the nation. Inherent in Franco's equation of women = femininity = nation is a contradiction that defines women as 'indoor heroines' and bases nationalism in a naturalised representation of gender where women are a gendered representation of this nationalism.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The definitive version of this article is available at DOI: 10.1111/1469-8219.00005
Keywords: Women; National Identity; Language; Franco; Spain; nationalism; Sección Femenina;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures > Spanish
Item ID: 6360
Identification Number: 10.1111/1469-8219.00005
Depositing User: Mercedes Carbayo-Abengozar
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2015 14:32
Journal or Publication Title: Nations and Nationalism
Publisher: Wiley
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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