Monday, June 22, 2015

Italian Women don't like Women expecially the Obamas

When I was still living in Italy, I joined the Italian branch of the Emily List, the organization that - in the United States - is doing so much to support women in politics. I was pretty excited when I joined that group and  still have some good memories of that time. It was through that experience that I realized what was holding back women in Italy and why we were so behind compared to those living in other European countries. That was the time when I personally experienced the ugly truth that women, most of the time, can be women's worst enemies I found myself plunged in a group where co-operation and support were offered only superficially and used to maintain the power of few and the general practice was mostly inspired by a very sad attempt to imitate the worst male habits.

When I moved to the United  States, I didn't have any hope left for my own gender. I had no wish to support the equality and the empowerment of women. I felt hurt and betrayed. I was vulnerable during the transition  from one country to another and that was everything I "needed" to archive that period of my life as a waste of time and a failure. But we never completely fail and there is no action that we pursue without getting some good from it, some lesson, some inspiration.

This is why,  when my dear friend Delia and I  decided to found "The Women Collaborative", a group to support "women in transition", I was fired up and ready to go. That experience gave me a chance to heal and to recover 100% of my passion for women rights and for female friendship and support. I was blessed with meeting wonderful women  I truly admire many of whom are still in my life and who are an inspiration to me: Emme and Stephanie Ruhle Hubbard as well as many others.
With no surprise, but still with some sadness I just read some of the articles related to the visit that the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Sasha, Malia and Ms Robisonmade to Italy, to visit the Expo in Milan (among other places). I consider already annoying and degrading that women feel the urge to write about women's style as we could not survive without those ridiculous detailed reports about dresses, shoes and hair. Just to make this clear, I am a fashion junkie. I am happy to discuss the brilliance of Oscar de la Renta and Giorgio Armani for hours and all my friends know that when I am sad or depressed I go to Bergdorf Goodman and spend hours trying shoes that I cannot afford. Fashion is an addiction to me. All this said, I find it unacceptable to waste ink to describe, in any details, women's style when they should be acknowledged for other and more important facts. Some journalists, took their tasks so seriously that they ended up making some very bad - and racist - comments about the First Lady and her daughters, comments that made me pretty furious (yes I am "passionate" as any southern Italian woman). In an article for "Corriere della Sera", in fact, Maria Laura Rodota' writes "Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama are "ganzissime" (very old fashioned slang for "very cool"). They show how, being elegant and charming and chic, is not about pigmentation". The journalist also points to the fact that women with such perfect bodies might be a deterrent for other women, who could feel the urge to consume junkie food just to "forget" their imperfections. I am sure that the journalist didn't mean to be racist with her comment about the "pigmentation", but she was. And surely she didn't mean to insult all chubby women, but she did. Something that, if you had listened, at least once, to Mrs Obama speeches about obesity and the need to be healthy, you would never have stated. And there is more. Maria Luisa D'Agnese still for Corriere della Sera, writes in an article, (later edited to cut this sentence  but you can still find it online in its original version), that the "American First Lady disembarked in Europe colored as a chocolate candy". Again, the fact that these last two words were edited confirms, in my opinion, that, even if there was not a racist intent, there was for sure a sort of frivolity in the writing that is intolerable, especially in a country, Italy, that is interested by a strong and dangerous racial outburst. Needless to say, both articles shoot down Mrs Obama's (and daughters') style.

When I was living in Italy, I worked many times for women with "power". I had my share of "issues" with men but I will never forget when a women put me aside just because she didn't like my hair and when another one, during meetings with male colleagues, used always (and I repeat always) to ask me to go and get coffee for everybody. Unfortunately things don't change easily in Italy. The European country where you - asa  woman or single or LGBT - have less rights. But where we all wear very nice and "not too much colored" clothes.

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