Violence against women exists, and it is one of the main social problems. It assumes various forms: from the most serious, such as murder, to those more mundane. In fact, violence against women is not only seen on the tortured body of a wife beaten by her husband, or on the face disfigured by the acid of a woman by the hands of her ex-partner. Violence has roots that are now intrinsic to our culture. The fact that during Covid-19, 99% of layoffs were against women is a form of violence. The fact that a woman is afraid to walk around alone at night is a form of violence. The fact that a woman thinks about how to dress based on means of transportation she must take is a form of violence. All these forms, which of course, are less serious and in some ways not comparable to the more fearsome forms of violence, such as rape murder, physical and psychological violence, are however not to be underestimated. In fact, we could say that in a certain sense they are the area in which the most serious forms find space. In fact, violence against women, as the other types of violence, is based on an unequal relationship between the victim and the aggressor, in which the aggressor depersonalizes the victim and objectifies her.
The continuous sexualization of women’s bodies in social media and advertisements (to name some examples) can lead to the common thinking to identify the woman only with her body, and to her consequent objectification. Therefore continuous sexually explicit references, which belittle the value of women and identify them only with their body image, are precisely the mechanism that underlies the violence. To cite an example: Diletta Leotta a few days ago worked during the Verona-Juventus match. Here are some of the headlines of the “articles” published: “Diletta Leotta, during the match Verona-Juve: her B-side is amazing!”, “Diletta Leotta is beautiful at the Bentegodi for Verona-Juve”, “McKennie Mejo stares at Diletta Leotta a**! He is a National Hero!’”, “Diletta Leotta, sexy workout: curves in evidence and impeccable smile”. What we can all guess is that Diletta Leotta has a “beautiful B side”, that she is beautiful, endowed with sexy curves and an impeccable smile, and that McKennie Mejo is a national hero, because he was caught on camera watching her. Certainly no one would know how Diletta Leotta has commented on the match and if besides being beautiful she is also competent in her job. She was totally stripped of any competence she might have, to give back to the public a devalued and heavily objectified image to the public.
Unfortunately, these episodes are quite common, and we can cite many women, known and unknown, who face these comments from colleagues, strangers, and friends every day. Violence against woman is relational, because in most cases it is inscribed in a relationship, with its own characteristics and peculiarities. But violence against women is also social and cultural, based on the obvious disparity between men and women, unfortunately still evident today.
Written by: Marta Matuella
Translated by: Francesca Camilla Perra