Something that stood out to me in terms of an appealing aspect of fascism beyond ideology is the sense of inclusivity and protection that it offers to people whom belong to (or identify with) the dominant ethno-linguistic nationality. Marhoefer’s exploration of gender nonconformity in Nazi Germany shows that women were targeted by the state and authorities when they presented as masculine (through hairstyle and dress) in public. While this was to enforce gender conformity as part Nazi totalitarianism, Marhoefer also points out that public lesbianism provoked anxieties in neighbours, acquaintances, and state officials. Homosexual and gender non-conforming women where minorities whose identities, while “Aryan” in the eyes of the Nazi worldview, nevertheless conflicted with the majority identity of gender conforming, heterosexual Germans. Thus, the scrutiny and violence of the Nazi state against these groups can be seen as a form of protecting the majority from their fear of the minority.
This desire to seek protection from the minority, or any group that threatens the “nation,” can be seen strongly in the Vice video about the cult of Francisco Franco in contemporary Spain. Several of the people featured in the video spoke of “dangerous groups” whose perceived evil tides need to be stemmed: migrants, sexual minorities, feminists, etc. Here the mental gymnastics of the far right are on full display, such as the differentiation between immigrants and “invaders.” What is interesting about this contemporary example is that the idea Spanish “nation” and the cult of Franco was embraced by people outside of the Spanish ethno-linguistic nation, such as the Dutch Franco-lover Tom and the bar proprietor of Chinese origins. This also emphasizes the extent to which ethno-linguistic nations are constructed.