The Importance Culture of Gender Roles to Fascism

By Melyssa Clark

Culture is an important institutional mechanism through which fascist ideology has attached itself to be more appealing. From this week’s course material, this is achieved, namely, through gender roles and attaching those roles to be of service to the state. Kuhne illustrates how the Nazi’s constructed masculinity served as a means to justify societal power hierarchies as well as a way to depict the ideal soldier. Moreover, masculinity, as presented to soldiers, allowed for the justification of killing others as well as the development of the importance of the collective over the individual as discussed in the concept of comradeship. Despite protean masculinity existing during the Nazi regime that allowed flexibility to men to show more traditionally feminine traits, there were limits to the frequency and the extent that this was acceptable that was only permissible after the hardness of masculinity was already established.

Similar trends are also discussed by Lopez and Sanchez in highlighting the importance that traditional female gender roles played for the Nationalists during the Spanish civil war. As discussed in the article, Nationalist women were encouraged to play along traditional female gender roles and also having that role be associated with being a “true Spaniards”. Although the participation in espionage did not fit with the feminine architype to help Nationalists, traditional roles and power dynamics were still applied. Women who participated were still idealized to be well directed and controllable by men as well as to remain virtuous. The culture of women’s gender that was constructed by Nationalists still exists today amongst Franco supports. This is best depicted in the Vox video where Francoists reacted to the ideology of feminism as well as towards the protesters.

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