giovedì 14 febbraio 2013

Something different

Today I'm writing about something different than usual.
I'm not really in the mood for talking about clothes, for several reasons, so I thought I might share something that's been really bothering me these days: I hope you won't mind if I'll leave clothes aside for once and free some space for some feminist talk.
I know my readers are intelligent young women who take concern over gender equality, so I'd like to share my thoughts about something that recently happened in my country.

So, there a preface to be made: Italy's having elections. I'm not going to talk about this specifically 'cause the whole thing is starting to really get to my nerves, and I can't stand to see those faces on tv anymore, let alone talking about them. Oh, and then we have the Pope's side adventure, you know - for those who don't know: he resigned, so there's another election in the Vatican.
There are the elections, and the candidates are campaigning. So it happened that Silvio Berlusconi (I guess I don't have to explain who he is, and I don't mean it in a good way) was making a speech in a firm of a friend of his, and he called a woman on the stage to talk to her.
I don't know exactly what they were talking about, but at a certain point, here's what he said to her (you can see the video here, since it's in italian I'll give you a translation):
"I beg your pardon, but I haven't really gotten one thing; do you come? Do you come?"
"But uhm, excuse me: just once?"
"No, there are two plants!"
"How many times do you come?"
"Ok, so, we can put two plants and the leds, and a visit for each time, and we can even put the electric bycicle."
 "So, how many times?"
"Three, four, five, depends on what's demanded."
"How much time between each time?"
"You should ask our technicians."
"Ok, well, it seems to me like a favorable offer."
"Great! We're glad of it."
"Will you turn around one more time?"
"Excuse me...?"
"Towards there."
(I don't know if I was able to render the sexual subtexts, but his lines were FULL of them.)
As you can see from the video, the crowd laughed out loud and applauded him the whole time.
Awful, huh? This is beyond awful. And the worst thing about it is that this kind of sexism is perpetrated by a political candidate who should be a role model for his country. But I guess we deserve him for having voted for him in the past: the U.S. have President Obama, we have this crazy, sexist, racist, old douchebag.
Well, actually, maybe the worst thing is that people laughed and clapped, so it means that this old jerk represents the view of italian citizens (which is true, this country is sexist as hell).
But actually no, these weren't the worst things in this story, as awful as they can be. You know what happened next?
Italian press, and a lot of italian people, commented the news by blaming the woman. The victim of the harassment.
Why? Because she didn't respond properly.
This is the apotheosis of victim blaming, I mean, people, seriously. A political candidate makes sexist jokes about a woman, humiliating her in front of a crowd, knowing that she can't fight back 'cause she might lose her job, the people there pander him, and the blame is hers...?
Because she should have fought! Because she could at least not have smiled! Because she laughed in a silly way! Because it's because of women like her if men don't respect us! Because she sold her dignity in exchange for money! Guys, seriously, I'll stop now because I'm burning with rage. And I read these comments in feminist facebook groups. I don't even dare to read what people commented elsewhere. I might burst into tears.
Yeah, we're all so fucking brave behind a computer screen, aren't we? It's not like we paralyze when they harass us on the street and we don't know what to answer because we're so fucking humiliated and shocked by the fact that someone doesn't even think they owe us the least respect. No, we are cool, strong women! We don't care if every time we fight back instead of smiling we get thousands of "hey, why are you getting angry now, gawd, what's wrong with you, are you on your period? Jeez", because you should not only take sexist jokes but you should also laugh about them 'cause if you don't you are a rad fem with no sense of humour who hates men.
I mean, I've been a feminist for a long time, I've learnt to fight back when I'm a victim of sexism and I've dealt with the fact that I'll be forever the pain in the ass who can't take an innocent joke, and still sometimes I'm tempted to just smile and stay silent 'cause I don't want to raise the usual mess for once. And, I repeat, I'm a trained feminist who is considered to be brave. What if this woman wasn't, and didn't know what to do? We, as women, should be kind, and nice, and take every kind of joke 'cause hey, they're only jokes: imagine if she screamed "FUCK YOU, YOU PIECE OF SHIT" and stormed off in rage. Imagine what kind of treatment she would have received.
And by the way, for god's sake, she could have lost her job! She was just an employee and her boss was a friend of Berlusconi's, you can bet she would have lost her job. You know what someone answered to that? That I was being sexist because I was making it all about that woman-in-career crap.
... what. The. Actual. Fuck? No, seriously dude, what the fuck are you talking about. Let's leave the sexism in saying "woman in career" aside for a moment and let's focus on how he's trying to make me look like the sexist one there. This is vicious, guys. And I'm disgusted.
And they went on and on and on with women who have no self respect and on how it was all her fault and I literally saw NO comment about how horrible Berlusconi had been and most of all about the jerks that laughed. Not a single one. There were even some conspiracists who said it was just a little show they had prepared together, so she was an accomplice.
Next day, an answer to our doubts came from the firm, and turns out she wasn't offended, but flattered. A shower of "I TOLD YOU SO" came from the sexists.
Yea, too bad some hours later she declared that the previous declaration was totally fake and that she hadn't felt flattered at all; if anything, she had felt uncomfortable and embarrassed.
... and still they went on saying that these women sell their dignities just in order to not displease their boss, and that at least she shouldn't have smiled, 'cause you know, it never happens to these people to laugh when they're embarrassed or nervous. And one more time, they're telling women how they should behave and how they're just whores without dignity for not having behaved as they were expected to.
And that word. Dignity. I'm so sick and tired of people telling women that they should have more dignity. It's about time they shove that fucking word up their asses, 'cause I'm tired, I really can't take any more guys telling me and any other women what dignity is and what I should do because if I don't do so then I don't have any dignity.
So please tell me why dignity (or lack of) is never associated with men. Why are we always the one who are required to have "dignity", to respond properly because it's wrong to be silent even if you're shocked and embarrassed, to not scream and insult because it's wrong to be rude, to not go to bed with several partners because that's slutty, to not show our cleavage or our legs because otherwise we are looking for it and lack of dignity.
This has to STOP.
And if you think this is the end of it, hear the news: this woman's boss commented her last statements with "this is going to have consequences".
Do you think that shoving this in the sexists' faces finally made them shut up? No sir. She should have fought. She is no good example. It's all fault of women like her if. She could at least have.
And not a word on that crazy pig we have as a possible premier. 'cause that how he is, you know. This is the usual stuff.
Usual stuff MY ASS. I'm sick and tired of this man and of the culture of sexism he nurtured throughout his whole government, I can't stand it anymore. So he can be forgiven 'cause that's the way he is, but she can't because she's not giving a good example.
That's when I'm really glad I'm behind a screen because they could get me to murder them. Cold-bloodedly and without regrets.

