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A fragmentary investigation about misogyny and violence during the Belle Èpoque


The project explores the form of antifeminist discourse through stories of women which have been abused or accused during the last quarter of the 19th century and early 20th century in Spain.

Photobook edited during RPS PHOTOBOOK MASTERCLASS 2019 at Reminders Photography Stronghold, Tokio, with Teun Van der Heijden, Sandra van der Doelen and Yumi Goto and Masaru Goto.






prologue




At the end of the 19th century, different theories were developed in the scientific arena, that presents and reinforce the classical ideas about the inferiority of women because of their anatomy, through scientific methodology. Adultery, abortion, desobedience and prostitution were the tipical  female “crimes”.  A part of the medical science along with the law system and the press were accomplices and partly responsibles for the criminalization of women’s bodies and their sexuality.


Fig(s).





The names of imprisoned or murdered women appear irregularly in the events sections of the Spanish press in the late 19th and early 20th century, a period known as the “Belle Epoque”. The acts committed against them changed their social status from citizen to guilty, from living person to dead or from free to imprisoned. They are shown in the press as isolated and often justified episodes. More than a hundred years after these events happened, their stories have re-emerged from the same place where they were deposited. Their status as women transgressors of the line that marked the limit between what is allowed and what is prohibited, has positioned them somewhere in the “archive machine”. To what remains of it, almost ironically, they owe their existence.





1889, Victorina R.





Victorina was murdered by her husband, with a tool, in the morning of 19th June, 1889. During the trial against the agresor, she was accused of adulteress. Forensic doctors contributed to this idea. The evidences extracted from the victim's body during the autopsy, they said, indicated that she was a hysterical woman who was driven away by erotic passions.






1911, Mariana L.




Mariana was murdered by her husband, with a knife, on the street. During the trial against the agresor, he accused her of being an adulteress and a prostitute. Days before the murder, she was detained by the police because she run away from him.






1912, Josefa T.




Josefa was murdered by her boss while she was working. There was no trial. He killed himself after the murder. Rumors came up acusing her of being his mistress, but an autopsy confirmed that she couldn’t be his lover because she was a virgin






1898, Felisa G.; Mª del Amparo.




Mª del Amparo was accused of having practice an abortion to Felisa, a 18 years old girl. The two of them were detained and imprisoned. There is no certainty about to what medical and ginecologycal examination Felisa was submited.






1890, Francisca M. ; Tomasa V.




Francisca and Tomasa were accused and imprisoned due to a rumors. Francisca gave birth to a dead child. Her friend, Tomasa was with her when she gave birth. They were accused of adulteress and infanticide. 







1912 Enriqueta M.




Enriqueta was accused of kidnapping a child. After she was imprisoned, while waiting for the trial, the accusations increased. Her house was examined, her clothes, her books as well as her body. Several times gynecologists came into the cell, where she was imprisoned, to examined her.





Josefa, Victorina, Mariana, Enriqueta, Felisa, Amparo, Francisca and Tomasa are the protagonists of this project. Their particular stories provide information. They are like mirrors: would I be like them if I have lived 130 years ago? Their stories, in a individual and collective way, represent the submission to patriarchal hegemony, misogynistic ideas and the crisis of thinking in the matter of women, which takes place during the “Belle Epoque”.










epilogue










The project has been posible thanks to the collaboration of: Museo de Anatomia Javier Puerta UCM, Madrid (A); Museo Olavide, Madrid (O); Institut d’Historia de la Ciencia i la Medicina Lòpez Piñero, Valencia (M);  Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London (G); Museo di Antropologia criminale Cesare Lombroso, Torino (L); Museo del Calzado José Maria Amat Amer, Elda (C); Museu de la Perruqueria Raffel Pagès, Barcelona (P).

El proyecto ha sido posible gracias a la colaboración de: Museo de Anatomia Javier Puerta UCM, Madrid (A); Museo Olavide, Madrid (O); Institut d’Historia de la Ciencia i la Medicina Lòpez Piñero, Valencia (M);  Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London (G); Museo di Antropologia criminale Cesare Lombroso, Torino (L); Museo del Calzado José Maria Amat Amer, Elda (C); Museu de la Perruqueria Raffel Pagès, Barcelona (P).


Photobook, 18x25 cm.
Colour and black and white film negative: 6x6cm, 4,5x6cm, 35mm.
Archival materials.


Copyright © 2020 Ana Lorente. All rights reserved.