The Maternal Matrix: Patriarchal Representations of Motherhood in Contemporary Spanish Cultural Production




Brody, Rachel

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From the unprecedented sexual and political emancipation during Spain’s Second Republic to the reimposition of hyper-traditional gender roles during Francisco Franco's regime to the radical redefinition of the contemporary maternal model, the conceptualization of motherhood has been continuously written and rewritten. Despite this evolution, motherhood remains the defining characteristic of what it means to be a woman. This thesis explores the portrayal of motherhood in Spanish literature, cinema, and media. Chapter Two surveys the historical progression of motherhood in Spain and introduces key theories of motherhood. Chapters Three and Four analyze Mercè Rodoreda's novel The Time of the Doves and del Castillo’s film Techo y Comida, unveiling the enduring societal pressure, maternal guilt, and psychological trauma that normative motherhood perpetuates. Chapter Five explores contemporary countercultural depictions of motherhood, which I argue are symptomatic manifestations of patriarchal mandates. Overall, this thesis underscores the need for nuanced representations of motherhood that embrace diverse experiences and challenge the imposition of patriarchal constructs.