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Gender and Media in Francoist Spain
During The War:
On July 21st, 1936, Marina Ginesta was 17 years old and a member of the Unified Socialist Youth, a Republican group during the Spanish Civil War. She and the rest of her faction had just defeated an uprising in Barcelona, and were living out of the Hotel Colon in Plaza de Catalunya in what she referred to herself as a "bourgeois manner" until their supplies ran out. The photographer was Hans Gutman, a German who went by Juan Guzman while in Spain. At 89, Ginesta was interviewed about this photo, and revealed that she didn't know the photo even still existed, and that it was staged. Ginesta and her faction had been celebrating their victory and Gutman was snapping photos. Another member of the USY lent Ginesta the machine gun for the photo, after making her swear to return it. (CITE: El Pais)
While some would have believed this photo was a spur of the moment decision, mid or just post-battle, due to the gun and the sense of pride on Ginesta's face. Just because the photograph was staged doesn't mean the sense of pride, confidence, and wonder are gone. There are many examples of gender and the media being a complex subject both during the Spanish Civil War and after, during the control of Franco. This exhibit will serve to give examples, information, and explanations to the portrayal of women in these eras.
Marina Ginesta was not the only woman to be a model for a staged photo during the Spanish Civil War. This Vanguard magazine cover features another popular staged photo. Although the details on the photograph are unknown, we known the Vanguard journal was produced by the Vanguard group of anarchists in New York City, which featured monthly updates of the Spanish Civil War for sympathetic Americans. (CITE: Vanguard) This image, much like that of Marina Ginesta, portrays a woman who is proud, strong, and willing to fight for what she believes in. These could have been used to inspire other women to join the Republican cause, or to rally men.
Sometimes, real women weren't used to stir emotion through photos. This propaganda poster features a woman holding her child, who had been killed by Fascist forces, presumably bombs as they are pictured as well. This image tugs on heart strings and would have been used to make viewers hate the Fascists even more than they already did. It would make you recall the damage done by their bomber planes even weeks after the bombing was done, and remember the women in your neighborhood who lost children either to the bombing or the fighting. This is a perfect example of using a maternal figure to inspire viewers to feel protective and crave revenge.
Also related to the bombings, this poster that pleads with citizens to Evacuate Madrid features a widow and her daughter witnessing planes flying over their city. (INFO: widows in Spain)
After The War:
Once Franco took power, he held it for decades. Being that he dictated Spain for so long, he was able to make large changes over stretches of time and ensure he had plenty of underlings to do his work.