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6. The Tyranny of Beauty


The fact that women have the misfortune of being pretty, or of wanting to seem pretty without being so, has been one of the most effective means of controlling their bodies and lives. The imposition of the image of certain models of women has had and still does have pernicious effects not only because it has led to the construction of notions of femininity exclusively associated with cosmetics and superficiality, but also because it has affected their health.

Despite the dearth of resources that ample sectors of the population continued to suffer, the developmental policies promoted by the Franco government in the 1960s favoured the implementation of the consumer society and the dissemination of advertising images of women who took care of their bodies and admired the latest fashions from Paris. But with the arrival of democracy, economic growth and the massive influx of film and television products, the cult of appearance and the concern with losing weight became widespread. The feminist movement began to protest insistently against the ravages of anorexia and bulimia on women, especially teenagers.

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