The Seduction of Modern Spain: The Female Body and the Francoist Body Politic
Bucknell University Press, 2010 - 338 páginas
This book examines how sexual politics, specifically those surrounding the modernization of a consumer economy, are key to understanding the transformation of Spain from isolated dictatorship to modern state. It focuses on issues concerning modernity and the commodification of the female body under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in the 1950s and 1960s. These two decades are critical to understanding this transformation because they coincide with the opening of markets, the freer movement of people in and out of the country through tourism and emigration, and the embracing of the "American way of life" popularized in Hollywood movies. From a gender perspective this "in between moment" in Homi Bhabha's terms, from autarchy to consumerism favored the transition from the virginal female model, prescribed by the regime, (what the author calls "True Catholic Womanhood") to a seductive modern woman that the media sold to Spanish women.
This study will add a significant piece to the growing corpus of literature on the body as an essential element of analysis in gender history and in the power dynamics of culture. It will help to fill a gap in the field of Spanish Cultural Studies in general and the emerging field of cultural Spanish history in particular. The originality of this study resides in Dr. Morcillo's use of feminist theories of the body to study archival sources of the Francoist years. Of special interest are the collections of Ministry of Culture and Administrative papers Women's Section of Falange at the Archivo General de la Administracion in Alcala de Henares. Also important are the works of intellectuals of the period, as well as health books, maternity and hygiene guides, conduct manuals, and documents produced by the Catholic Church hierarchy with regard to moral behavior and sexual mores that provide a textured analysis of gender relations under the dictatorship.
The author's interest in unveiling the regime's technologies of control of ordinary Spaniards is covered through the study of the media, printed press, and the movie industry of this period particularly the so-called New Spanish Cinema inaugurated in the 1960s, illustrating how ads and films shaped and contested the regime's vision of modernity and gender roles. Through the production of dual versions of films the censorship process utilized women's cinematic bodies to present a more liberal image of Spain in the international scene. While nudity was allowed in the international versions the domestic productions continued to cut the customary kiss. The economy of desire displayed in today's Almodovar's films is already present in movies like La Tia Tula by Miguel Picazo (1964).
This book will be essential for scholars and students interested in Ibero-American cultural studies, gender, religion, and totalitarian politics.
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