The Franco regime also used censorship to oppress women

During the Franco regime, women suffered at least Three forms of censorshipFormal, self-censorship and gender censorship. Gabriela de Lima Grecowith the author Sarah Martin Gutierrez From Feathered women. Book and censorship during the Franco regime (Stone paper books, 2022), a book that analyzes Censorship from a gender perspective Throughout nearly four decades of Franco’s dictatorship.

“Franco’s system in the 1940s, which was triumphant, is not the same as that of the 1950s or 1960s. In addition, the people who served as observers in the 1940s were not like those of the following two decades, as in any process Historically, a lot of things happened in those 40 years. There were social changes, changes in regulations, changes in standards for civil servants who worked there,” explains Sarah Martin-Gutierrez.

“When one of the families of the regime, such as the Catholic or the Fallenian, was stronger, the censorship changed and turned towards this side, making it more moral or more political,” says Gabriela de Lima Greco, who identifies the most significant change in censorship in the 1960s.The so-called Fraga Law made censorship move from being before it was subsequent. Since then, publishers have not had to submit their work for review by the censor, but if they publish something that later turns out to be infringing, they can even go to jail. Therefore, the most widely used strategy in Franco’s regime was self-censorship.”

Despite the fact that these limitations were included in Franco’s regulations, the fact that censorship is a subjective matter ultimately depends on the criteria, ability, or goodwill of the censor, always There have been works that have been approved without anyone being able to explain well why. For example, books from the CIS publishing house that talked about the history of the labor movement or WhichWritten by Carmen Laforet, it’s a title that watchers found bland and uninteresting, in large part because it was written by a woman. “The fact that women were seen as intellectually inferior could play in favor of these cases. The censor did not envision women as thinking beings with critical attitudes in Spanish social and political reality, let alone if we were to speak of a 22-year-old girl, as was the case with Carmen Laforet,” de Lima Greco recalls.

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Domesticated and excluded

According to the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, a social group exists only to the extent that it is identified and revealed in a historical or literary tradition. Thus, defining those texts that are considered “classical” within society means excluding those other texts that do not fit into that cultural canon. In the case of Franco, the law was eminently patriarchal, so the books left outside were those written by women, a group over which, in addition, a women-led organization attached to the system exercised enormous control. Women’s Brigade Division.

“In Spain, the 1930s was, from a political point of view, a certain moment of freedom for women, who gained the right to vote and to participate in institutions. Nevertheless, the women’s section sought to discipline them, determining who they were The socially acceptable roles of men and women‘, explains Sarah Martin Gutierrez, who does not hide the paradox that the institution itself has assumed in this sense. The leaders of the women’s section were celibate, and they traveled without anyone’s permission because they recognized the position the organization gave they spoke at gatherings, giving them a political role that at the time was more associated with men. But what they spread in those congregations was a model of the family, nurturing children and women as a fortress or a banner transmitting the values ​​of the system to their grandchildren.

In any case, even when they were part of the women’s section, women had equal status with men, as evidenced by the fact that, on only a few occasions, She was qualified to be part of the censorship system. “We did not find women who had a permanent job like this.” readers, which is the term the government uses to name the censors. Only on some occasions have there been women doing specific work analyzing children’s books,” explains Gabriela de Lima Greco, who gives as an example of these collaborators the women of Spanish Catholic work, whose profiles, biographies, economic status and social status, let’s not forget, they were also compatible with system values.

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Honorable profession

The situation of inequality and oppression that women experienced during Franco’s regime marked the literary career of those who wanted to devote themselves professionally to writing. Many considered an activity inappropriate for their gender Using pseudonyms to preserve their identity and not spoil their families with his literary endeavors. In addition, due to their status as women, these creators were excluded from literary gatherings, prizes, and cultural institutions, and in order to publish their work, they had, in many cases, to modify what they wanted to say in terms of literature. type and content.

“I preferred many women Write your books with male characters rather than feminine because that made the work more serious. In addition to having more commercial potential, because work written by a woman and female characters could be considered literature for a female audience only, the fact that there were male characters facilitated approval of censorship, as happened with the work of Eulalia Galvarato, five shades‘,” explains de Lima Greco, who also notes that there were certain types that were easier to approve of by censors, regardless of whether the work was written by a man or a woman. During Franco’s regime, the literary genre par excellence was the novel. I suppose the reason is that in a longer format work, It was hard to tell which nuance had been compromised. On the other hand, studying other systems of censorship, poetry was a literary genre that was used in secret literature, in which it was easier to circulate because of its shorter form.”

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Historical memory is one of the outstanding themes of Spanish democracy. After more than 40 years, institutions have not only set out to reform victims or prosecute their torturers, they have Obstructed initiatives such as opening graves Or the acquittal of those professionals or creatives who were retaliated during the Franco regime, and who refused to reveal their names in the streets, libraries or public institutions. Feathered women steps on The work of recognition and clarity From these creators to try to recover everything they lost during the Franco regime.

“It is impossible to know all the cultural heritage that has been lost due to censorship. Many works are still standing censorship In the historical archives. In the public archives of the administration of Alcalá de Henares, it is probable that all the works that have come into the hands of the censors have been approved or not approved for publication. Gabriela de Lima El Greco concludes that it is the task of historians to save this censored heritage, and therefore it is unknown.”


Gabriela de Lima Greco and Sarah Martin Gutierrez

rock paper books

63 pages | 6 euro

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