Not long ago I found myself on a warm spring day, seated in a piazza in the historical centre of Salerno watching the passers-by. Shortly thereafter, I noticed all seemed to be predominately female - and very much alike, as if originating from some mysterious invisible assembly-line somewhere outside of my peripheral vision. All were either dressed in black and/or beige, some shot with the rhinestone gun, and sporting brand-name designer everything, and clearly defining 'overkill.' From what I could see, this particular demographic is NOT the older, plump, pasta-making, housedress-wearing Italian mamma of yester year.
This got me thinking about my handful of amazing Italian female friends here in Italy, that don't fit into either stereotype. That said, it's been frustrating as an outsider - to get a handle on the 'others' ie. the modern (stereotypical) Italian women: Who are they - these brand-obsessed, narcissistic, sexy, yet frigidly stale women? (Perhaps I just answered my own question.)
Later on that day I met up with my cool, half-American/Italian lesbian friend Franca,
and I decided pick her brain...
"What is it with them, these assembly line robot women?
Are their vaginas made of cardboard or tin?
Do they f'ck for Fendi ?"
“I know what you mean. In North Italy there's an expression used to describe them:
'Figa di Legno’ - The wooden pussy."
So it's not just my imagination - Someone has actually thought of this before
But my questions remained...
What is with them? With their personalities rivaling rice cakes - Do they think a Gucci label can make them more interesting or a better person? For validation, respect of others equally as shallow? Is their raison d'être to exist as the trophied arm-candy for a successful man, or any man for that matter? Do they really prefer all this vulgar materialism and collecting designer goods, over sex? And being sexy? For what? So their men WON'T screw other women? (Like that would ever stop the sleazy stereo-typical Italian male.) Many of these shallow men I have happened to have met thus far would not likely relinquish any opportunity for sex. I would think that all you'd need is a pulse and a working vagina.
So, to discover what other women were thinking, I ventured out into cyberspace for answers. Here is what a couple of other women had to say in response to an article on (Italian) "Women's Decorative Role" from the New York Times:
"Unfortunately, I noticed that Italian women tend to be far more interested in the latest sample sales than anything deep like gender equality. The stereotypical avenue of power and status for Italian women is now to date famous men, thus relegating themselves to the status of ego props and arm candy for insecure men in the public eye. Unfortunately, the whole thing is starting to look quite tired now (think of the other sad stereotype of young Asian girls with old men and you get the picture). If Italian women aren't careful, they will end up being known more as vapid sex objects than women of substance or worth." -Elsie, Brooklyn
"For the record, I have spent quite a bit of time, not just in Italy, but all over the Mediterranean, and although I would certainly not characterize the region as a whole as being particularly strong in the area of gender equality, Italy was the only country that I lived in where the women seemed totally ignorant of their own enslavement. I must also say that the women in Italy, once known for their earthy beauty, now looked overdone, silly and cheap. I found it quite sad." - Jespo, Brooklyn
I don’t pretend to be righteous and I am not attempting to pull the wool over anyone's eyes, as I myself have tip-toed through the tulips of promiscuity, as well as engaged in other shameless, varied debauchery. (And of course I do like nice, quality clothing.) But what I don't think is that my appearance is directly proportionate to my worth.
So with that said, I give you: "Off the Rack Italian Women"
Based on loose observations, and how yours truly - an 'outsider' differs from them:
Will f'ck for Fendi
(photo source: www.modelmayhem.com)
(If you are an Italian women and are reading this: please don't take it personally, call up your Italian 'paesani' then have me 'whacked.' But then again, THOSE Italian women likely don't read blogs, or books for that matter.)
- I don’t consider sex as an automatic entitlement to designer goods.
- Have a real vagina as opposed to one made out of cardboard or wood.
- I have a Formula 1 libido that can rival any man's.
- I tinkle like a normal person. Unlike the strategic aim of Italian women - which produces complete silence. (Bitches have given me a complex.)
- I deviate from inserting words such as Prada, Gucci and Burberry etc. in random sentences, or during sleep to in order to communicate subliminal messages. (I am convinced they do this.
- I don't consider breaking a nail a national disaster.
- Have not been shot with a semi-automatic rhinestone gun.
- Do not dress like a prostitute while shopping for groceries.
- Have actually entered the interior of a sex shop, and made purchases on more than one occasion. (Out of the several women I spoke to, only 2 had ever dared.)
- Do not as much as attempt balancing on cobblestone streets in the city centre or wandering amongst the ruins of Pompeii in 4 inch+ heels. My small duty for the good of humanity shall be wielding a machete, then tackling said impractical shoe-wearing half-wits to the ground, hacking off their heels, then making a break for it while yelling back at them: "You'll thank me later bitch-EZ!"
- I have missed my mandatory, weekly hair appointment with the 'parucchiere' (hair stylist) 50 weeks out of the year.
- When out in public - Do not cling to my partner for dear life, while scoffing at other passing single females, for fear he will randomly sexually impale one of them on the street in front of me. (Congratulations ladies, you can totally keep him – So NOT interested in this consolation prize, or abduction into 'house-slavery' for that matter.)
So here's the deal: There is more to life than shoes and bags - especially garish platform sneakers that are only worn for the sole reason (no pun intended) to impress others equally as shallow. I once was mocked on the metro for my red Clark’s Mary-Jane flats by teens wearing identical 25euro Hogan knock-offs and fake Burberry scarfs. I snickered back as they looked ridiculous, as at least I had a real Burberry vintage trench at home. (That I bought second-hand on Ebay of course).
What can I say? Nobody's perfect...
But you can bet the farm THIS gal ain't gonna trade her hoochie for Gucci. xo
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