Title

Masculinity’s Dilemma in Spanish “Sexy” Comedies

Subject Area

Spanish Peninsular Studies

Abstract

While art-house cinema and homosexuality-themed films had no compunction about demonstrating the weakness and breakdown of the traditional patriarchy in the 1970s, popular film struggled to accommodate changing social mores without endangering heterosexist notions of masculinity. By moving toward an ideal of self-indulgence and consumption in an increasingly consumerist society, the male character moved dangerously close to that which had been thought to be the realm of women. The problem became how to justify adherence to the new consumer dictate without compromising one’s masculinity under the previous system of prohibition as depicted most vividly in crusade cinema in the 1940s. Encouraging men to consume as promoted in the explosion of television advertising and other media in the 1960s and 1970s implied a rapid reversal of an age-old prohibition against male self-indulgence and consumption—as represented in earlier films of the dictatorship. In film after film of the so-called “sexy Spanish comedy” the solution to this dilemma seems to be a focus on the consumption of female bodies as “obvious” assurance that the protagonist, no matter what his interest in material goods and self-indulgence, is most definitely heterosexual. The “destape” or uncovering of the nude body (almost exclusively the female nude body) in the 1970s provided a comic way to present a fundamental shift in values.The incredible popularity of sexually-oriented films is evidenced by the fact that in 1978 five out of the top 10 box office movie successes were sex-themed (McNair 92).

Brief Bio Note

Mary Hartson is an Associate Professor of Spanish at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She has published on literature and film from Spain including her recent book. Casting Masculinity in Spanish Film: Negotiating Identity in a Consumer Age (2017), in which she explores the interaction between economic changes in Spain and masculinity’s representation.

Keywords

masculinity, spanish film, sexy comedy, consumerism, alfredo landa, Transition, gender

Location

Room 210

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

4-5-2018 11:05 AM

Embargo

11-5-2017

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Apr 5th, 11:05 AM

Masculinity’s Dilemma in Spanish “Sexy” Comedies

Room 210

While art-house cinema and homosexuality-themed films had no compunction about demonstrating the weakness and breakdown of the traditional patriarchy in the 1970s, popular film struggled to accommodate changing social mores without endangering heterosexist notions of masculinity. By moving toward an ideal of self-indulgence and consumption in an increasingly consumerist society, the male character moved dangerously close to that which had been thought to be the realm of women. The problem became how to justify adherence to the new consumer dictate without compromising one’s masculinity under the previous system of prohibition as depicted most vividly in crusade cinema in the 1940s. Encouraging men to consume as promoted in the explosion of television advertising and other media in the 1960s and 1970s implied a rapid reversal of an age-old prohibition against male self-indulgence and consumption—as represented in earlier films of the dictatorship. In film after film of the so-called “sexy Spanish comedy” the solution to this dilemma seems to be a focus on the consumption of female bodies as “obvious” assurance that the protagonist, no matter what his interest in material goods and self-indulgence, is most definitely heterosexual. The “destape” or uncovering of the nude body (almost exclusively the female nude body) in the 1970s provided a comic way to present a fundamental shift in values.The incredible popularity of sexually-oriented films is evidenced by the fact that in 1978 five out of the top 10 box office movie successes were sex-themed (McNair 92).