Salvador de Madariaga's La jirafa sagrada (The Sacred Giraffe)

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Salvador de Madariaga's La jirafa sagrada (The Sacred Giraffe)

Amidst the fight for women’s suffrage in Spain, Salvador de Madariaga wrote The sacred giraffe, being the second volume of the posthumous works of Julio. In 1925, the time the book was published, women in the United States and much of Europe had secured the right to vote while those in Spain still remained in the fight. Madariaga an active politician as well as a writer sets up his novel as a world turned upside down. The humorous account of a make believe world where women have switched places with men depict the seemingly backwards society as a relative utopia based on peoples attitudes, rather than its social structure.

The sacred giraffe starts out with a science
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Madariaga pulls out all the stops in this satire, poking fun of the simple practice of blowing one’s nose into a toilet (i.e. handkerchief ) in public, as well as the religious order known as The Silent Bees. The ranking of degrees in their religion is based on a vow of silence with the additional factor that "it had been noticed that the tendency to break the vow was weakest with the heaviest servants…The most eminent of them, who was, of course, the heaviest, occupied a place of special dignity. She was The Queen Bee… During the whole night and most of the day she slept"(137-138). In the Ebonite Utopia their religion is arbitrarily based, but still serves the purpose of supplying divine advice provided the supplicant "Honour the Silent Bees, And don’t forget their fees"(148, the 7th Law of the Silent Order).

The most noticeable feature of this Utopia is the reversed roles of male and female. Much like the Amazons, the Ebonite women have taken on the public functions traditionally held by men. Ultimately it is the woman who chooses her male mate including marriage when the bride’s family buys the groom from his family. This bears some resemblance to the Amazonian practice of taking any male they wanted while copulating on the nearby hill. A more evolved community based on

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