You Are What You Eat: The Gendered Politics of Francoist Nutrition

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 3:50 PM
Virginia Suite A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Suzanne Dunai, University of California, San Diego
One of the strongest examples of ideological influence into everyday life through Franco’s food policy is the insertion of gender politics into the distribution of household food. Much of Franco’s food regulation had a direct impact on how Spanish women lived their lives. The rationing program implemented 1939-1943 was issued “family style” so that only male heads of households could receive the ration coupons. Women received 20% less food than men as a way to further enforce the patriarchal structures glorified by the regime. Women had some recourse in that it was largely women who went shopping in the markets and it was women who cooked the food in the home. The whole family’s rations went together into the family pot, but the patriarchal distribution of food was often reiterated in the serving of the family meal. Medical experts found that gendered divisions in food provisioning caused gendered trends in malnutrition and disease. Women’s legal access to food only increased during pregnancy and lactation, thus reinforcing the regime’s pro-natalist policies. For women to qualify for additional food, they had to subject their bodies to the review of medical doctors and the state. In this manner, patriarchy motivated the distribution of the state’s resources and the regime used its food supply to indoctrinate the Spanish population with ultra-conservative ideology.This paper will further explore how the regime infused gender ideology into its policy and its goals for using food as a conduit to coerce the Spanish body. Franco’s food policy was not implemented in a uniform or totalitarian way, but aspects of food provisioning demonstrated gendering goals of the regime.
See more of: Starving Women’s Bodies
See more of: AHA Sessions