"The story of the proceso, from the military's point of view, was a story framed by two bad women. It began with the pathetic Isabelita and ended with the castrating Margaret Thatcher who humiliated the Armed Forces in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas War. The self-referential and auto-erotic nature of the Junta's representation and the repression of the 'feminine' in the military discourse should not mislead us to think that women were absent from the scenario. Both the 'feminine'--the image of Woman constructed in patriarchy--and women were vital parts of the drama. Women made up one-third of the 'disappeared.' As university students and community workers, they seemingly posed a threat the military endeavor. Women also joined armed resistance movements, though they were largely absent from leadership positions. (In fact, women in these movements were usually treated with the same sexist contempt they encountered in other social spheres.) The Junta's mythic spectacle simultaneously glorified the 'feminine'--particularly in the image of the Patria or Motherland--and targeted active women who resisted or transgressed their assigned role in the social drama.
The good woman, the Patria, was the very image of love and collective harmony. However, the word Patria, meaning 'belonging to or possessed by the Father,' already indicates the profound misogyny of the concept. Patria, a feminine term for nationhood, is entangled with patriarchy. The Patria is the image of ideal woman that unites the glorious military males. The feminine ideal, the Patria, mediated the auto-eroticism of the military's performance. The Armed Forces obsessively conjured up the symbolic 'Woman' to keep their homosocial society from becoming a homosexual one. The military men came together in the heterosexual language of 'love' of the Patria. While the feminine may be reduced to a site of communication and exchange between men, she is nonetheless indispensable to ward off feelings of homoerotic intimacy. Thus, the word itself alerts us to the slippery positioning of the 'feminine' in this discourse. There is no woman behind the maternal image invoked by the military. The absenting of woman from Patria constitutes one of the many disappearing acts of this drama. The maternal is merely the projection of the masculinist version of maternity---patriarchy in drag."