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The Damsels of Slut Shaming – “Tanto gentile...

The Damsels of Slut Shaming – “Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare”(*)

Translated by Ritanna Novielli
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Years ago, I was talking to a very wise man (who happens to be a professor of Medieval History) about social medias. It was, more or less, September 2012. Twitter, Facebook and so on were already a big deal but not such a big one as they are today – April 2013 – a day and age in which we could say that the Twitter crowd overruled the government and nobody would accuse us of having spent too much time happy in the haze of a drunken hour. (Just to be clear, the imaginary Twitter crowd didn’t actually overrule anything at all.)

So, ending – brilliantly – the slow and long exchange of

 They’re useful, just look at their success in the Arab Spring/ No, they’re a waste of time, think of the kids on Facebook, wasting hours clicking like like like and forgetting proper grammar/ people don’t talk to each other anymore, where are the public squares, where is  the human connection, the CIA is spying on us

the aforementioned wise man said, more or less, this: “They are like medieval courts, like courtyards around the block. They are just louder. Nothing more, nothing less.”

 due

uno Every time I stumble upon those arguments applied to any social media/problem/situation, I recall a morning in September. It was when the social networks and I were still “just friends”, before I became dependant on them for things such as paying the rent and I was yet to become the kind of person who went on babbling things like “I spent hours and hours on xx, yy-ing and i didn’t notice it was getting darker” (xx is usually Tumblr, and yy-ing is usually reading things like this article and being moved to the point of trying to change my entire existence). It was a morning when the parallel between courts, courtyards and laptops was as crystal clear as spring water.

A year and a half later, I can’t escape the mystical world of social networks. I’m so entangled in it that I actually wonder if there’s still life away from wifi, if the birds actually tweet, now that the water isn’t as pristine as before. But I remain sure about the court metaphor: it’s all just louder. (I don’t like outdoors/nature that much, anyway)

It’s true that the awwww part of the web is pretty much still there, but it’s also true that the interweb fosters quite easily an “I’m always right” attitude, a self-celebration also found in gossiping courts.

dear-girlsWell, in the XIV century, you could have said doth girleth ankles art showing, positively unladylike and the news would not have traveled from Verona to Mantua that fast (making Leo die in vain!) but, centuries later, saying that girl is a slut and i know that ‘cause she posted photos of her butt for EVERYONE to see is much easier. The news travels from Verona to Mantua instantly – and it’s easy to sport an I am better because you can search as much as you want on the Internet and you would never find even a shadow of my nipples attitude.

Keeping your boobs inside your t-shirt becomes something to take pride in, as much as the sarcastic comments scattered around the web about Sasha Grey’s new career as a DJ (and we all know how she reached that DJ station) prove that I have my flaws but I don’t do those things. And not only I don’t do those things, but I can selflessly explain to you how to be a proper, self-respecting girl: a makeup-free face wins over boobs anytime and if you wear a see-through shirt and a pair of shorts to go meet your favourite celebrities then you really don’t deserve it. The witch hunt (against the slutty girls who showed their ankles) is not that far away from you gossiping while feeding the hens in your backyard. But now, because it’s louder, the gossip spreads even farther than Mantua.

So, now, even if Thebes is not small anymore (**), and “people” didn’t stop whispering, messages like this, this or this one have the same power and the same probability of being heard as the psst did you see how she’s dressed?

But please let me tell you, the same it’s louder principle didn’t just help spreading rumors and creating memes, it also helped give a voice to this.

Egypt-Jan-25-flag-300x199

A success not even the Crusaders dreamt of.

 

Pics from * * *

Translator’s Notes

* “So kind and so dignified she appears” – The quote comes from one of Dante Alighieri’s sonnets.

** A quote from this italian sketch. It refers to a hypothetical process to Oedipus exploited for the entertainment of the loud judging public. The process was hypothetically carried on in the “small” greek city of Thebes.


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