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25th October, 2021

Feminism in Spain: Challenges and Debates Today

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Event Details

25th October, 2021
9:00 - 13:00

Session 1: The Feminist Movement in Contemporary Spain

  • Speaker: Ana de Miguel, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
  • Topic: Reflections on feminism in Spain and its political agenda: What has become of the success of the feminist strike of 8 March 2018?
  • Talk in Spanish with interpreter available

The objective of this talk is to contribute some key insights for understanding the presence and influence of the feminist movement in contemporary Spain.

Spanish feminism is influenced considerably by the English-speaking academic world, incorporating many of its debates, but has its own tradition and forms of thought and action.

The talk addresses the causes that may explain the “success” of feminism in our country, specifically the 8 March 2018 mass strike movilisations throughout the entire Spanish geography: from large cities to the smallest rural areas.

Also reflected upon is whether this continuous presence of the movement in the streets is having an effective consequence in the elaboration of feminist public policies, such as in the elaboration of legislation or budgets that are related to the just and legitimate revindications of women.

Ana de Miguel is Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid, Spain).

Her most recent books are Neoliberalismo Sexual: El mito de la libre elección (2015), Elementos para una teoría crítica del sistema prostitucional (co-ed) (2017), and Ética para Celia: Contra la doble verdad(2021).

Session 2: Youth and Gender

First Talk:

  • Speaker: Emma Gómez Nicolau, Universitat Jaume I
  • Topic: Feminism at the crossroads: Understanding youth discourses on gender and diversity in Spain
  • Talk in English

After the big success of #FeministStrike on 8 March 2018, the legitimacy of feminist claims in Spain seemed to be renewed, mainly among younger generations.

Taking this into account, the fieldwork developed to-date includes 9 focus groups with people aged 18 to 30, which aimed to assess how feminism, gender issues and diversity were approached by different groups of young people.

A structural sample was established attending two main axes: the global volume of capital (educational and economic) and the degree of resistance/integration according to their political activism and life conditions (social position).

Within the 9 focus groups we find a wide range of discursive positions regarding feminism, along with the very conception of femininities and masculinities.

In addition, we find different ideological positions and strategies to adapt or resist gender in their daily life.

Young people’s position regarding feminist and queer activisms are diverse and somewhat contradictory, and shaped by their own life experiences and expectancies.

The map of discursive positions is discussed in relation to the postfeminist sensibility (Gill, 2017, 2007), the popularization of feminism and popular misogyny (Banet-Weiser, 2018), paying attention to the specific configuration of Spanish feminism and the political and socioeconomic context.

Emma Gomez Nicolau is lecturer in Sociology at University Jaume I (Castelló, Spain).

Her research interests are feminisms, menstrual and health activism, and youth studies. Currently she leads a research project on youth resistances to the gender order in Spain.

Her most recent publications are Mujeres y resistencias en tiempos de manadas (UJI, 2021), Re-writing women as victims: From theory to practice (Routledge, 2020) and ‘Defying the curse: political articulations of menstrual activism’ (RES, 2020).

Second Talk:

  • Speaker: Beatriz Ranea Triviño, Associate lecturer, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Talk in English
  • More information soon

Session 3: Media and Violence

First talk:

  • Speaker: María José Gámez Fuentes, Universitat Jaume I (Castelló)
  • Topic: Questioning victimhood, agency and resistance in Latin American and Iberian narratives of gender violence
  • Talk in English

The purpose of this intervention is to present a very succinct overview of the main areas of debate that Latin American and Iberian film productions open concerning the international discussion on the representation of violence sustained on the gender regime.

It stems from the research developed under the umbrella of the volume Gender-based Violence in Latin American and Iberian Cinemas (Routledge, 2020), edited along with Rebeca Maseda and Barbara Zecchi, and carried out, in turn, under R+D project ‘The re-signification of women as victims in popular culture’.

Our examination will take us to consider the need to expand the debate beyond heteropatriarcal binarisms that equate femininity with victimhood, the neoliberal translations of agency merely in terms of individual empowerment, the privatization/individualization of violence and the erasure of the geopolitical and/or historical inequalities that inform the representation of gendered violence.

In order to do that, we deal with film narratives that articulate “unofficial versions” of the violent experience.

These film practices juxtapose the stereotype of the powerless, gendered victim with an active female subject, endowed with agency in a variety of forms and in contexts where violence is exercised in the Hispanic world.

By doing so, invisibilized memories of resistance brought to light uncover the complexities of giving account.

Thus, we see how the films subvert the official discourses, by portraying, for instance:

  • women’s active role in the Spanish Civil War, the Franco regime, and Brazil’s dictatorial past;
  • women’s resistance to Portugal’s postcolonial trauma;
  • the gendered nature of the torture narrative in Chile whereby women are cast as victims and men as perpetrators;
  • the racialized nature of torture in Peru;
  • the binary patterns of representation surrounding terrorist violence in the Basque country;
  • the representation of gendered abuse in post-revolutionary Cuban cinema;
  • the framework of structural and historic violence that leads to the pathologization and abstraction of the perpetrators of Mexican feminicidio;
  • the (re)inscription of female agency, female violence and female empowerment in Spanish slash films;
  • the rejection of heteronormative models and the glamorization of violence in Argentinian horror cinema, among others.

María Jose Gámez Fuentes is Full Professor in Gender and Media Studies at Universitat Jaume I (Castelló, Spain).

Her work appears in journals such as European Journal of Cultural Studies, Science Fiction Studies, Feminist Media Studies, International Journal of Iberian Studies etc.

She has been a Visiting Scholar at London School of Economics, Goldsmiths-University of London, and Columbia University, among others. She recently published with Routledge the compilations Gender-Based Violence in Latin American and Iberian Cinemas (2020, with R. Maseda and B. Zecchi) and Re-Writing Women as Victims (2019, with S. Núñez and E. Gómez).

Second Talk:

  • Speakers: Sonia Núñez Puente, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and Diana Fernández Romero, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
  • Topic: The Ethical Dimension of Testimonies on Sexist Violence in the Digital Environment as a Space for Discursive Dispute
  • Talk in Spanish with interpreter available

The digital space is configured, in Spain, as a place of dispute of discourses around sexist violence.

In this environment, the first-person testimonies of women suffering violence collide with those articulating online misogyny.

We are interested in exploring how feminist proposals in the fight against violence are articulating innovative ways to communicate and explore the ethical dimension of these transformative ways of narrating.

Sonia Núñez Puente is Professor of Gender and Media at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid, Spain).

Her research focuses on the analysis of social media and the transformation of cultural violence. She has led national and international research and development projects on feminist digital activism and gender-based violence.

She has been a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and a lecturer at Vanderbilt University (USA).

She has been a Visiting Scholar at The University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), The University of Coimbra (Portugal), The University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany), among others.

She holds a PhD in Communications. She is a senior lecturer in Communications and Media at Rey Juan Carlos University (Madrid, Spain).

Her research interests include Discourse Analysis, Communication and Gender, Gender-based Violence and Digital Feminist Activism.

She has been Visiting Researcher at Birkbeck, University of London, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin or Università di Bologna.

Her recent research has been published in journals like Journal of Gender Studies, Feminist Media Studies, Social Science Computer Review, Feminist Theory and European Journal of Women’s Studies.

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