In front of violence (that is not necessarily only physical), of obtuseness, of judgements suggested out of ignorance, I always feel the same sensation: a dull anger that rises from my tummy to throat, but it doesn’t turn into a cry, it remains there, it chokes me. This is what I felt when I read the article on Kult of June "Has feminism died?" by Fabrizio Cerfogli, from the first sentence till the last one.
"…unhappy women without temper…" Fabrizio, may I address you as "you"? Have you ever tried to enter the field? Not for stupid strikes of which you didn’t know the reason; it was sufficient to stay out of school for one day. I mean a procession where to shout our principles, against everybody, principles that are against those of the most part of people, of power, of governement, of "good manners", risking to feel the bludgeon of the police (they were men,in that period) on your bones or to go to prison? I don’t think, because otherwise you would know that you must have a lot of courage, anything but "…unhappy women without temper…". Think to those years when you were not born, to those women in the places; think to when they went back at home with their husbands, fathers, brothers, "feminist bitch, what do you think to do, to obtain?" But of course, as you tell, they had "…to react with intelligence and astuteness, the same gifts that in the past their "ancestors" used to obtain from men what they wanted, the only gifts that could face the physical leadership of men and win at a wide rage (if used in the right way) as it had happened in many social and domestic realities of past times". In this way, there would still be the law in which a woman who commits adultery can be sentenced to prison; a law that existed until 1969 and that was avoided only in 1970 with the Reform of Family Right. It was a law that concerned only the female sex, not applicable to man, because he was a male!
Do you remember Coppi and Bartali, everybody has heard of them, do you remember the famous "White Lady"? Coppi was married and the "White Lady" as well, in fact she went to prison for many months accused of adultery because of this law; obviously Coppi didn’t. Oh yes, we could mantain that law, it punished only who was wrong, it was enough to be good…
"…the uterus is mine and I manage it". Have you ever wondered about the meaning of this sentence? Did you stop like everybody to the rhyme? Have you ever thought why it was born and how the things work until that time? On one hand there were the sinners in pregnant without being married (my God!) who managed alone a child or an illicit abortion; they had to think about it before, you say, but it is a pity that the morning-after pills without dangerous collateral effects didn’t exist and a woman couldn’t certainly enter in a chemist’s shop to buy condoms. Who "managed the uterus" in this case? The pleasure (in the best case) was for both, but the consequences were only for her. On the other hand there were the good girls, married, mothers of a family with three, four, five, six children according to fortune or to "Ogino-Knaus". In this case, who "managed the uterus"? That shout "the uterus is mine and I manage it" was a shout of freedom, of independence; it was the wish to manage its own life by doing its own choices, to have a child when it is desired with the person you love, to begin to think about contraception. Are you disgusted, AIDS permitting, in making love without the risk of having children if in that moment you and her don’t desire them? Do you believe that men would have ever fought for this? And why did not the children prevent them from realizing themselves in job,in sport,in hobbies,with friends?
If those women had not entered the field to shout it, to imposeit, to make a revolution (because we are talking about a revolution), do you think that all this would have happened, that things would have automatically changed as a natural evolution of society? I don’t think so. Personally I feel and I will always feel debtor towards those "brave rioters" who had plenty of guts, in a male society like that, to enter the field and to stake themselves and their own feelings for something in which they firmly believed; to go against those rules that, according to you, men had and still have, and that they haven’t yet had the courage to fight, staying "…bound to respect…". So are women more brave? And using an euphemism that men like very much, is it possible that in living with men without "balls", have women got them?
You talk about the capitalist economical system, the "success", the "golden veal" of modern countries; a system to which now women belong; don’t you know that it is in this system that we live and don’t you think that in order to fight a system it is useful to attack it from the inside? Don’t you know that first of all it is the economic independence that can give to everybody, men and women, the human independence? If you need someone in order to eat, husband or father, and without him you starve to death, what do you do with ideas and principles when you are dead?
It is true, they "shouted" many things, but certainly not "stupid things", yes, with rage and violence, fortunately, otherwise who would have ever listened to them? If you, who have the insolence to describe yourself a "not sexist" after twenty years don’t still understand them, do you think that the men of that period would have understood them?
You talk about sexy bombs, gymnasium and silicone, why don’t we speak about "Viagra"? Why don’t we speak about the male necessity to feel "virile", sexually "infallible and potent" as if that was the only way to weigh your "being men"? So who is weak and who is strong? Both, we are both weak and strong, because we are all "human beings". This is the point. Perhaps you (and many others like you unfortunately) have not yet understood that "feminism" doesn’t mean "to overturn the sides"; feminism was a fight to obtain the rights as human beings, those rights that had always been refused to us because we were "women", the same rights that you have always had because you were "men". You write "…it is not for the real human equality (that must not exist by force)…". By force? The penis, the strength? What do we need to be equal to you like human beings?
Your article left me a great sadness and a great tiredness, as if all what I did, said, fought, suffered and borne until now would have not been of use. I am 29 years old, according to the "scholars" I probably belong to another generation compared to yours, but is the gulf so big? Is it possible that you and perhaps your generation, male and female, are not able to understand that ALL WHAT IT HAS NOW, IT IS DUE TO THE FIGHTS OF THE PAST? Is it possible to abjure with few and trite lines a whole age, a whole generation? You say "in short,it is enough to say that feminism is useless", " … a woman who can be defined in such a way, so certainly not a feminist…". It is terrifying.
You are right, my dear Lorenea Ceriati "feminism has not died". It cannot, it can’t afford, not until "men" like Fabrizio Cerfogli will continue to talk in this way. The way of fighting and the claims have changed, not "thank to God" but thank to our mothers, aunts and women never known who have struggled and who have obtained for us rights that now seem taken for granted. It is not ended,unfortunately,now,as you say,we have to destroy "that thin and shifty daily sexism" that asks us in every job interview if we get children or if we intend to get them in the next two years; that asks us "how we were dressed up that day" in the trials for rape; that let "First Lady" exist, but not "First Man".
And please, we must not forget those women behind those black dresses, their mothers hidden in the gloves, those female faces covered with a thick grid in Afghanistan…
Rights that can be taken for granted
Giovanna Cracco (Trad. Annalisa Blè)