What Italian Women Really Think About Berlusconi: While it seemed, according to recent news, that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s scandalous sex life was either being accepted or celebrated by most countrymen, Italy’s women do not approve, to say the least. As Elisabetta Povoledo writes in a recent NYTimes article,
“Italy significantly trails European Union counterparts on equality indicators like employment of women or women in leadership positions, and indignant women say the latest scandal highlights a troubling message: the way for a woman to get ahead in Italy is to sell her soul, if not her body, to powerful men.”
According to the article, some 73,500 people signed a petition on the liberal newspaper L’Unità’s website, which asked Italian women to say “enough already” to Berlusconi and his callous and irresponsible behavior. And on February 13th, a nationwide protest promoted by women is scheduled to take place. But perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.
“Decades after a feminist movement helped bring significant changes, including legal abortion and divorce, some argue that Italian women are worse off today than in the past. ‘It’s as if we’ve gone backwards since the ’70s,’ said Antonella Giacobbe, 55, as she attended a recent meeting in Rome of Filomena, a women’s advocacy group.”
It would be much worse if Italian females were only silently angry. Now that they have a concrete issue to rally behind, maybe they will be able to construct a new image for themselves, different from the “veline” (“hot-bodied showgirls who since the 1980s have been the hallmark of Mr. Berlusconi’s television network”) — with whom they complain that they don’t identify at all. And more than that, with enough support they may finally be able to command the treatment and respect that they want (and deserve) as women.
House Republicans Remove “Forcible Rape” From Antiabortion Bill: But not before The Daily Show could demystify the term for everyone! (Watch that video. We all know that the definition of ‘rape’ can be confusing at times, but Kristen Schaal guides us through it, clearing up the confusion between ‘rape-rape’, ‘rape-ish’, and ‘rape-with-benefits’.) Nonetheless, the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act” and the terrible sentiments toward women’s reproductive rights in general that the Republican House majority is trying to ease into our country’s dialogue are very dangerous. Not only does the name of the bill trick Americans into believing that the government is gobbling up their money to kill fetuses left and right — when really, in 2006 (the most recent year there is data for), federal money covered only 191 abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when the health of the mother was at risk. As Schaal points out, that adds up to 2/10 of a penny per taxpayer.
So what’s the point? Essentially, if the bill was enacted, another provision would include the imposition of tax penalties on people/small businesses with insurance plans that cover abortions. So more people would get insurance plans that don’t cover abortion. So insurance companies would stop covering abortion. (Irin Carmon’s article for Jezebel provides a more comprehensive outline of the potential — and likely — consequences of the bill.) It’s not that Republicans don’t want rape victims who end up pregnant to be able to choose to get an abortion. It’s that they don’t want anyone to be able to choose to get an abortion.
Fox News Is Grosser Than You Thought: A few months ago I went to see a burlesque parody of Fox News, aptly titled “Foxy News”. I didn’t realize how spot-on it really was. Check out this video compiled by Media Matters, which proves that Fox is not only your number one source for sensationalist, inaccurate news, but it’s also the one network that upholds family values — like objectifying women, keeping them in their place (you know, the kitchen), as well as looping videos of scantily-clad ladies dancing on a beach in Mexico while reporting completely irrelevant news: the dangers of drug cartels (see 2:11).
New Line Of Kids Makeup At Wal-Mart to Corrupt 8-Year Olds: And the Atlantic Wire has come up with three reasons why. 1) It’s a gateway drug (“the earlier you start with lip gloss, the earlier you start feeling that lip gloss is for babies,” writes Slate’s KJ Dell’Antonia), 2) cosmetics in general damage self-esteem, and 3) the makeup includes ‘anti-aging’ ingredients — which is just weird. Some think that making a big deal out of kiddie makeup is silly, but I tend to agree. I started wearing makeup when I was 14 because I was too embarrassed of the mountain range-like acne on my cheeks to not want to cover it up — but I always felt kind of gross slathering stuff on my face, and wished I didn’t have to. But once you get used to yourself with makeup, it’s difficult to accept yourself without it, and I personally wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Especially not elementary school girls.