Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film
Edited By Giancarlo Lombardi and Christian Uva
Danielle Hipkins - Nessuno mi può giudicare: Making Over the Prostitute from a Post-Feminist Perspective
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Still capture from Nessuno mi può giudicare, by Massimiliano Bruno (Italian International Film, Rai Cinema)
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Nessuno mi può giudicare: Making over the Prostitute from a Post-Feminist Perspective
A Youtube video posted in June 2013,1 above the tagline ‘siamo tutti puttane’, shows editor of the centre-right daily Il Foglio, Giuliano Ferrara, applying red lipstick. This act was part of a protest organised by his newspaper over the sentencing of Silvio Berlusconi to seven years in prison and banishment from public office for paying underage Karima El Mahroug for sex. The image speaks to the importance of gendering prostitution in Italian national discourse: the pronoun may be tutti, but the noun is still gendered female, retaining its stigmatising qualities, and completely ignoring the emergence of terms ‘sex work’ and ‘escort’ that present a different notion of agency to that of puttana. Ferrara’s action, which might otherwise serve to highlight the ‘perfomativity’ of gender, re-inscribes gender difference through its comic absurdity and right-wing address. His ‘makeover’ draws attention to its exceptionality through the deliberately clumsy application of the lipstick (without a mirror). Intent on provoking polemics, either through laughter and/or offence, Ferrara instead underlines how we are not all ‘puttane’, but how it is still the masquerade of femininity, signified via red lipstick, that is the shorthand for moral, sexual, and social abjection. At the same time, its laughter disavows nervous awareness of the...
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