Giving a Voice to the Silenced Women of Francoist Spain
Keywords:comics studies, graphic women, war narratives, Francoism, violence, repression
During the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist dictatorship that followed, women were shielded from the public eye. Their predetermined social role was that of submissive and devoted wives to their husbands as well as homemakers and childcare providers. There are few artistic works that suggest otherwise. However, during the Civil War and after, many women were in fact politically active. They occupied important positions in the resistance and were present along with the men in the trenches. Spanish graphic novels have managed to create many works of fiction based on the Civil War, mainly drawing on (auto)biographical accounts. There are so many significant works dealing with the war and Francoist repression that they represent a genre of their own. Nevertheless, the authors of these works, as well as their main protagonists, are usually men. This is true despite the fact that after the war, during the four decades of the Franco dictatorship, many women suffered from political persecution. The aim of this article is to analyze the role of women outside the domestic space as it appears in selected graphic narratives set in the period of Franco’s regime. Given the extent of the regime’s repression, these works are frequently set in the prisons around Spain where female prisoners were incarcerated and tortured. The narratives we analyze are based on real testimonies from real victims. Their individual experiences are joined together in a collective whose voice has long been silenced until recently.
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