Ángel del hogar y perfecta casada / angel of the home and perfect wife: The construction of womanhood under the sección femenina during post-Spanish civil war Franco dictatorship 1939–1975

Author Identifier

Eveanna Fernandez


Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Arts and Humanities

First Supervisor

Panizza Allmark

Second Supervisor

Laura Glitsos


This is a creative PhD, in which my work as a visual artist provides a critical feminist response to the role of women during the Spanish Civil War and post-Franco period. I inform my creative practice, utilising qualitative research within a feminist cultural studies framework that engages with gendered cultural history, narratives, and family oral histories to convey women’s cultural experiences in Spain under the fascist Franco dictatorship (1939–1975). Womanhood during this time was defined and controlled by the Sección Femenina (Women’s Section), the women’s branch of the Falange, the sole political party during the Franco regime. This research focuses on the use of the female body as a cultural product through the practices and initiatives created by the Sección Femenina under the control of the Franco regime, reviving the traditional Catholic Spanish values from the imperial past in the reconstruction and unification of the ideal Spanish woman. These initiatives, echoing the ideologies of the Francoist ‘New State’, positioned women within the domestic space with the primary purpose and duty of becoming perfect wives and prolific mothers dedicated to family. Through my creative re-representation of Spanish motifs, icons, art and culture, and with my use of self-portraiture, I carry traces from the past forward into the present, forming art works that attempt to capture the essence of a Spanish identity and serve as cultural historical reminders. This work challenges and critiques the patriarchal ideologies of the past, dismantling the construction of Spanish womanhood to construct a space for intervention, activism and the voices of female histories that have been denied and silenced to be heard.



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