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.

The Ironic Use of Internationalism Amongst the Far Right

By: Melyssa Clark

Internationalism has been used by the far right as a framing tool to promote a narrative that seeks to vilify a group and create division between the people and the elites. As illustrated in “The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism”, Hanbrink discusses how the way in which tying Jewish folks to an international conspiracy helped bolster the narrative of Judeo-Bolshevism. Despite using internationalism as a tool to frame otherness, the far right, ironically, uses it as a highway to spread its ideas and collaborate with others in the international sphere. Just as Hanbrink outlined the use of internationalism as a means to vilify Jewish folks, it was also a means through which the vilification was communicated. Namely, through the unmasking of Jewish Bolshevik leaders as well as through émigrés who recounted their stories. Internationalism as a means of transporting ideas was also used as a pragmatic war tactic by the Nazi regime in which anti-colonial sentiments were stoked as a means to destabilize the United Kingdom and France’s global empires. In addition to the spread of anti-colonial propaganda, the Nazi’s also spread ideas of nationalism, which moved towards being more militant and ethnic in nature.

The ironic and pragmatic use of internationalism by the far right is ongoing. However, there is a limited scope in which they are able to operate as a collective since they have more limited commonalities and can disagree on issues outside of those linked directly to nationalism. Despite the fact that they may be split on a variety of policy goals, the participation of the far right within international settings should not be viewed without caution. Within the European Parliament, the far-right has become a more prominent group over the years. This group has often interacted within the institution with the goal to disrupt the developments of policies and use it as a means to voice right wing nationalist ideologies.

The Importance of a Leader?

By: Melyssa Clark

History is an important tool in which we can trace back threads to the past in adding our understanding of how contemporary events are not created from a rupture. This is depicted through this week’s course material that traces back how modern populism is derived from Fascist ideology that emerged from Italy in 1919. The support for both of these ideologies are fuelled by crises that create division amongst insiders and outsiders within society as well as a political system. Although the authors work at contributing to a better understanding of populism as a term, whether in isolation or through a path dependency approach of a historical comparison to fascism, there is one important idea that various authors alluded to that could be further developed. That idea being the use of an actor-based approach that highlights the important role that populist leaders have in these movements. One of the main definers of populism is the division between “the people” and “the elites” effectively, this creates a need for collective action to have the people’s voice heard and remove the elites from power. In turn, it’s important to have a charismatic leader who is able to frame various crises through the democratized media and create a call to action to mobilize “the people”. The most cohesive example amongst the authors that illustrate this is Trump’s rise to power in 2016. Brubaker highlights Trump’s likability, relative to Clinton, and the means through which he uses the media to frame issues to create distrust of institutions and elites amongst the public.

Introduction – Melyssa Clark

Hi All,

I’m a master’s student in the EU stream of the the European Russian and Eurasian Studies (EURUS) program. For my undergrad degree, I majored in political science with a double minor in French and business studies. Topics that I’m interested in studying are domestic EU politics, environmental politics, and populism. My MRP topic will focus on analyzing the European Parliament’s right-wing populist party’s response to the European Climate Law.

A little about me personally, I’m originally from Alberta and as a result of having the Rocky Mountains in my backyard, I’m an avid hiker/backpacker. The most recent and longest backpacking trip that I’ve done was the West Coast Trail. Some other hobbies of mine include cycling, photography, cross-country skiing, refinishing antique furniture, and collecting plants.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk! Looking forward to a great class with you!