Ecco il contributo integrale di Chiara Volpato al dibattito aperto sul New York Times su sesso e potere in Italia. Ricordiamo che Chiara Volpato è docente di Psicologia sociale all’Università Bicocca di Milano ed è la prima firmataria dell’appello lanciato da Donne della realtà per invitare gli italiani a esporre un lenzuolo alla finestra con la scritta: “Dimissioni”.
Since the beginning of his political career, Silvio Berlusconi has exhibited sexist attitudes and habits. The situation has gotten worse over the years. Now it has turned into a parody of Fellini’s “Satyricon.”
Of course, not everyone in Italy accepts Berlusconi’s behavior. Although some Italians have fully soaked in Berlusconi’s ideology either because of self-interest or a lack of education, many others feel indignation, shame and anger at the prime minister.
But for the dissenters, it is hard to gain visibility given the power that Berlusconi exerts on the mass media, especially over the TV networks. It is a very effective control since 7 out of 10 Italians get their news mainly from TV and radio. No explanation of Berlusconi’s popularity can ignore these facts.
In Berlusconi’s media, women and minors are denigrated to a “decorative” role. This representation cements women’s subordinate position in Italian society.
The result is that Italy ranks 74th in the 2010 gender gap report released by the World Economic Forum. Based on factors like economic and educational opportunities and political participation, Italy trails many other advanced countries. Fewer than 50 percent of Italian women work outside their houses, whereas the average for European women is over 57 percent.
Under this condition, some women try to improve their quality of life by forming personal relationships with men of high status and power.
In my opinion, Italy is witnessing a huge social experiment. It is a political laboratory for a regime based on mass media control. This use of media power could even become a model for other democratic countries. What is happening in Italy today could take place elsewhere tomorrow.