And since this post is already quite long I'll spare you the debate over the sexist joke a comedian made some days ago on a female politician during a tv program, with the complicity of the host, or the incidence of the f word in this entry would probably get out of control.

I mean, I'm not one of those xenophile pseudo-intellectuals who worry about what the neighbour might say ("Omg, I bet the French/Germans/English/Americans are so laughing about us now" I really hope they don't, since it's the old jerk they should be laughing about, not me) and I don't consider myself responsible for what he says: he's not representative of the whole country's views, please remember that. But lately I found out he does reflect the view of most of italian citizens, and that's sad.
And please don't take this as a "hey, I'm a special unicorn, I'm one of the few clever people in this ocean of italian idiots" 'cause this is an attitude I really hate. In fact, I've always hoped I wasn't a special unicorn and I've always had faith in my fellow citizens, because I couldn't believe there were so many of them (them: sexist homophobic racist scumbags) and so few of us (normal, decent people).
I don't know, I'm disheartened, really.
Please tell me that things are different abroad, because I need a place to run away to when I reach the limit here. And trust me, that moment's getting close.

15 commenti:

  1. That is so awful. The world is awful. I wish I could tell you that it's better here but it isn't. People are so sexistic. And I'm trying to fight it every time I see or hear about it. Last week I got into a debate with my boyfriends mum because she posted a really sexistic and disparaging picture on my boyfriends facebook and and I told her that it is not the least bit funny. The image encourages infidelity and claims that all women turn into whiny bitches as soon as we are married, AND that we are so easy to get forgiveness from, it only takes some chocolate and a flower. Yäh really.

    I really can't stand stuff like that.
    The comment I got was of course that I should stop taking things so seriously. People write to me often that I should stop caring about things I can't change.
    What if everyone thought so! Women would not even have the right to vote today then.
    So I'm going to continue to bother about gender and feminism whatever anyone says, the disparaging view of women must change.

    1. Go girl!
      Seriously it's not better where you live? I thought it was since all the good news about crashing gender differences come from your area.
      You totally did the right thing telling your boyfriend's mum that it wasn't funny, because it's not. So, what: since it's funny for you, then it should be for me too, even if I'm offended by the blatant stereotyping of my genre? Like fuck it should.
      Omg the answer you get are so stereotypical... what should I take seriously aside from discrimination upon my whole gender? If we take seriously homophobia and racism why shouldn't we bother about sexism, which is another form of discrimination? Guess we'd run out of people to discriminate against, huh? God forbid that!
      And saying that it's stupid to concern about things you can't change is the most idiot thing I've ever heard in my whole life, and it's awful because it's meant to keep you silent: they KNOW we can change it, that's way they try so hard to convince us that we can't.
      And even if we couldn't, that's not a good reason to stop fighting for what you think is right. Telling people to let go of their ideals is something they should really be ashamed of.

    2. Dear Lesthi. I know that you are getting married soon. Was that a taunt on you? :(
      that was so mean towards you!

    3. Linnea-Maria: Well it certainly feeled like she in some way wanted my boyfriend to "think it over again" before marrying me by sending that picture to him..

    4. Shannon: I guess it's good here in sweden compared to many other countries but it's still not great.. I really hope it will get better, sometimes I'm afraid of putting children to this idotic world someday!

    5. Yea, me too... and by the way your boyfriend's mother was a little bit mean, trying to sending subtle messages like that. But I'm sure your boyfriend is an intelligent person and will understand how important your fight for women's rights is!

