“This project took off as a matter of urgency. It all started with the observation that women–real women–are an endangered species on television, one that is being replaced by a grotesque, vulgar and humiliating representation. We sensed the enormity of this loss: the erasure of women’s identity is happening right before our eyes, but without a proper reaction, not even from women themselves.
This led us to select television images that share a common manipulative exploitation of the woman’s body, to let people know what is happening–not only people who never watch television, but especially those who watch it but “don’t see.” Our aim is to ask ourselves questions, and to pose questions about the reason behind this erasure, a real “pogrom” of which all of us are silent spectators.Our project grants special attention to the erasure of adult faces on television, to the use of plastic surgery to erase any sign of the passage of time, and to the social consequences of this erasure.”
Il Corpo delle Donne is a short twenty-minute film about the shocking use of women’s bodies in Italian television today. I recently presented this film as a topic for discussion during my Italian class and I was surprised by the reaction; everybody looked to the floor, shrugging their shoulders with little to say. ‘It’s not really like that in England though….’ one person replied. This set me into full accusatory ‘feminist’ mode: in this time of female emancipation, how can people watch such blatant pornography on everyday television and consider it normal? Have we become so brainwashed to such images that they are almost de-sexualised, devoid of scandal and shock value? I continued on this vein for a while and I think the reason why my response was so defensive and emotional is simply because both sides are to blame, these women are conforming to the masculine ideal and perpetuating and aggravating the problem as much as men. Where are the women with aspirations, with intellect, with opinions and ideas and most of all- a voice?
At this point in the discussion my Italian teacher stopped me and smiled. In the streets, she answered. Protesting against Berlusconi. Defying the manipulated, contorted and grotesque image of women he projects on his television channels. Power to them.
You can watch this amazing, thought-provoking film on Youtube with English subtitles. I urge you to do so.