“It’s Like You Have to Make Up Your Own Rules Because the Old Rules Don’t Apply.”

I’ve been recently thinking a lot about the future and I can’t deny I’m pretty worried. There are moments when everything is black and events out of your little world confirm that. Ironically, these days, one of the most recurring words I’ve used is “hope”, which means, for me, hope for a better job condition (for a job, I’ll say in a couple of months) and – most of all – hope for a better world for my daughter to live in. Nowadays it’s hard to have hope in the future if you live in Italy and are a 36-year-old teacher with a fixed-term contract, but I’m trying not to give up the fight against what I think is leading this country to annihilation.

The world sucks, it’s true, but there are some people who make me understand I shouldn’t lose my faith in the human race: one of those is Giulia Blasi, an Italian writer and blogger. I started blogging in 2003 and she already was a star, so you may get why I’m so proud to feature her in my tiny project. I’d love to explain why there are many reasons to admire and support her, but I’ll let her words to the talking.

Giulia and her latest novel, “Il mondo prima che arrivassi tu”, published in 2010.

*What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Having no future, no sense that thing may change and improve. Being stuck in the proverbial cul-de-sac, repeating tasks day after day with no real purpose. I guess there is worse (like: being in a war, losing your loved ones), but as far as my personal experience goes, that’s the lowest of the low.

*What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Loving and being loved, having purpose in life. So boring, I know.

*Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
That’s a tough one. I’ll have to go with Dana Scully, who was, I believe, the one that changed my perception of femininity. She was assertive, rational and warm at the same time. I loved her.
Other than Scully, I’d say Daria Morgendorffer (who legitimized my perpetual displacement) and Thursday Next. I am fascinated by women who dare step outside of their given boundaries.

*Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
Franca Viola, who refused to marry her rapist and was single-handedly responsible for a radical change in Italian rape laws; Teresa Noce, who is now largely forgotten but was among the people who wrote the Constitution of the Italian Republic (and fought for it when it was time); Ada Lovelace, who basically invented computers; Zadie Smith, because she writes like no one else, male of female; Rita Levi Montalcini, quite simply one of the best minds of our time.

*What is your most vivid memory of the 90s (from music, fashion, politics, culture)?
If I have to be completely honest here, my first memory of the Nineties was me dancing in front of the TV along with the kids in Club MTV. Cheesy, I know. I remember grunge, being obsessed with Pearl Jam, Britpop, watching “Daria”, dancing with my friends into the wee hours, being in a band. Looking back, it was a good life. I don’t know why I was so unhappy. I wish I’d known then what I know now.

*What does “feminism” mean to you?
It’s who I am.

*Have you ever given an active contribution to the feminist cause?
Other than co-founding Sorelle d’Italia? I guess I’m a feminist every day, as much as I possibly can.

*Have you ever experienced sexism?
We all have. Sexism is everywhere. Most of us just don’t realize it. Mind you, I am as guilty as anybody else of exploiting it for my benefit: I liked not paying to get into clubs because I was a girl.

*The quality you most admire in a man?
Loyalty.

*The quality you most admire in a woman?
As above.

*What is your motto?
I don’t really have one, but when I’m angry it’s good to remember that line from “Rise” by P.i.L.: “Anger is an energy”. I try not to waste it.

*What is the object that represents you most?
My computer, probably.

*Who would you have liked to be?
At risk of sounding conceited, I’m OK with being myself. I wish I could be a better writer, though. I’m working on that.

*Could you put your identity into a few key words?
Girlfriend/Aunt/Storyteller, but it’s not really all I am. I also guess I’m all sorts of things to all sorts of different people. “Aunt” is really important to me right now, though! I’ve only been doing it for three years. Anything else I’ve been at much longer than that.

*How do you imagine your identity changing in ten years? Or twenty?
I don’t really see my identity changing much. My job description may vary, but I guess I’ll be roughly the same person I am now. A new and improved version of the same person, hopefully.

When I first wrote Giulia, introducing my project, I explained I was feeling the urgency to hear from women on feminism and activism, even if I knew my efforts wouldn’t change the world. She replied: “One blog can’t change the world, but if many women give their contribution in creating a new iconography of femininity, sooner or later we’ll reap what we sow.” This idea has lingered in my mind for many days: thinking of a world made better by my efforts is comforting, it somehow turns my fear into hope.

 

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