Falcón, Lidia

Falcón, Lidia
b. 1935, Madrid
   Feminist writer
   Lidia Falcón is the mother of contemporary Spanish feminism. She is both Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir in one: thinker, activist, novelist, dramatist, essayist and journalist, she has authored twenty books. Since the 1960s she has been Spain's most outspoken feminist. Her political activism and militant commitment to women earned her both public recognition and persecution by the Franco regime. She was arrested and jailed on numerous occasions and spent nine months in Madrid's Yeserías prison, accused of pro-ETA activity and implicated in both the assassination of Luis Carrero Blanco and the bombing of the Cafetería Rolando in Madrid, a spot frequented by the Civil Guard. She founded the magazine Vindicación Feminista (Feminist Vindication), the theoretical journal Poder y Libertad (Power and Freedom) and the publishing house Vindicación Feminista Publicaciones to encourage open debate, offer a feminist point of view on national and international issues and stimulate the creation of a feminist culture. Falcón's most dramatic contribution to Spanish feminism is founding the first feminist party in Spain, the Partido Feminista. Falcón's production is truly prodigious and still growing, comprising a serious theoretical exploration. Falcón writes scholarly, elaborately researched and thoughtful books that discuss the hard questions of contemporary feminist theory and political thought. She moves easily between fiction and non-fiction, and between a strong critique of inherent structures of male dominance found in Spanish society and a sense of optimism towards possibilities for future change. Her overtly feminist theatre dramatizes the plight of Spanish women, often taking its plot line from her own legal cases or from prominent cases reported in the press. For Falcón, feminism is the revolution of the 1990s, the only coherent political philosophy to lead us into the twenty-first century. The central question that is first posed in Mujer y sociedad (Women and Society) is why women, independently of their religious beliefs, geographic situation or the period in which they have lived, have found themselves and still find themselves without civil, political and social rights. Falcón continues to address this question and expand upon it in later tomes where she considers violence against women, women's relation to political power and the apoliticization of the feminist movement. One of Falcón's major contributions to Spanish feminism is the internationalization of its struggle. Her speaking engagements at academic centres throughout the United States and in other parts of the globe have served to present not only her controversial theses but also the Spanish female circumstance to new audiences. Tireless, she fights with the zeal of a true revolutionary, building daily on the acts of the past. Persistently maintaining women's issues in the public eye, Falcón continues to espouse vanguard positions that have yet to be embraced by the mainstream.
   Further reading
   - Waldman G.F. (1993) "Lidia Falcón O'Neill", in Spanish Women Writers: a Bio-bibliographical Source Book, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (thorough introduction to Falcón: biography, major themes, criticism and complete bibliography).
   GLORIA FEIMAN WALDMAN

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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