Rome Travel Guide

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Women with Guns: Rome's New Feminism

Saudi Arabia has just labeled feminism, along with homosexuality and something else I can't recall, an "extremism."  Having survived the American 1970s as a male, I can see their point. I was forced to learn to cook!

But that was almost 50 years ago, and I wasn't prepared for the hostile, militant feminism I found on the walls of Rome in the Spring of 2019.  I should qualify the "walls of Rome" reference in the last sentence.  Most of the aggressive feminist images and slogans I found were not in "Rome," as if they were everywhere in Rome, but in certain areas of the city--especially Pigneto, but a few other places as well.

Here we go.

You may have seen this one; it's been on the RST Facebook site.  "Monogamy is the New Fascism." It's in English, so maybe it doesn't count.

This one's a stencil.  While the message seems aggressive, it's also sensible:  "Neither forced maternity nor imposed sterility."

The next one's more obviously aggressive, yet it's also vague about what it's advocating:  "We're multiplying the feminist rage."  Followed by the standard feminist symbol - in triplicate.

"Addio al patriarcato"--a reasonable translation would be "Goodbye Patriarchy."  Who could disagree with that?  The symbol here combines feminism with anarchy.  Anarcho-Feminism.

Below: "Complicit with the women who resist and kill the aggressors." That's strong.

Now we're into visuals.  Many of these fall into the "women with..." category.

As in, below, "Woman with a Drill" (and small wrench).  One could think of this as something like Rosie the Riveter, or....?    From Ostiense.

Below, a piece of wall art.  I tried to translate "Tommy gani [or cani?] sciorti" and could not.  This is "woman with dagger as hand":

Then there's "woman with dynamite" (upper poster):

And "women with guns."  Four of the figures in the poster below are women, and three of them have guns. The rally of the New Resistances was to take place in Casal Bertone--a community just north of Pigneto.

The following poster invokes the Partisans of the 1940s, and in that sense the woman with a gun is justified.  But it also says "oggi antifascisti" (today [we are] antifascists]), and it's not so clear that anti-fascism requires women (or anyone) carrying weapons:

This poster announces a "sciopero globale transfeminista"--"a global strike of transfeminists," I guess.  The woman is masked and ready for street combat.

Two more.  The first one, below, was found in Pigneto and starts with "Gender violence also involves (or concerns) you." "La Casa delle Donne Lucha y Siesta" ("Women's House - Fight and Nap") is a self-run women's organization fighting violence against women, located in the Tuscolano quartiere. Again, the image has a Rosie-the- Riveter quality, but it's more aggressive than welcoming.

And finally, from Ostiense. Here, less aggressive than anxious? (For more on the F word in Rome, see here.)

Author of "Patty's Got a Gun: Patricia Hearst in 1970s America."

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