There’s been some (but not enough) talking in Italy, in the last week, because not one, not two, but three different shows on national television (Rai) were based on the trope ‘sexual assault that was faked by the victim’. Many associations complained, but the conversation never really broke through to the really ‘decisional’ areas of politics (say, the parliament, or any of the major parties). But it’s always the woman’s fault isn’t it. She was wearing a tight skirt, is the point. She was drunk, is relevant.
One of the reasons why I left the country in the first place is the somewhat backward culture when it comes to inclusion: diversity is still not seen as a resource. Of course, I reckon that the cultural and historical factors change immensely between English-speaking countries, and Italy. I mean, we did try colonialism in the last century, but slavery was a major factor only millennia ago (this might be superficial, I reckon, if we consider the internal slavery systems present in Capitalism, which rely on enslaving based on class, rather than other -isms. However, this is not a topic I’d wish to explore now). This could probably be a reason why the convo re: skin colour is not really felt in Italy: we are indeed prone to evaluate one’s worth from the colour of their skin, but that’s not even the real problem-the real problem is that we barely talk about it. Blackface is not really a thing, in Italy-we don’t see the problem with it. I did not myself. It’s much more heartfelt here, for historical reasons. Don’t get me wrong, racism indeed exists in the UK, but it’s fiercely contrasted by the media, for instance. It’s part of the conversation. People of all walks of life supposedly are allowed any jobs. It’s not the same in my hometown.
The same goes for sexism: I can see sexism here, and I could see it back in Italy too. The difference is, over there it’s not even part of the conversation. The numbers are incredible, like everywhere else for that matter: 21% of women have been harrassed in some form *. Like, I’ve had 5 girlfriends in my lifetime, at least one of them has been harrassed sooner of later: quite cringy uh.
So I thought I’d start writing something about the topic. As ever, this is more to track moments in time, for myself, than for an actual audience.
My starting point about all -isms is what I call the Leonardo da Vinci Paradox (or the ‘[insert your favourite incredible human being here] paradox’, whatever): Leonardo lived during the Renaissance, let’s say around 1,500. In that period, the access to advanced studies, a meal to go back home to so that you didn’t have to gather or hunt it yourself, freedom, rights, contacts, and what we now consider basic privileges, were only granted if you were:
- I might be forgetting points but you get the gist
This would ridiculously diminish the possibility of someone finding themselves in the condition to skill up so much that they’d paint the Ultima cena, or anticipate flying objects by centuries, or advance anatomical knowledge, etc. Now let’s assume that there are as many women as there are men, in the world (it’s actually more than that). Let’s say 50/50%. Were women allowed the same life as men, we’d have had not one but TWO Leonardo’s; TWO Einstein’s; TWO Newton’s; TWO Laplace’s. Can you imagine where we humans would be in that scenario?
And what if we also included non-white people? LGBTQ+? What if we did not value one religion as a necessity to study at our schools (and this is still the case in many countries, including Italy, including the kindergartens (!!))?
So this is to say: the idea that women having more rights will hurt men, is laughable: not only will it not hurt men, but it’ll be actually beneficial. Working towards respecting other people no matter what, is more important than we realise.
Imagine the wonderful things we could do, if we could all study, and travel, and work, and do with our bodies as we please.
BTW, if you know the Italian language, or are learning it, Il Post is THE ONE AND ONLY online resource you should read: many mainstream newspapers are bog roll at best