Meanwhile, in “the land that feminism forgot,” as The Economist once said about Italy years ago…
Seriously, folks? It says “The Right Man for Rome.”
Ok, so I’m driving today, and I read it and see a glimpse of long blonde hair as I’m driving, and I ask myself, “Did I read that wrong?” because I read “man” and I thought I saw a woman. Was it Vladimir Luxuria (transsexual politician)? No, couldn’t be, I think. He/she has brown hair.
Pass the sign again. Nope, this time I’m sure that’s a woman and … her name is Patrizia Prestipino. Full disclosure: I’ve met La Prestipino. Friend of an ex-friend. Lovely woman. Hard worker. I have nothing against her neither as a woman nor as a politician.
However, I do have a question mark when it comes to the tagline on her poster. Only because I think it really highlights the sexism inherent in a culture where, in order to gain credibility in your public advertising, you have to stand on the merit of presenting yourself as the right “man” for the job. The job being mayor of Rome. It’s a long shot.
Ok, so I’m not the target audience here. I’m not Italian, I’m not even a naturalized Italian citizen, either, because I was and still am too lazy to fill out the paperwork. So really, I suppose my opinion doesn’t much matter.
But, as an observer of local culture and customs, I do have to say that this is a pretty sad example of the ongoing state of things.
Her website states that the campaign is “purposely provocative” and further says:
“Questa campagna è volutamente provocatoria nasce da una consapevolezza: in un momento di grande smarrimento della politica pensiamo che l’uomo giusto per Roma debba essere, prima di tutto, coraggioso, leale e onesto. Quindi, l’uomo giusto per Roma è una donna”.
“…the campaign was born from the knowledge that, in a period in which politics have been misguided, we think that the right man for Rome should be, above all, courageous, loyal, and honest. Therefore, the right man for Rome is a woman.”
Here’s Pier Ferdinano Casini saying that “Rome is ready for a woman mayor,” although not directly connected to this campaign. He says the reason why more women aren’t involved in politics is because there isn’t an adequate social “net” of services to help women who are responsible for managing families and children.
Needless to say, La Prestipino is neither married nor a mother. Not that I care. No one else seems to care much either, given the whopping 117 views on that video. But frankly, if he’s vying for a woman candidate for mayor to prove that Rome is ready for a female mayor who is ALSO managing a family/children at home, that’s not happening here. First woman mayor of Milan was in 2006, Letizia Moratti who was the Minister of Education under Berlusconi from 2001 to 2006. Prestipino is currently a regional assessor for youth, tourism, and sport. I know next to nothing about local politics so I have no idea what her chances are. God bless her for trying, though. She seems to truly care about the state of things and have an honest passion for politics.
I, for one, would love to see more women in local politics who aren’t as loud, crass, and embarrassing as La Polverini. Bleh. But still, it’s a losing battle. La Polverini acted like a beer-belching fat man in a wife beater to get her job done, and ended up resigning in a corruption scandal. Here we have a delightfully feminine and fresh-faced candidate who, however, has to resort to referring to herself as a “man” to make waves and headlines. Sigh. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Oh, and as a totally trival aside: why on God’s Earth do politicians ALWAYS have a jacket hanging over their shoulder? Is this like the universally designated “politican pose”?