Wednesday, February 2, 2011

history makes you silent

Behind every successful man there is always a woman, right?

I am not the biggest feminist in the planet, but something clicked my heart today. I went to an open lecture at Adult Education Centre that is here in Fuengirola.  You can find many courses there.. from languages to zumba, from guitarr lessons to philosophy.  And then they have once a week these open lectures. Today was " History of Women in Spain". The lady who was the lecturer is a respected researcher, has been studying culture and history here in Spain for years. She has also written some publications herself as well.  So, she had her facts clear and ready.

 I must say.. I did know something about "Franco's fascist times" - but seriously not enough. I didnt  check or read anything before the lecture about this issue. So it kinda hit me hard.

Women here in Spain had absolutely no rights for decades! And Im not talking about times hundreds of years ago.. I mean just recently. With my liberal scandi-roots, I find this crazy!

I took a lot of notes there... I have decided I do not want to get involved too much on politics here, but this I really want to tell about! This lecture was in Finnish so there are lots of words and terms etc I dont know how to say in English, so, Im using google translate for some terms and phrases.. hope its not all silly!

This lovely woman, our lecturer , was telling few things about the society as well, the living conditions and how middle class was born etc, but I am more fascinated about the womens rights that were all taken away by a fascist lunatic ( ok, my opinion).
If you want to know more, ask me, I send you links and details.

also- must keep in mind that this is a deeply religious country, church has had A LOT to say about everything throughout the history. It is the catholic women, that went and is still going to church everyday, who has kept the church alive and as powerful as it is, not just yesterday but today as well.

Around year 1900, I think the living conditions must have been pretty much the same all over Europe. If you were rich with aristocratic roots, you sat at your pretty home and painted flowers and lived under strict "moral rules"... If you were living in the countryside, you milked your cows and took care of the family, right?  So, no big difference in that,  Spain was the same too. Around these times the "women rights movement" started all over, here as well. And was pretty ok until Franco's time. Between 1931-1939 all was equal and women had the same rights as men to study, to vote, to go to work.. whatever. During those years all the Education was separated from the Church. This made it possible for women to study as well, and the material was not just "biblical". Also Civil Marriages became possible. 1931 came a law that said everyone, over 23yrs had a right to vote. Not just men.

Suffragettes -"womens rights" movement got started here BIG time 1918 from a thought that was in the air and inside the culture, "the macho-culture".

This was written all over and a common believe:
" a woman is not a perfect creature, just a reproductive tool. It is the man who is intellectual, who spreads the knowledge and improvements and intelligence". This was justified with Aristotele's sayings, Medicine and Bible. -"because woman was created from Adam's ribs she is a poor quality copy and she has her periods to prove it. Her body cant handle any of the waste products. Man can burn all his waste, but women not." - All kind of crazy sayings- and women mostly accepted this.
What the priest said- was all true.

These women in the 20's and 30's were productive, they even had their on publication until 1936 and got it through the parliament, already at early stage in 20's, that women over 25yrs could vote if they wanted. However, most of the women with the movement were with Aristocrat or Bourgeois background.
Women in the countryside were not too interested in all this, simply had no time. And they thought all this was nonsense and things for the madams who had nothing better to do. So they did not use their rights at all before the year 1931.

.. then came Franco. 1939.

and changed it all back to year 1888 or something. He took all the rights away from women. I mean ALL!  Women were not allowed to do anything. They belonged to men. Men could do anything they wanted. It was A LAW that women must look pretty and good all the time. They had rules what to wear and how to behave. And if women did not do this, man had every right to find mistresses as many as he wanted. Men seriously owned the women and could do with them anything they pleased.

Franco came up with this crazy idea. Servico Social. A Woman School. All women had to attend this school, 3 months in school and 3 months practice. In this school they learned all kinds of things how to handle everyday life and how to become a good woman. After this period of 6months, if they passed tests they got a certificate! and IF you did not have this certificate, you could not get passport, driver's license, marriage license- you were nothing- nada.

Can you believe that??? I find this mad!!!

Franco sent trucks and buses to countryside to teach women all this as well. Ok, was great that they were teaching how to read and write to women, but what can you do when all you can read is the bible and some fascist publications?  In year 1978 there was still 81 trucks and buses driving around the country, teaching women how to become a good catholic woman. c r a z y.

 I was 4yrs old that year, my big sister was in school in Finland already.

Teachers in these schools were mostly nuns. Also, there are still many many women today who cant read and write at all. These schools were run by a woman! She was a daughter of a general, a previous Dictator at the 20's. Also "rightwing" men. This daughter was so into the fascist movement,  that she wanted to marry Hitler, and not just wanted. She was going to marry Hitler, but then found out Hitler was shot in his balls during some warfight and could not have kids ( thanks god ) - so this marriage never happened. However, somehow this woman was so disappointed and in love with Hitler that she never married anyone else either.

