Sunday, May 4

Silvio Berlusconi: Prime Misogynist

While in America, the press is hot on the trail for the next big gaffe that naturally falls out of someone’s mouth, sooner or later, considering all the talking one does on the campaign trail, in Italy, slick Berlusconi makes quite a habit of saying what’s truly on his mind when it comes to women in Italy – and he doesn’t consider them gaffes at all.

Berlusconi’s consistent self-portrayal as a ladies’ man – one could say he is the Prime Minister of Latin Loverhood – time and again reveals what he, and I would venture, much of Italy, truly believes about women and their place.

To a young woman complaining about the precariousness of life in Italy for today’s generation, what with little or no income, and an even lesser possibility of obtaining a stable future, he quipped, Marry one of my sons!

He’s consistently against quotas in government, but more than that, he’s consistently against women in government at all:

- there just aren’t that many women who wish to leave the comfort of their home to enter politics

- he actually cited “the right to self-defense” against accepting more women parliamentarians

- to Spain's Zapatero (with 9 cabinet women) he observed, Zapatero has made too pink of a government … we can’t do that in Italy, because men are too prevalent.

- but then, he said women could join Parliament, provided they were molto belle
"a noi le signore, soprattutto belle, in Parlamento ci piacciono molto".

- then again, he seems proud of the right wing women who’ve entered politics citing, Le donne del centrodestra, sono "certamente più belle di quelle del centrosinistra".(Rightwing women are certainly more attractive than the leftwing ones).

- when stumping for a woman in Brescia, he urged "Viviana Beccalossi è più brava che bella. Il contrario di Rosi Bindi" (Beccalossi is more capable than pretty. The opposite of [leftwing] Rosy Bindi [an elderly woman at the forefront of Italian politics, but who is quite unattractive].
He then screamed, "Forza Viviana, show ‘em your stuff!".

But it is to Alessandra Mussolini, obviously a bit too far to the right, that he lets one slip: “Buttala via” or Throw her away.

But Berlusconi, Prime Misogynist doesn’t leave his utterances just to local politics. Internationally, he’s offered quite a few doozies:

- At a meeting of the Food & Agricultural Organization, he extended a particular greeting to the belle delegates.

- In France he declared, “I love France and I continue to love her – just look at all the girlfriends I've had…”

- On Spain’s “pink” cabinet, "Zapatero has put in 9 women? Boy, is he in for trouble…he really asked for it. It’ll really cost him to try and dominate them."

When he won for Italy the Administration of the Parma Ham Authority from Finland, he boasted, that he had to wipe off the dust from his old playboy moves to convince the Finnish President, Tarja Halonen, continuing, “I truly had to court her in order to convince her."

- And, on State visit to Hungary, he advised some journalists to be sure they asked the Prime Minister for “a couple of good addresses”. – and I don’t think he meant restaurants.

Finally, in a political convention for Women in Italy (like an Emily’s List)…he really struggled to make his point: “The meaning of the word 'donna' (woman) derives from the Latin, ‘dominate’." He goes on to flatter, "You’re the masters of your home, we’re the slaves…" and then adding for good measure, “but some of you need to rise to the occasion and start cooking for some of our candidates on the campaign trail wherever the catering companies are lacking”.
And in case you missed it the first time around, he later clarified: “You’re the masters in the home…out of the home…we’ll have to see.”

But, what does one expect from the guy who keeps scantily-clad women on his TV channels 24/7? It’s like having Hugh Hefner in the White House.


Irreverent Italy said...

By clicking on the Times' slideshow (in video section on left hand bar), I discovered that Berlusconi, true to form, will consider a woman for his cabinet (he actually says the number is 4). She is former nude model Mara Carfagna.

Anonymous said...

mara carfagna is hot

Irreverent Italy said...

So she is..when will us ladies get to choose our parliamentarians by their looks? With these parameters, Bossi, Prodi, and many more shouldn't even be around!! And sigh...Rutelli, we hardly knew ye.

DiBenedetto As Roma llc said...

If the majority of italian men act in such a way, don't you think it's a result, among other things, of italian women's behavior towards their sons (in particular) and husbands?

I'm not saying I think it's right, but the italian male is simply a product of society. and since italian society is based on the family (which is run by the mother).....ergo......

Irreverent Italy said...

Ciao Marco,
I'm currently reading Mamma Mia! so, I get your point. But, actually, I think it's entirely the media. Programs in Italy are stuck in this 1970s time warp, where men in 3 piece suits stand side-by-side with almost naked women...(see my blog entry on this one).
And the fact that women never did here what they did elsewhere, e.g., protest the nude covers on Panorama,
As for my book, he doesn't mention it and it's quite a careful analysis!

Anonymous said...

You might want to compare the average age of the men in his new cabinet to that of the women....

Dave514 said...

I take HD video of my trips to Europe and especially Italy and put them on DVDs for my friends. Each country has a theme, Italy's is,"Italian Chaos."

My latest ouvre shows Clemente Mastella on TV with a semi-nude gorgeous girl the caption of which is, "Italian Dreams." Yes, Mara is marvelous!

In Italy mama may run the house but the man is the head of the family unit.

I can't wait to have Fragoli di Bosco at Edy's in Roma and at Olio e Convivium in Firenze.


Irreverent Italy said...

If you post it on youtube or give me a url, I'd be happy to include it in the video column on the side bar!!!
p.s. I'm sure you've seen the Bruno Buozzi pieces (see side bar Italy vs Europe)!!!