Today I had the bad idea of sharing this video with some #Italian #guys. Bad idea.
One of them reacted saying that: “Well, it’s just normal to expect women to act like that. It’s a value of femininity”.
A value of femininity. What is femininity? How is it usually defined? Let’s ask Google, so to be aware of what is this person thinking of, when he uses this word, this piece of language.
My research queries are “femininity, definition”.
Oxford Dictionaries: 1. the quality of being female; womanliness. “She celebrates her femininity by wearing make-up and high heels”
Free Dictionary: 1. The quality or condition of being feminine. 2. A characteristic or trait traditionally held to be female.
Dictionaries Cambridge: Having characteristics that are traditionally thought to be typical of or suitable for a woman
Since language is conventional, we can agree by using the word feminin he meant exactly this. He was referring -even if not aware of this probably- to the traditional role of women. Oudated. Prehystorical. Cavemen-like. You may choose.
It this had comen from the mouth of a person who lived in his small village, couldn’t study or go abroad, I would understand. We are all influcened by the society around us, so I would understand. But the sentence came from a educated person, two degrees, that works abroad, a person that is proud of his educational background. Sorry, I lost my temper. I can’t be excused, cause I should be stronger than that, but I lost my temper. Weakness of characther I guess.
Now the point is, the educated person kept asking why couldn’t I say things calmly. I gave him this example. Let’s imagine that an enlightned, educated white person says this to a black person (and be informed that these things have been told throught history, and in form of “scientifical statements”. It was not racism. At the time, it was just about observation of society and biology); he/she would probably go ahead this way:
You’re black, and it’s psychologically and biologically normal for you to like hard physical jobs. Looks at your muscles, the size of your brain and, in general, what other black people have done as jobs thoughout history! Oh and by the way, don’t get mad about what I’m saying, it’s just my opinion, why can’t you talk about that calmly?!?!
Please note: we interiorize cultural ideas throught socialization. So one doesn’t have to be surprised if a woman says the same to a woman (see the beaconed example of Costanza Miriano), or a black to a black. Cause it’s not the personal opinion that I’m challenging. It’s the society expectations, that are instilled in our brain and body since the first day we are born (and most likely, even before that). If you didn’t know this, maybe Wikipedia can help you.