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I was reading again the article published on this blog titled Freedom to undress, not to be, written by some students of a second class of the Grassi High School in Latina, a fresh and intelligent testimony that brings out the beauty of these young people who try not to be confused by the dominant culture proposed by the media and beyond, and offer us a reflection on what freedom actually is for a woman and how much the mass communication, which conveys a (sadly) common thought, is subtly and invisibly (or not even too invisibly) violent in proposing woman as a “decoration,” as an accessory of the program of the day, to be admired in her perfection (because woe betide not to be perfect). Among the insights offered in the article is the apathy with which issues of denied rights are addressed in Italy: while in the world there is a fight for women’s rights (the boys/girls recall Iran, a recent example of a real revolution that is still going on, where thousands of women and men are willing to undergo torture and even to die in order to claim respect for women’s Freedom of Thought and Action), in Italy everything seems instead to be silent and women (certainly not all of them, but a significant part do) passively accept this role I would say as the eternal “velina,” unable to oppose and have a critical thought with respect to the images of women proposed by the dominant culture (or at least, that appears dominant because the proposals of different female images do not sufficiently emerge and are not valued).

Freedom, violence, denied rights, absence of reaction… I was reminded again of a theme I have already addressed on this blog, the denied right to abortion, the social stigma, the danger of this happening again in Italy as well, and the absolute absence of reaction of “civil society” and especially, of young people, in this regard. The connection with the article by the high school students came to me precisely on the consideration of one of them, Giulia, with respect to the rebellion in Iran and the fact that, Giulia reflected, “In Italy I still do not see a real rebellion.” 

I wonder why in Italy there is so little rebellion against dogmas, stereotypes and denied rights and those few voices that do rise are so little valued by the media…. I do not know how to answer, but I invite once again to exercise this rebellion and to defend a right that is subtly denied, and this time, I propose the testimony that a friend of mine posted a few months ago on a social (I will not say which social nor the name of my friend, to protect her confidentiality) that is both beautiful and very hard at the same time and that, more than a thousand reflections, shows how much we need in Italy young people like high school boys, who reflect, who seek independent thinking and who have the will and courage to reject violence, of any kind, even such as that suffered by my friend and, unfortunately, by so many other women in Italy and beyond:

“I had an abortion. 17/07/2020. Station number 7, seventh on the list, the only IVG (voluntary interruption of pregnancy) in the ward. Maternity ward, that is, the one of births and crying in the middle of the night. I was ignored, cornered, neglected by the medical staff and visited several times by a psychiatrist and priest, treated in short like those who are not worthy of anything, of a word, of comfort, of a stupid Tachipirin.

Of the 3 days of imposed hospitalization, the first one I don’t remember, the second one I spent reading, and the third one I deliberately removed. Today I thank that strange nurse who in the middle of the night, secretly from everyone, asked me almost in my ear why I was doing this. A little curiosity in such dryness comes almost as a sign of peace. Rare fetal disease, I replied. Euphorically ascertained by the gynecologist at 15 weeks because in our country self-determination is a blasphemy. I walked out of the hospital and was happy: that I could return to my life, that I had courage, that I had exercised a right while suffering the violence of those who misrecognize that right.

Take this battle to heart. Do it for all the daughters, granddaughters, friends, sisters who are scattered around the world. Taking away women’s right to choose will not make you better, rather it will disperse a poison that will creep under your skin and stay there to rot everything because everything passes through freedom, even what you fear most and want to silence.”

Luigia Lazzaro


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