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8. The Broken Woman: Violence and Patriarchy


Since the late 1960s, gender violence has become a central issue in the feminist political agenda and art practices. The virulence and universality of the phenomenon (battered women, organized rapes in armed conflicts, sexualization of torture, genital mutilation practices…) seemed to indicate that violence against women and other sexual minorities did not constitute an inexplicable anomaly, but was in fact a structural component of patriarchy.

In Spain, it was not until the terrible murder of Ana Orantes, who was burned alive by her husband in 1997, that public opinion began to place importance on the problem, which had previously been relegated to the realm of “privacy”. However, as several of the works in this room suggest, violence does not only directly affect bodies, but also functions on a symbolic level: children’s games, advertising imagery and folklore are some of the areas in which sexual violence is re-enacted day after day.

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