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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Defining Fascist Versatility: The Feminine Figure in the Greek Extreme Right

European Politics
Political Violence
Southern Europe
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Modern extreme right remains a political space that mainly draws support from men. The praise of violence and masculinity as well as the return of woman in her ‘mother’ role are usual concepts of the radical right narrative. However more and more women support extreme political views.
The Greek Golden Dawn has achieved to attract a significant portion of support from women. Golden Dawn has as its cornerstone the glorification of masculinity and the devaluation of woman through a traditionalistic concept that views woman as a mother and claims her return in home. At the same time however it claims that women should have an active role in the struggle for the national rebirth and depicts woman as an active nationalist fighter.
In this paper I examine the ideological structure of the feminine figure that is portrayed by Golden Dawn as a ‘mother’ but also as a ‘fighter’. The methodology includes the analysis of interviews, texts and web references of Golden Dawn activists, both Parliament members and simple members.
I attempt to answer two main questions:
a) How does it manage to adapt its narrative in order to overcome the conflicting nature of these two roles and include women in its ultra- masculine narrative?
b) What are the ideological elements that allow Golden Dawn to form its theoretical structure in a way that it can surpass the discrepancies between its masculinity praise and the concept of a strong feminine figure?
My initial point of analysis is that fascism as a ‘way of political behavior’ forms its theoretical structure by taking every ideological element that can be used effectively. These elements can be drawn from different political directions. It combines them, adjusts its discourse and forms a versatile narrative that can be adapted to the changes of the political landscape. This process requires constant ideological borrowings. It also inevitably leads to discrepancies between its rhetoric and actions.
Following this concept of thought, we notice that the elements that are used for this structure are based on pre- existing norms. Golden Dawn’s discourse depicts modern feminism as the main enemy of woman. It claims that feminism was imposed to her by the capitalist economy in order to transform her into a mindless, consuming object (an anti-capitalist rhetoric obviously borrowed by the Left and adapted to extreme right narratives). Thus she must return to her ‘mother’ role. The simultaneous depiction as a ‘fighter’ is relied on nationalist myths about Greek women who participated in the 1821 revolution against Ottoman Empire. However there is no mention of the women who took part in the Greek- Italian war and the Resistance.
Finally, it attempts to overcome the inevitable discrepancies with the blurry notion that the gender antagonism is also imposed by the forces of globalization and capitalism in order to destroy the notion of family and consequently nations. Thus, it claims that the only way to reverse this process is the return of radical nationalism.
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