Feminism Or Fascism: Which Side Is Italy's First Female Prime Minister On?

Her speech during the center-right demonstration in Rome became the refrain of "I am Giorgia," a song gone viral.

4 min read
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“I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian." This phrase, vehemently uttered by Fratelli d'Italia leader Giorgia Meloni in the speech she gave during the center-right demonstration in Rome's Piazza San Giovanni on 19 Oct 2019 has become the refrain of "I am Giorgia," a hit song that is sweeping the web with a video that has gone viral.

It was made by MEM & J who took excerpts from Meloni's speech and remixed them with a base of electronic music, posting the video on his Youtube channel where it has quickly surpassed 6 million views.

And this is the same Giorgia who, on Sunday night, won the Italian elections with a sweeping majority, becoming, potentially, the first woman Prime Minister in Italy. Leaving many of us astonished instead of celebrating something we were waiting for since 1946.

Because as Natalia Aspesi, a journalist and one of Italy's best commentators, wrote: “Finally, the crystal roof shattered, shattered to pieces! Until now, the albeit rare head-butts, the ladies had attempted had always resulted in bumps and bruises, but the crystal had remained intact. What a miraculous event, a little blond head of a young female, a few days ago, popped up from underneath and not a scratch, in fact all smiling and combed, while the sharp splinters wounded rivals, males, but also sodalists, also males, all of them in terror”.


Are Women Leaders in Italy Free of Fascism?

In fact, we always had imagined the first woman Prime Minister to be different. A liberal, cultured and open minded woman. Somebody who does not behave and talk, to use a definition often used for Giorgia, like 'a fishwife' (with all the due respect for fishwives).

Above all, somebody who does not come from a dark past lost into the black shirts of fascism. Because even if she recently had condemned fascism in public, the dark shadows of her associates are still lingering over her. Strangely enough, all the leftist women who aspired to that role never succeeded.

Because they are more subject to hierarchies, more in competition with each other and because their parties are more male-oriented than they like to confess.

In fact, the campaign of liberals not only did not have any reliable strong woman candidate, but has been focussed, instead than on proposals and programs, almost only on evoking the black ghosts of fascism.

Will Giorgia Bat for Feminist Rights?

Mind it, nobody really thinks we'll see again in the streets of Rome-- a black shirts march, nobody really thinks, not even the chief of Democratic Party, that Giorgia will change our democratic regime. But because of that past, never truly renegade if not by her by many of her sodals, I am hurt like many Italians, by her unfortunately deserved victory, a victory granted to her by the democracy.

I'm hurt because the woman, the mother, the Christian and the Italian Giorgia, stands for everything I despise, against everything I've been fighting my whole life. I'm just hoping that she will not try to change the law 194, the much-discussed law on abortion following the lead of US, Poland or Hungary.

But, to be fair,Giorgia succeded, against all odds, because, before being right-wing, she is a woman first. And she succeded for all the reasons that occasionally make a woman stand out in this male-dominated country. She succeded for her invincible perseverance, the strength to come out of the suburbs. For the commitment she showed in studying and always be on the point (a point that makes me cringe, but still).


What Made Meloni Win

Meloni made it upwards on her own, without godfathers. She did not ask permission, she did not seduce anyone; she is nobody's wife or mistress or daughter. She just took advantage of that male fragility whereby if you behave with the authority with that mild annoyance of a mother or a teacher, no male in this country will stop you.

She managed, relying only on her abilities, to climb her way to the top keeping at bay people like Berlusconi and Salvini who are part of her coalition.

It was somewhat refreshing, instead of watching Salvini's rosaries and Berlusconi's dentures (who managed to have his actual fianceè elected for no good reason), to see Giorgia dancing when her victory was clear. She won. And now she has to show her capability to resist the opposing forces.

Giorgia’s Steadfast Agendas Show Her Firm Footing

And the message, at least in these first days, look clear. She has no intention to give up the European Union or to join the Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán. In fact, she is rooting for quite the opposite.

According to diplomatic sources in Paris, Berlin, and Brussels, the acting Prime Minister Mario Draghi contacted Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz, and Ursula von der Leyen, guaranteeing for Giorgia. And reassuring the Union bigwigs on the three pillars that will guide the action of the future government.

Three conditions that Meloni pledged to accept. First: the new government will continue to support the commitment including military to Ukraine and to keep the sanctions front against Moscow united. Second, stable and unquestionable anchorage to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), without wavering or demarcation. Third, it will not approve new budget slippages, so as to keep public debt under control.

Only time will say whether she'll be able to govern with a potentially turbulent majority, if she will keep law 194 without bringing us 40 years backwards or if she will prevent her allies from changing the Constitution. We finally have a woman Prime Minister: May God help her and us.

(Francesca Marino is a journalist and a South Asia expert who has written ‘Apocalypse Pakistan’ with B Natale. Her latest book is ‘Balochistan — Bruised, Battered and Bloodied’. She tweets @francescam63. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author's own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for his reported views.)

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Topics:  Fascism   Right-Wing   Italy PM 

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