True Catholic womanhood : gender ideology in Franco's Spain /
Aurora G. Morcillo.
DeKalb, Ill. : Northern Illinois University Press, 2000.
214 p. : ill.
0875802567 (alk. paper)
More Details
DeKalb, Ill. : Northern Illinois University Press, 2000.
0875802567 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Aurora G. Morcillo is Visiting Professor of Education History and Women's Studies at the University of New Mexico.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-07-01:
Explanations for the longevity of the Franco regime in Spain, which began with the Nationalist victory in 1939 after three years of civil war and ended with the aged dictator's death in 1975, include recognition of the supporting role of church leaders and the central place of a specifically Spanish Catholicism in Francoist ideology. Broadly, that ideology emphasized Spanish unity and uniqueness, Spaniards' need for order and authority, and the crusading role of Catholicism. Morcillo explores that ideology as it concerned women, its transmitters and major organizations, and its adaptability to changing circumstances, principally the challenge of modernization in the 1950s and 1960s. The ideal Catholic woman was defined as pious, circumspect, self-denying, submissive, and devoted to motherhood and family, thus excluding career and professional position. Such an ideal became increasingly problematic in an emerging consumer society, even as official institutions, especially in education, sought to continue to shape male and female identities. Examined in detail are the Women's Section of the Falange (the political movement originally identified with Fascism), the Teresian Institute, Catholic Action, and the Association of Spanish University Women, each of which offered definitions of womanhood. Gender difference, Morcillo argues, constituted a form of empowerment for these privileged organizations. All levels. N. Greene; Wesleyan University
Review Quotes
"This study not only offers us a new perspective on the Franco Regime but also constitutes a major contribution to scholarship on gender and authoritarianism and on gender and consumer culture."- Journal of Modern History "The broadest and most important book in English on women under Franco.... There is nothing comparable."-Pamela Radcliff, University of San Diego
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 2000
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Unpaid Annotation
-- Women faced conflicting demands under Franco's program of National Catholicism. State-sponsored economic development created a modern consumer society, yet women were expected to remain passive and private, conforming to customary ideals of Catholic womanhood. Morcillo explores the contradictions between modernization and traditional gender expectations, adding new insights into the gender dynamics of authoritarian states. True Catholic Womanhood is essential reading for all those interested in modern Spain, Catholicism, European women's history, and authoritarian social politics.
Main Description
Women faced conflicting demands under Francisco Franco's program of National Catholicism, finding themselves at the center of the regime's efforts to preserve tradition while promoting modernization. Even as state-sponsored economic development created a modern consumer society, church-influenced laws and institutions dictated female domesticity and upheld feminine ideals of asexuality, self-denial, and limited educational development. Imaginatively using diverse sources-including interviews, magazine advertisements, and university archives-Morcillo addresses the tension between expectations for the traditional woman, whose primary value to the state was reproductive, and those for the modern consumer-housewife ideal that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. She pays particular attention to women's experiences in higher education and in the "Women's Section" of the Falange. Her highly textured history of major women's organizations from the 1940s through the 1960s demonstrates that women successfully negotiated these contradictory demands while creating a vibrant and meaningful public space for social activism. At the same time, their spiritual devotion protected Spanish women from state retribution in their search for "true Catholic womanhood." True Catholic Womanhoodadds new insights into the gender dynamics of authoritarian states, providing a unique window through which to view the process of modernization and the transition toward democracy. It is essential reading for everyone interested in modern Spain, Catholicism, European women's history, and authoritarian social politics.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: True Catholic Womanhoodp. 3
Modernity and the Woman Questionp. 8
The Francoist Recovery of Traditionp. 27
Catholic Womanhood and Consumerismp. 46
Knowledge and Power in the Francoist Universityp. 77
The Women's Section of the Falangep. 101
In Their Own Words: Women in Higher Educationp. 129
Conclusion: Authoritarian Politics and Modernity from a Gender Perspectivep. 161
Notesp. 167
Glossaryp. 193
Bibliographyp. 195
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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