Category Archives: Italy
Italians are sometimes just too adorable for words.
Perhaps it will amuse you to know that what Italians are calling “la teoria del gender” or “la teoria gender” (in other words, “gender theory”) has become a focal point in the Italian culture wars.
It is a favorite topic among the country’s most right-wing politicians, media outlets, commentators and, yes, the Vatican, which essentially invented the “teoria del gender” as a very handy grassroots-organizing tool. All these worthies are dreadfully, dreadfully concerned about gender – but what really gets them alternately weepy and screamy is the terror that helpless public school children are being indoctrinated (by someone other than their parents)!
Now, why they’re concerned has much to do with the success of the urban legends that are running through Italy like chlamydia during Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale.
And who are the chief architects of these harrowing tales of gender witchery? Why, the Italian Catholic Church (that’s right; the one run by that Pope you love) and the Lega Nord (the Italian Tea Party, only with better shoes). These juicy, terrifying, click-bait-friendly stories involve stuff like how your hairdresser’s brother’s girlfriend says that, in one school in Burago di Molgora, teachers are forcing children to cross-dress, adopt “other-gender” names, and use (gasp!) unisex bathrooms.
Well, of course none of that is happening but, if you’re looking to get your name in the paper, nothing is more boring than the truth.
Now, the “teoria del gender” sounds like it ought to be an upper-division PSY course at UC Berkeley or something, but no. Instead, it has become a handy slogan that stands in for any challenge to the “God-made-men-and-women,-and-man-equals-masculine-equals-straight-and-women-equals-feminine-equals-straight,-and-the-only-true-marriage-is-one-man-and-one-woman,-and-the-only-real-families-are-those-with-an-anatomically-correct-mother-and-an-anatomically-correct-father” paradigm (stop me if you’ve heard this before).
It would make a great bumper sticker, except that Italians don’t believe in bumper stickers (and that right there is almost reason enough to forgive them for everything else).
So anyway. According to this October 6, 2015 article from the
increasingly hysterical and scandalmongering staid and impartial La Repubblica, the Regional Council of the Lombardy Region has just approved a motion presented by the Lega Nord to “stop the spread of gender theory in the Lombardy school system,” which is considered “a threat to children.”
Gender theory, that is, not the Lombardy school system. At least I don’t think so.
Naturally, the document approved by the Lombardy Regional Council proposes the traditional burning of books and a moratorium on classroom discussions or materials that mention – as Italian PM Ignazio La Russa so charmingly bellowed at a 22-year-old student who was attempting, during a conference on the family held in Milan last August, to speak about the needs of queer children and young people – “butt fuckers.”
Just to give you an idea of the level of public discourse.
But what’s adorable is this conference, held a week or so ago on September 30th, on the theme “Il Gender Va Fermato” – Gender Must Be Stopped!
Yes. The nation of the Roman Empire, that gave birth to the Renaissance, that survived Fascism and was nearly destroyed in WWII but struggled back from the brink to remake itself – that country now lies helpless and quivering before the Juggernaut of Gender.
And, no, they’re not talking about Caitlyn Jenner.
Gender is coming! It’s the London Blitz of Gender! The Gender Sack of Rome! The War of the Gender Roses! The Siege of Fort Gender!
Si salvi chi può!
Late breaking news!
Now, for all of the above, there’s MangiaGender!
It’s a laundry detergent. It’s a digestive aid.
Something else Italians have a penchant for — or, I should probably be careful to make clear, Italian advertisers have a penchant for — is a particular kind of execrable retro taste when it comes to gender-based humor.
Here’s a billboard from Uccellini Security, which has allegedly appeared recently in and around Pesaro, Italy.
Nobody gets in unless I say so.
Intruder Detection Systems – Video Surveillance – Access Control
UCCELLINI SECURITY – Security solutions since 1970.
Now, I allow for the possibility that this is an internet hoax (info about this billboard did, after all, come from Facebook) because – really – would you allude to rape in publicity for your security company?
But a petition against the advertising campaign does exist: Rimozione immediata della pubblicità Uccellini Security.
In any case, it’s too good not to share — because it’s not even the most offensive outdoor publicity I saw when I lived in Italy.
Oh, here’s the real “joke”: “Uccellini” is someone’s name, but it’s also slang for “peen.” That’s why the model is covering her … um … Yolanda.