Mockery as a conservative instrument among libertarians: Pasquim's antifeminism

Rachel Soihet About the author

In the 1960s, amidst the counter-cultural revolution, women's rebellion emerged side by side with the struggle of North-American Blacks for civil rights and demonstrations against the Vietnam War. A new wave of Feminism broke out in the United States and in Europe, soon followed by a similar movement in Brazil. The women involved pointed to the separation between the public and the private, the personal and the political as a mystification, insisting that domination had a structural character, manifested in the relations of everyday life, and that such systematic character was obscured by the belief that it was the product of personal relations. At that time, Brazil was living under a military dictatorship, with some groups opposing such authoritarian regime and promoting cultural criticism. Mockery was their weapon, as especially illustrated by the members of the newspaper O Pasquim. Paradoxically, the mordacity of many of such writers was visited on women, those women who, fighting for their rights, assumed attitudes which broke with the traditional model of femininity and with established gender relations. They ridiculed militant women by means of labels such as masculine, ugly, bad-tempered, and even perverted and promiscuous, which generated a great response to their articles. We may infer from this attitude that there was a fear of loss of power in gender relations, which reveals a strong conservatism in men who otherwise were libertarians.

feminism; gender relations; personal/ political; mockery; conservatism

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