A «new man» for a New State: The construction of masculinity within the Mocidade Portuguesa
Sociologia Universidade do Minho Braga, Portugal
The 1926 coup d'état has instituted in Portugal a dictatorial regime politically characterised as anti-liberal, anti-political parties, and anti-parliamentary, the Estado Novo [New Sate]. Its swift, though gradual consolidation has aimed from the start to indoctrinate the nation in the regime`s ideals. In this sense, several organisations have been created to support such goal, among which the Mocidade Portuguesa (M.P.) [Portuguese Youth], founded in 1936. Initially, the MP was an exclusively male organisation, and only one and a half year later was created its female counterpart, the Mocidade Portuguesa Feminina [Feminine Portuguese Youth]. The affiliation in the MP was mandatory to all boys between 7 and 14 years old (the Lusitos and the Infantes, respectively), and their training rested on the objectives proclaimed when the organisation was created: physical training, moral formation, and devotion to the Homeland. These principles were to be accomplished and undertaken through the establishment in schools of «instruction centres» where boys were to be formed. As a formative complement, several publications were also created (O Jornal da MP, O Guião, O Camarada, Pisca-Pisca, O Boletim da MP, among others) that aimed to inculcate the regime`s ideals. Since the ideology of the Estado Novo rested on the valuation and promotion of gender dimorphism, and their «natural» inequality proclaimed, the boys` training clearly departed from that of girls. So, whereas the first were educated to manage their «natural» leadership and head-of-the-family appetencies, the latter were trained in obedience to husbands and in domesticity. In this communication, we intend to analyse the configuration of that masculinity ideal within the MP based on a content analysis of two of the organization`s publications, Guião, a doctrinarian magazine for leaderships, and the comics magazine O Camarada, designed to reach all boys. Results show that the mechanisms used by the regime in the construction of a Man who was supposed to be new rested on two fundamental clauses: first, an ideological cut from the recent (liberal) past; and second, the extinction of the «I» in detriment of the «We».