I was also told that few years after the civil war, when Franco started all this madness. Women in villages and little cities that had been on "left " side, not fascists, were tortured and disgraced, some guys just went to villages, undressed them naked, shaved their heads and put them to sit there naked so that all the "right-side" people could go and mock at them. And for sure, rapes and all this violence was there too. Men were just shot. Simple and fast.- But women really suffered. Nowadays, there is a law, that IF you can prove you were a victim of this Political Cleansing- you can apply for a compensation from the government. Compensation of 1800euros. one thousand eight hundred euros for years of  pain!?? is nothing. - The lady who was our lecturer told us that most of the women have not applied for this, simply because these memories are so painful they do not want to think about it.

in 1960's Franco got a new idea, or some of his men. They started building "new neighbourhoods" - a blocks. Apparments for small families and big families, but families. And inside all these apparment blocks where all the services, food, bakery, butcher, haridresser.. all of it. AND because all the services was there.. women were not aloud to leave that block. No excuses to leave, since, what do you need outside? - and here I go, taking buses and metros and planes to where ever I want. Never crossed my mind that a man would tell me " I am not aloud" - but this was allover, so why would one woman want differently, all women were there and it was their life. Maybe this is the reason why little shops are so well kept and alive here still today? you use the ones in you block and thats it? I don't know..

Also, because of course, Franco loved Hitler and his ideas. He wanted to turn Spaniards into Aryans. Blonde was the thing. Here is a "child star" Marisol, from those years. She is still alive and lives here in Malaga. A superstar nowadays.. she has done many movies and tv programmes.

Dont you think this is all just crazy?? well.. now I understand why I never see any other women here on streets than just gorgeous beauties. They still are all amazingly well done with make-up and hair and  appearance- always.

Our lecturer also briefed us with some latest statics as well.. whats happening now. Franco died 1975 and new laws started coming out little by little.

- 2005 finally came a law that divorces are fast and everyone can have it- except from church, it is still impossible to divorce in the eyes of the church- but- your marriage can be invalitated. 38 marriages were invalitated last year.  People divorced the most here in Andalucia, is it the sun..or?

- women earn in general 22% less salary than men from the same jobs. 10% of women earned the minimum wage that is 633.33euros per month last year.

-everyone that is over 16yrs can choose to have an abortion. And- this is still a big big issue-. Lots of people against this law. The biggest against it,  of course,  is the church.

-prostitution is legal, around 400 000 thousand women works in brothels. These whorehouses are checked by the police. Nobody knows how many works on the streets. Last year someone did a survey and 99% of the women said they do it freely, because of the money. There are unions for prostitutes that are huge. Just couple months ago came out a law that moved hookers for more than 200m from living complexes, in real life, they were moved to Polignos, industrial areas. No factories though, but these areas where you can find Baumhaus, Ikea, car repair shops, car dealers, furniture shops etc- but where nobody lives-and ever since all these unions have been having demonstrations- for safer work grounds- when they were moved outside the city, also bad people came there. Also its cold and they need to burn bornfires to keep warm.
- So, who is right and who is wrong? It is the worlds oldest profession.

 Our lovely lecturer was also giving us statistics about home violence, and social securities etc.. but these figures are not really " spanish" since they are highly influenced by immigrants from Morocco, Philippines, South America..

By the time all the turism started here, especially Skandinavian countries started to fly over here like abang! Can you imagine;  at that time. It was a law here that no-one should be seen at the beach wearing only swimwear. People had to wear bathrobes or dresses or something to cover themselves. And then big planes started to bring here liberal beautiful swedish women on tiny little bikinis, drinking on daytime, flirting with every man.. these men went crazy here!! And, they had the bloody law on their side, they could get any lovers they wanted. So I can only imagine how many local families suffered during those years.. The lecturer lady showed us some old fotos and covers of newspapers from that time. Caricatures of swedish women on small bikini's and big titties.. with a story- swedes came over- or something.  It was also forbidden to show any emotions on the streets, no kissing or hugging.

 Wow, isin't it??

I have been thinking about this all day today.. comparing for instance my mothers life to a woman her age here in Spain. My mom had a career and studied and did what she wanted. And happily just retired after years of great life. How different can worlds be: we are still The Europe, Civilization. And its not sooo many thousands of kilometer's from Helsinki to Barcelona.

girls, what you think??

I raise my hat to all the Spanish Women! I also think, this is nobody's fault.. things happen and this was one part of the Spanish History. Happenings should never be judged by present standards, and I definitely do not want to judge anyone.

Just wanted to share what I heard today.

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