The feminism of an antifeminist in Carmen Martín Gaite's Cuadernos de todo

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Abstract:

In the 1960s Carmen Martín Gaite (1925–2000) began writing what she called her 'cuadernos de todo', one of her main preoccupations during this period being the situation of women and the family in society. However, the author always rejected the 'feminist' label, to the extent that she even called herself an 'antifeminist'. In this article, I examine the first 'cuadernos de todo', focusing on the author's ideas about women in society. Drawing on Julia Kristeva's (1986) article 'Women's time', I indicate the emergence in Martín Gaite's notebooks of some of the ideas that would be part of the second wave of the 1970s feminism that Kristeva's work helped to catalyse. Even though ideas of 'difference feminism' did not reach Spain until much later, I will argue that Martín Gaite nonetheless 'proposed' a new kind of feminism, different from the man/woman dichotomy upon which much second wave feminism rested, a polyphonic feminism where women could, on the one hand, embrace maternity and, yet, on the other, envisage other social roles.
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