    6. He agrees with me on some of my opinions, but in many ways he is like MindLess Indulgence boyfriend.. sometimes he can really annoy me when he says that women and men are equals nowadays and when I try to explain the ways women certainly don't have it as easy as men he just laughs and says that I think to much...
      But I have my whole life to make him understand I guess :P

    7. Yeah, honey, don't trouble your pretty little head. Or you may realize how disparaged our condition is comparing to men's.
      Insist! Go on!

      Wow, I guess I'm lucky having my super feminist boyfriend... like, his high school final work concerned the role of women in society and when he was asked what he wanted to do after school he answered: "I wish to become a good husband <3".
      Too bad his friends can be total douchebags about women, but I can handle them °_°

    8. That sounds great :D
      Well I'm at least happy that my boyfriend agrees with me that we shouldnt raise our children into stereotypes, and let them choose all by themself what sort of clothing they want and style. ^^ That's a first step!

  2. Dearest! I felt so disgusted reading this! What an awful behaviour. I have heard weird things about Berlusconi but yuck, he's a disguisting retard!!!
    A swedish polititian who behaved like that wouldn't been respected after that behaviour and maybe leave the election. And the people laughing??? god how embarrassing!! Are Italian men degrading themselves to creatures thinking with the tiny head between their legs?? We have sadly problems in Sweden as well, with a legitime hatred on internet against women talking about feminist/racism issues, violence against women. I have also experienced hate comments like that, a relative called me masculine because I was showeling snow (soo stupid). My man was harrassed by a relative of mine when he strongly disliked a violent sexist post, wich ended with him saying to me "I will never visit those people again" and went to the gym to get rid of some anger.
    So I'm very glad that there are men in this country that call themselves feminists and can stand for it. :)

    1. Oh, this is only the latest crap about that crazy sick man, believe me. And the worst thing is that not only he didn't lose respect after saying this, but he EARNED respect because of this!
      This is how sexist this country is. I will tell you, sometimes I'm desperate 'cause I feel like I'm fighting for absolutely nothing, but if I give up who will do the fighting in my place?

      >Are Italian men degrading themselves to creatures thinking with the tiny head between their legs?

      Oh, I so wish it was only men, but women here have internalized sexism at the point that they point the finger against a woman and pretend not to see the blatant sexism perpetrated by all the other people around her.
      Well, I guess it's not just an italian problem, sexism is everywhere, but at least abroad it's not politically correct to behave this way. At least institutions give a good example. We have porn actresses, soubrettes and God knows what else sitting in the Parliament! All because of that man.

      And yes, it is horrible how it's perceived as degrading for a man to stand up for women's rights. Luckily my male friends are absolutely on our side, I mean, they're not all like that, but many of them are.
      By the way today I'm going to the One Billion Rising flashmob, so for once I'll be surrounded by people who understand me :)

  3. I would love to say it's better in Germany, but I'm afraid I would be lying! Axctually, we have a recent debate about the same topic because a female journalist felt that her interviewed person (an old politician, I recall?!) made some comments oon her chest. A lot of men tried to downplay this which lead to the invention of the twitter hashtag #aufschrei! (which translates to Shout out!) where women posted her experiences with every day sexism.

    I even tried to talk to my boyfriend about the topic and had to find out that he shares some of the ignorance. He means well, but he thinks that if pretty men harras girls, they are more flattered than harassed. Can you believe this sh*t? I treid to talk him out of that, but I'm not sure I succeeded. He didn't even think that everyday sexistic comments go in line with harrassment and abuse. Because he thinks "It's just talking!"... Woah, I'm getting angry again now that I write about it. >.<'

    1. Speaking of Germany... remember that time this jerk told President Merkel she was a - well, I won't repeat the insult, but I guess you know which episode I'm talking about? Ok. On behalf of my whole nation, WE ARE SO SORRY. We were so ashamed we wanted to dig a hole on the ground and disappear there.

      That said: the hashtag #aufschrei seems like a wonderful thing, I wish they did something like that here. We haven't even had a slut walk - I was planning on trying and organize one since nobody seems to care. We should all fight together against sexism if we want it to disappear!

      And finally, I think you should insist in telling your boyfriend his sexist beliefs are totally wrong. I mean, I can't understand this way of thinking: if you (man) have never been in the position of being harassed, how on earth could you possibly know whether it's flattering or not? And even if it was flattering for you, that doesn't mean it must be for me, thank you very much: you can take as much harassment as you wish, but you can't expect others to accept to be victims of discrimination just because you do.
      Plus, if it's just talking, why do they get angry and/or violent whenever a gay guy "talks" to them like that?

  4. Wow I really want to find that woman and give her a hug. No one deserves to be treated like that! I agree with you that she shouldn't be blamed. Blaming her helps no one. Wonderful post. And no I am not laughing at you, just the douchebag.

    1. In these last days she publicly asked for apologies from Berlusconi and her boss, and still people were like "ok, BUT SHE SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT IMMEDIATELY" and I'm like ok, so now we not only have to watch out for male sexists, but also for the sexist women among us? That's sad.
      Thank you ''XD I don't know who I'm voting on sunday, but one thing's for sure: that piece of shit is not having my vote.