Friday, March 26, 2010

Italian Documentary

This is an email sent by Jeff B. I thought you'd like to hear Jeff's thoughts on this.
Video here.
I stumbled upon this documentary on the Internet several months ago; I bookmarked the page with the intention of sending it to you.....but have not gotten around to it until now. It was made by an Italian documentary filmaker--Lorella Zanardo, in 2009. It exposes the phenomenon of the sexist portrayal of women on Italian television; apparently it is rampant in that country. It focuses on how women become decorative & sexualized props on TV shows, and the reluctance of the Italian media to show older women, unless they’ve had botox/plastic surgery/implants etc.

Now, if you watch it, it may be difficult to keep the narrator is speaking in Italian and there are subtitles in English you have to read to understand. It is a fast-paced video with a lot of quick scenes & cuts to the next scene. So I recommend turning down the audio somewhat (but not all the way) so that you can better focus on reading the subtitles.
Plus I must let you know in advance that they show a lot of women's flesh; it is riddled with clips from actual Italian TV shows showing scantily-clad women. There is even one female contestant on a show who is tricked by the host into extending her arms out--which causes the towel she is holding to suddenly fall, and her bare breasts are exposed (much to the delight of the audience members).
But it is an incredible documentary to see, as it exposes the way that Italian TV shows degrade women & create a false reality in which real women are nearly non-existent. It is well-worth watching & a thought-provoking expose. And although this one highlights what is happening in Italy, you know that this is happening (albeit to a lesser degree) in other countries, including America.

I have looked around on the Internet for related articles & blog post about this documentary; they are very prevalent as the documentary has created quite a stir it seems. I recommend skimming through 1 or 2 of these articles; as that will help get you oriented to the story......because as I said the video is fast-paced & can be hard to follow the 1st time through due to having to read the subtitles.
To me, there seems to be 2 aspects to the story: 1. the sexualized visual portrayal of women on the shows (which obviously we know that appeals to men's fleshly desire; and as you must know by now this issue is such a struggle for us men); they dress them in an immodest way plus they get them to do things that are degrading. and 2. the phenomenom of the deliberate "removal" of real women on Italian TV. By real, I mean average-looking women & older women; and women that may be short, overweight, have wrinkles, etc. You know what I mean??
I have been more interested in that 2nd aspect of the story; you know the impact & consequences of it. For example, one consequence may be that in Italian society/culture, normal average-looking women (and/or older women) will be less valued in by that society. Such a shame & an evil!! The whole society is degraded by this; they have lowered their dignity, etc.
And what terrible message this must be sending to girls as they are growing up over there; you know they are tacitly being told that their value to society is largely based on their physical appearance.

Well, that is all I have for now on this; I thought you would find this documentary & issue of interest to you.

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