Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Patriarchal Politics in Pre-Civil War Spain: Prostitution in Ángela Graupera’s Anarcho-feminist Novellas

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2021), 98, (4), 375–394.

Abstract

For anarchists and leftists in pre-Civil War Spain, prostitution epitomized women’s sexual and economic subordination under patriarchal, capitalist structures. Though both anarchist and Marxist discourses conflated gender and class equality, believing women’s emancipation to be an organic consequence of social revolution, the lack of focus on female-specific concerns in anti-capitalist ideations has attracted criticism from feminist scholars. Grounding an analysis within these theoretical and historical contexts, this article interrogates how Ángela Graupera, a little-known Catalan activist and writer, used the trope of prostitution to examine these issues in her novellas, published as part of the La Novela Libre and La Novela Ideal series that were printed by the anarchist magazine La Revista Blanca in the 1920s and 1930s. Through a close reading of selected texts, the examination explores how prostitution functions as a metaphor for female subordination, facilitating a critique of androcentric socio-economic discourses and hegemonic sexual politics in early twentieth-century Spain.

Para los anarquistas e izquierdistas en la España pre-Guerra Civil, la prostitución ejemplificaba la subordinación sexual y económica de las mujeres bajo las estructuras patriarcales y capitalistas. Aunque ambos los discursos anarquistas y marxistas relacionaban la igualdad de clase con la de sexo, por una creencia que la emancipación de las mujeres sería una consecuencia orgánica de la revolución social, la critica feminista ha llamado atención a la falta de foco directo en las experiencias ginocéntricas en las ideologías anti-capitalistas. Con una consideración para estos contextos críticos y socio-políticos, este ensayo analiza cómo Ángela Graupera, una escritora y activista catalana poco conocida, utiliza el tropo de la prostitución para explorar estos temas en las novelas que publicó como parte de las series La Novela Libre y La Novela Ideal de la publicación anarquista La Revista Blanca en las décadas 1920 y 1930. El análisis examina cómo la prostitución funciona como una metáfora para la subordinación femenina que facilita una crítica de los discursos socio-económicos andocéntricos y la política sexual hegemónica en la España al principio del siglo XX.

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MADDEN, DEBORAH