Sex and Beauty
I shot this advertisement on the corner of via Nazionale and via Mazzarino. It’s for a Japanese electronics company with the tagline “The seduction of technology.” I don’t know about you ladies, but I always erotically hug by television screen while dressed in evening wear. The model is so semi-porn star that I had to take a photo and it got me thinking about something that’s always bothered me about Italian culture. That’s the culture of beauty and sex and how especially for women, it’s seen as a viable means to get ahead. Now I’m not going all American Puritan on you, I am not ultra-conservative, but I think when you have a place where becoming a ass shaking television showgirl (known as a velina) has a solid launching pad to a career in news, politics, etc. something just isn’t right. A lot of this is getting international press now because of the scandal Berlusconi created by nominating several veline to the European Parliament even though they have no credentials. Simply put, everywhere you go you are confronted with Italy’s obsession with beauty. In some ways it’s amazing—no people walking around in sweat pants, everyone always putting in an effort to look put together. And in other ways it makes me sad to see all the women, young and old with pulled back tight skin, giant balloon lips, and five inches of makeup. There seems to be the message that if you are beautiful, you will succeed. For a woman, if you are intelligent, but not “beautiful” it seem like it’s ten times harder to get ahead. I think this is something that happens a bit in the US as well, but here is really taken to another level. Is it any wonder that eating disorders among women are a huge problem here? It makes me happy I grew up in a place where yes, we see models in magazines and there is pressure to be “beautiful” and “thin” but it’s not the pinnacle of our culture and one thing that makes me worried about ever having a family here would be “what if I have a daughter?” Would I want her to grow up in a place where so much pressure is based on appearance?
Italians, what do you think about the role of women and beauty? Is it just a normal part of life or has it become exaggerated?