In his presentation of the upcoming Pipol congress, its director, Guy Poblome, emphasises that the term patriarchy – long in disuse – is « now coming back with renewed strength » from the approaches born in American universities. Its impact is felt in various disciplines and fields, he mentions, among others, the neo-feminist struggles.
What does the « neo » bring from our perspective? I believe that we are facing a new spiral, according to Jacques-Alain Miller’s proposal, when he invites us to think of a spiral temporality – as an alternative to the « ahistoricism of the USA » – since it allows us to knot the return and the new.
We start from Lacan’s first conceptualisation, in 1938, when he states that « the origins of our own culture are too closely linked to […] the adventure of the paternalistic family for it not to impose a prevalence of the male principle », and he specifies: « this preference should have a reverse side: fundamentally it is the hidden existence beneath the masculine ideal of the feminine principle ». Conceiving history as a spiral makes it possible to sift certain scans around the feminine principle and its heretical character, through its irruptions in culture and politics. It is not a question of exegesis, nor of chronology, but of a complex, multifactorial weaving around the essential mystery of femininity.
It is in this context that an event of great importance in the history of the early twentieth century took place: the existence of the Sinsombrero, the living sign of women who took the public square and won the recognition of their contemporaries: artists, writers, philosophers, lawyers, journalists, actresses, translators, publishers.
One day Maruja Mallo was walking along with Dalí, Margarita Manso and García Lorca, when they decided to take off their hats (at that time a sign of social status and feminine modesty) to avoid the collapse of thought. They were met with stones and booing. It was the beginning of what Ramón Gómez de la Serna, in 1930 defined as follows: « The phenomenon of sinsombrerismo is broader and more significant than it seems. It was the end of an era, as it was throwing the wigs overboard. It means readiness to understand and to decide, affinity in the horizons that are being crossed, longing for new laws and new permissions, entry into the new kinematics of life, never leaving the head on the rack, never turning off the lights of acceptance, to go bravely along the paths of life, to unmask oneself, to be a little surreal ».
In those years their voices transmitted the contagious desire for change that made them meet at the Lyceum Club to study, talk, design pedagogical projects, actively participate in politics. However, in the peculiar spiral that is woven in our time, the legitimate clamor for the recovery of their legacy by neo-feminism slips into a continuity, a linear history that could be compensated, as if their struggle to gain a foothold and conquer « new laws and new permissions » – asserting the feminine principle – could be completed and resumed with their memory.
In my opinion, a certain ahistoricism contaminates these proposals. In order to carry out a critical and fair analysis, I propose to distinguish several forms of patriarchy, some, permeable to its feminine backlash, and others, like Franco’s, that proclaiming the death of intelligence, usurping power with military orders and in alliance with the Church, sowed terror, extirpated the cultural and political achievements of the Sinsombrero and their companions of the Republic.
Taking this into account would help us to pinpoint the peculiar way in which neo-feminisms are inserted in each cultural community, in the face of the different patriarchies that stand out in this first quarter of the 21st century characterized by a « capitalist discourse, with its curious copulation with [techno]science ».
* TN Sinsombrero in English translates as The Hatless women.
 Poblome, G., Argument for PIPOL 11 – Clinic and Critique of Patriarchy. Blog Nobodaddy Pipol 11, available on internet.
 Miller, J.-A., Polémica Política, textos recopilados por Andrés Borderías [Political Polemic, texts compiled by Andrés Borderías], Barcelona, Editorial Gredos S.A., 2021.
 Lacan, J., La familia, Barcelona, Editorial Argonauta, 1979, p. 141. [Los subrayados son del autor]. Free translation.
 TN Sinsombrerismo – in English translates as Hatlessism.
 Ramón Gómez de la Serna, «En, por, sin, sobre el sinsombrerismo. TN [In, by, without, about Hatlessism]», El Sol, 24/8/1930 in Tània Balló, Las Sinsombrero, Barcelona, Espasa Libros, 2016, p. 34.
 Lacan, J., The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, book XVI, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, New York – London, W. W. Norton Company, 2007, p. 110.
Translation: Ana Inés Bertón
Revised by: Linda Clarke
Picture : © Ateliers d’Art de la Baraque