It’s no secret that I am a strong Italian-American woman. Five minutes in a room…….or courtroom…….with me will show you that. That sense of strength, independence and fire is in my DNA. I had four strong Sicilian great-grandmothers and grandmothers who packed up everything they could into one suitcase and sailed to a better life in steerage. These were women who were from established families in Sicily; yet, even post-unification, they knew that the ancient mindset would keep them shackled to their stoves forever, no matter how successful the men in their families would become.
My great-grandfather, a respected bridge engineer, was liberal to a point, in that he allowed his daughter to get an education around 1910 but when she married the gardener, he disowned her. The point is that these traditional Italian women fought against that cultural mindset which reveres women but at the same time subjugates them to most Italian men.
This past weekend, many Italian women took to the streets in protest, yet many others merely went about their day, planning what to wear to lure a man into marriage. Maybe I should say what little to wear in that they believe sex is all they have to offer a relationship and these are young women in their 20s and 30s.
It is also no secret to those who know me that I have longed to have a temporary residence along the Amalfi Coast and have been researching ways to make that happen, even with a virtual position. Yesterday, I was further appalled when the ancient mindset of Italian culture slapped me in the face in that every job ad which I examined advertised an age limit for the position. Wait, what? Yes, you heard me right. There were openings for writers, journalists, executive consultants, marketing analysts and the ads clearly stated “Età max 35 anni.” Are you kidding me? In a country where unemployment is at 8.5%, although I suspect it’s close to double that in the south, and knows no age limit, these companies are openly discriminating against anyone over the age of 35. Certainly, age discrimination exists all over the world but in Italy they blatantly make no bones about it and in fact, they rank 74 out of 135 countries in a broadening global gender gap.
So, a women without an education over the age of 35 has no hope but to marry someone just to secure a future. The men, on the other hand, are trapped into marriages by women selling sex as an asset and then forced to support them forever when the marriage ends…and it does because nearly one in every two marriages ends in divorce in Italy.No wonder many Italian women scowl when they see an American “take away” an eligible Italian man from his homeland………..there goes a meal ticket!
Is this the 21st century or the Dark Ages? Mamma mia!