Italian women aren’t laughing any more. “Striscia Notizia” takes the hint?

photo credit: mariella

photo credit: mariella

Just a quick post to fill in the gap while I am working on my next LONG article… My marito pointed out to me today that the infamous “Striscia Notizia” has made a rather large and perhaps revolutionary change to it’s format.

For those of you who don’t know it already: “Striscia Notizia” is a satirical news show on Canale 5, one of Berlusconi’s stations. It has had a long-standing format of two men who read the news as two scantily clad female models flutter about them in the background. Sexist comments are rampant, and the show is well known to feminists (and non-feminists alike) for its shocking treatment of women.

The 20+ minute documentary, “Il Corpo Delle Donne” (Women’s Bodies), cites this show a few times.

So the big news is that, apparently they have reversed the format of the show… Starting in the next season, there will be two women reading the news, with male models attending to them.

What do we think? Are they missing the point? Is it just Berlusconi’s attempt with win some female support? What do you predict popular reaction will be? Does objectifying men make up for the years of objectifying women? Or do we even care, just as long as there are hot men flexing on the screen?

By the way, if you haven’t watched this, you really should:

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14 thoughts on “Italian women aren’t laughing any more. “Striscia Notizia” takes the hint?

    • True, this show has historically been one of the primary reasons I cite for not owning a television in Italy. I am a bit curious about the reversal, however!

  1. Good idea to post the subtitled documentary, it should be seen more abroad! As for Striscia, the show is a quintessential expression of nowadays Italy. Changing girls with boys looks to me just a ruse: the point is that TV in Italy rhymes with sex and it’s difficult to watch a popular show that survives without that. We’ll see, we’ll see…:-)

    • “We’ll see, we’ll see” – well put! Like I said, I don’t have a TV, so you guys will have to keep me updated! I will have to wait for someone to YouTube some clips, I suppose. YouTube comments are always a good way to gauge popular reaction…
      -M

  2. I actually think this is pretty cool! If we’re talking about working within the culture as it is, instead of abstract ideals of how it should be, in order to move towards change, I think something like this can be relatively effective. At the very least surprise the audience and make it reflect a little on the status quo. Obviously we need to move away from objectification in general, but Jennifer’s right: sex does sell. So why not also (in addition to taking more creative, non-sexual approaches to advertising) even the playing field? Plus, there is a beauty-appreciation component that is quintessentially Italian and the pop culture front has been woefully bereft in terms of eye-candy fun for women. Positing that women are above this somehow or less interested in sexual images than men is just as sexist as saying women are better at house-cleaning than men.

    • Very good points, Michelle! (I am definitely NOT above being interested in male sexual images… just sayin’.)
      I agree – I think the best thing about it is the surprise factor. I’ve already heard tons of girls being shocked and pledging to start watching the show again, just based on the rumor of the format switch. I think it would be great to even the playing field.

      When I was in college, I was a Residential Advisor, and I remember doing this exercise as part of our diversity training where all the girls lined the hallway and the boys had to walk down the hall in the middle. We were told to cat call and jeer at them the way men do to women in public sometimes. The reaction was super interesting. When the guys talked about it afterwards, they pointed out all kids of things that only become obvious when there’s that stark role reversal, if only for a minute. Things that women either get tired of saying, or take for granted as normal.

      I’m excited to see what kinds of conversations come out of this in Italy.
      -M

  3. I HATE this show. I used to watch it when I was first learning Italian because it was one of the only things on tv I understood (which demonstrates its overall level of language /intellect I think!). Like you, I don’t have a tv now precisely because of stupid programmes like this, but would be interested to know if their viewing figures bomb wit this new experiment. It sounds like it’ll be just as tasteless as before! Un saluto, Francesca

    • Yeah, I’m curious to see what will happen… well, HEAR what will happen, as I do not have a television either. At first, I worried that maybe it would hinder my language learning – not owning a TV. But after seeing a few shows on friend’s sets, I brushed that aside. Let’s not get started on how I have to pay the national TV tax anyway. Like Italian TV is good enough to warrant trying to watch it online. Arg.
      -M

  4. Is there a way to message you? I was so deeply disturbed by this article, especially after watching the video. I’m afraid some might take offense to my thoughts and join the “it’s always been this way” camp.

  5. Pingback: Expat Vent Alert (E.V.A.) – an early detection warning system | Married to Italy

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