This article examines the gendered construction of power during the reign of Isabel of Castile (1474-1504). The construction of her political legitimacy was based on her manipulation of her gender and sexuality intended to contrast with the perceived shortcomings of her brother, Enrique IV. Enrique's critics had impugned his sexuality and attacked his inability to deliver Spain into a golden age. By aligning Isabel with sexually chaste models and emphasizing her ability to redeem Spain both because of and despite her gender, Isabel's partisans crafted an image that allowed her to transcend the misogynist tropes that attacked female rule.
Lehfeldt, Elizabeth, "Ruling Sexuality: The Political Legitimacy of Isabel of Castile" (2000). History Faculty Publications. 7.
Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt, "Ruling Sexuality: The Political Legitimacy of Isabel of Castile," Renaissance Quarterly 53 no. 1 (2000): 31-56.
© 2000 by University of Chicago Press. Available on publisher's site at http://www.jstor.org/stable/2901532.