Wednesday, 15 July 2009

I've found a new hero

I nearly choked on my falafel the other night in the kebab shop when, during a popular quiz show on channel 5, the camera zoomed in on the very pert rear end a 'show girl' climbing some stairs in a bikini. It was gynaecological. Viewers were treated to alternating shots of the girl's highly waxed private parts and the sweaty faces of young men ogling and applauding her from the studio audience. This was before the 8 o'clock news, by the way.

For those of you who don't live in Italy, let me tell you that terrestrial TV here is aimed at (and apparently made by) 15 year old boys. Italian TV is an avalanche of breasts, bottoms and cringe-worthy Carry On-style innuendos. Nearly all the Italians I know complain about it, but it seems such an ingrained tradition that nobody is REALLY surprised to see a half-naked woman in a cage used in an advert for anti-rust paint. Absurd botoxed lips are a must if a woman wants to stay on TV beyond the age of 35. Live here for long enough and you start to lose perspective yourself.

Reading 'Io Donna' this morning though, I discovered a blog and documentary all about how women are represented on TV in Italy and the ramifications for us normal women on the street. The documentary makes very interesting viewing (there's even a version with dodgy English subtitles)and asks why we put up with such drivel on our TV sets. Watch it and send the link to your friends! Author of the blog and documentary is Lorella Zanardo, my new hero.
What bothers me is that in 'Io Donna' magazine, the interview with Lorella is only on page 55 and is next to an advert for a hair-removal cream that shows a sexy tanned woman with 3 metre long legs dancing and smiling innanely. Is there any hope?


Paolo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth P. aka "Campobello" said...

I have seen Zanardo's documentary and it is indeed thought-provoking. Every female Italian teenager ought to see it, lest she fall into the boob-job-silicon-lip-injection abyss. Of course, the main vehicle for this depressing state of affairs is the TV (and WHO is behind most of Italian TV???!!). Why Italian women aren't up-in-arms over their shoddy representation in the media is a mystery to me--I solve the problem by simply unplugging, but perhaps more drastic measures are called for. Tobias Jones in "The Dark Heart of Italy" writes eloquently about the sorry state of Italian television in his chapter entitled "The Means of Seduction."

For now I guess me must just bump, grind, and bear it.


Anonymous said...

It seems that you Melissa know (...subjunctive)Florence better than many florentins(Fresh n'green-The Florentine/106).
Nevertheless:the so called 'slowing down' of the italian people is no longer a way of life for the majority of them, unfortunately (I used to know how happily it meant to me in my thirties).
Florence -and a certain part of the sunny 'Boot' - coud still be a dream-spot for many vacationeers to 'slow down',but it's what we have around nowadays that might put high fences to have real fun (possibly by avoiding devastating hangovers also:happiness is not just a dozen of beers).
Anyway,your (american)readers are young and when you are teen or a little more the world is fantastic,if you're healthy.And 'The Florentine'(that I don't miss every other week)could be helpful in indicating the rigth highlights (but in 'Parks and Gardens' section...the refreshing fountain of Fortezza da Basso is ignored...)
Besides,all considered,there is no matter that Florence be (...subjunctive)better than Fargo North Dakota and Amarillo-Texas.
Have a god summer,Melissa.

Claudio Fantuzzi /Firenze

Bari said...

Melissa, thank you for sharing this video, which I passed on to others. I think we should use it, somehow, as a part of VDay 2010: Awareness of Violence Against Women. I think it is part of that conversation as well. Violence against ourselves is not any less impacting.

P.S. I LOVE your blog and am so glad to finally get here!

Mel said...

Dear Claudio,
Thanks for your comment on my Fresh n' Green article - I'm very glad to hear that you are an avid reader of the paper!

Nontheless, I have to disagree about 'slowing down'. I know that the Italian way of life isn't all about lazing around, playing the mandolino and whistling at girls, but it's still true that when Italians walk down the street, they go significantly slower than most Anglos! When my (British) parents come to Florence, I have to practically jog to keep up with them. When my brother comes, I almost have to run. Most Brits could certainly learn a thing or two from Italians about strolling.

Sorry that The Florentine missed out the Fortezza park and fountain, we'll have to make sure it gets a mention in future issues.

finally, thanks for commenting. It's always great to get feedback. If you ever have anything you'd like to see mentioned in future BeGreenInFlo articles then let me know!


Mel said...

Dear Bari,

Thanks for your comment! I'm thrilled you like my blog (I'm so lazy about posting, especially when it gets hot outside..)

I was stunned by the video documentary. Have you ever seen 'L'infedele' on La7? The woman who made the video, Lorella Zanardo, was a guest on the show and there's a link to it on her blog. It also makes interesting viewing!

Good luck with your shopping!


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your interest.
Your support is very important for our project.
Hope to meet you in the future!
Lorella Zanardo