Hold My Hand and Fight

It’s been a while since I last posted a questionary in “You’ve Got No Reason Not to Fight”, but this doesn’t mean my journey around what being a woman today means has stopped. Many things have changed in my country since I first started this project: the former government is no more, which is positive, but economic instability and recession make our present more unstable and problematic than ever. The feminist movement in Italy has gone through a change, since the first object of its rage doesn’t (temporarily) have a central role in the political scene, but the issues dealing with our conditions as human beings and women are far from being solved. I’ve recently learnt more about the different currents of the movement and I’m actually trying to read [1] and deepen my knowledge about them as much as I can.

Now, let’s go back to today’s questionary. The protagonist is Raffy, a free-lance editor who has been a virtual friend of mine for many, many years. I asked her to contribute to this project because we have many things in common: we took the same degree in the 90s; she worked as a teacher for some time; we share a passion for movies and books and we have the sane political vision. I think she gave an interesting contribution, I hope you’ll appreciate it as much as I did.

Raffy and a furry toy (she loves them!)

* What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Chronic anxiety.

* What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Being free to experience the world (real or a fictional one) with an open mind and heart.

* Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
I’ve always been an X-Files fan so I adore Dana Scully for her intelligence, integrity and compassionate personality. And also Lily Bart from Edith Wharton’s wonderful The House of Mirth, whom, by the way, was played by Gillian Anderson in Terence Davies’ adaptation. It’s a kind of character who’s flawed, makes mistakes but at the end doesn’t compromise no matter the cost, and I appreciate that.

* Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
Uhm… Gillian Anderson?! I ‘m (just slightly) obsessed about her, she’s a fascinating actress and person. And I admire women writers like Joyce Carol Oates. She says she daydreams most of the time and then she produces a lot of incredible, intense and absorbing novels. Oh, and my mother has a peculiar wit. She’s recently had a very hard time and has reacted with remarkable spirit.

* What is your most vivid memory of the 90s?
I guess it’d be me and my friends Giampiero and Luca going to Milan to see indie movies (Nowhere by Gregg Araki, Happiness… good memories!)

* What does “feminism” mean to you?
Equality, actually. It means I can be myself and don’t have to justify myself for saying or doing something. You know when you criticise someone and, if it’s a women, you get “oh, you’re jealous”/”women are always bitches to other women”?… By the way, I dislike stereotypes about women and men as well.

* Have you ever experienced sexism?
Yes, not on a regular basis, thankfully – maybe in subtle ways but I have. And I think some Italian men are exaggerately chivalrous in order to “keep you in your place”.

* The quality you most admire in a woman?
Intelligence. Not just intellectual but also emotional intelligence, knowing one’s limits, embracing doubt.

* The quality you most admire in a man?
Same as above.

* What is your motto?
I could quote all the lyrics from Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple, it’s genius and wise! For example:

Everyone else’s goal’s to get big headed
Why should I follow that beat being that I’m
Better than fine

(This is taken from Waltz).

* Who would you have liked to be?
A ghostbuster. Or Dana Barrett when possessed by Zuul. No, really… myself, after all.

* Could you put your identity into a few key words?
Silly serious.

* How do you imagine your identity changing in ten years? Or twenty?
I hope I’ll be wise and calm. I hope so!

Probably she doesn’t know that but I’ve always found her approach to life extremely inspiring: her being “silly serious” sounds funny and quirky and it’s actually the best way to go through insane moments and the craziness of present times. She’s often made me understand life is so hard as it is, so a witty remark or some healthy irony can really be a turning point.

Oh, the title of the post is taken from a song by Juliette Lewis and the Licks which I love – I Never Got to Tell You What I Wanted To – and it’s a sort of homage to Raffy, because I think she looks a bit like Juliette Lewis.

[1] As a woman and especially as a mother, I strongly feel the responsibility of teaching B about (sex) equality and (sex) stereotypes. I’ve been fighting against them all my life, I’ve taken difficult decisions to escape the pattern society wanted to impose on me, and I don’t want B to go through the same experience. As for this topic, I’ve found this document (in Italian) about stereotypes particularly interesting.

6 comments

  1. oh, una collega, bene :o)

    per curiosità sono andata a controllare la data del libro della Gianini Belotti: è del 73. Direi che stiamo peggio oggi di allora: non solo gli stereotipi sulla femminilità stile “famiglia cristiana” sono sempre in auge, ma si sono perversamente intrecciati con quelli della principessa e della coniglietta… viva la reazione delle giovani mamme!

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