In the early years of the Franco regime—during the Civil War and in the early 1940s—the Spanish nation was constantly described as virile. It was associated with values such as force, vigor, and courage, but also containment, composure, and sobriety. This was in contrast with the anti-Spain: the liberal and republican nation, described as effeminate and defined through both absence (a weak nation) and excess (an exuberant and sordid nation). This lecture examines the meaning of virility during the early years of Franco’s dictatorship and looks at how the idea of the Spanish nation was constructed in opposition to effeminacy.
Zira Box is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at the University of Valencia (Spain). Working at the intersection between history and the social sciences, her main interest is in the cultural history of early Francoism. She has worked on the symbolic construction of the dictatorship (España, Año Cero. La construcción simbólica del franquismo, 2010) and on the nationalist political cultures of the Franco regime (Reactionary Nationalists, Fascists and Dictatorships. Against Democracy, ed., 2019).