A video in the Globe and Mail’s multimedia centre presented some more interesting points of debate to follow our observations from ‘across the pond.’
The video discussed a prevalent sentiment among young Italian women. For these women, using one’s sexuality to sell things is NOT part of the process of objectification. Indeed, the prevalence and tolerance of highly sexualized advertisements for everything from cellphones to, well, just about anything else, seems to indicate that ‘sex sells’ in Italy. More frighteningly, it also belies the extent to which such sentiment is just ‘part of the daily routine,’ for Italians.
The video references a news show show on a major* network during prime time where two scantily clad females dance in front of the male news anchors. Apparently, the news just isn’t interesting enough for Italians; indeed, there is nothing ‘new’ about this news, it’s an old story. In equally primitive terms: man objectifies woman, woman becomes property and proof of his importance.
Two interesting women are interviewed in the video. The first, Lilii Gruber, was the first female news anchor in Italy, and is now a member of European Parliament. Lilli observes that many young Italian women feel it is easier to get by on their looks, and they succumb to the chauvinism which seems to run rampant in Italy.
The second ‘powerful woman’ is the minister for equal opportunity Barbara Pollastrini, she says she is “disgusted by the continual objectification she sees in Italian media.” However, she notes there is a rising group of Italian women who are beginning to shift the balance of opportunity, which at present is so heavily weighted in favour of men.
Nonetheless, that chauvinism is so prevalent, and more disturbingly, so prevalently embraced by many women makes me think: how far does feminism extend?
Is the feminism we espouse here a function of our culture–indeed, does the Anglo conservatism which underlies Canadian culture make it easier for us to understand the problems which arise with sexualizing daily life? This may be slightly offensive to some, but I speak from my own experience, and I simply wonder what it is that makes these women so inclined to accept such a position in life–it can’t be, as Gruber suggests, simply because it’s easier, can it? Why has chauvinism been so openly embraced, or rather, ignored by Italian culture?