Il Corpo Delle Donne
Zanardo’s 25 min YouTube doc ‘Il Corpo Delle Donne’ is about the objectification of women on Berlusconi-owned Italian TV. Imagine a woman sitting in a cage while the TV host hurls insults at her. Or a woman hung from a meat hook and having her backside branded like cattle. Just imagine.
I’m not generally one of those people who go to see ‘educational’ films or documentaries. Most of the time I want to film to lift me out of my humdrum, stressful life and entertain me for an hour or two. Sometimes, however, a film or documentary comes along that speaks to me and I HAVE to watch it, subtitles or not (I actually prefer subtitles being deaf in one ear but shhhh!).
One such documentary came to my attention recently, made by an Italian film-maker Lorella Zanardo and called “Il Corpo Delle Donne”, which translates to “Women’s bodies”. She also narrates the documentary and includes TV clips. I hope you will watch it, it’s under 25 mins and here is the english subtitled version on YouTube: Il Corpo Delle Donne. When I watched it I have to say it really spoke to me.
Zanardo is based in Italy, and the documentary focuses on Italian TV but it has a resonance for all of us, not just women in Italy. A bit of background into Italian media for those who don’t know: the Prime Minister of Italy (Silvio Berlusconi) also owns a LOT of the media, including television stations , films, publishing, newspapers and even sport. He is also well known, as you’ve probably seen in the papers, for being a bit of a… what I like to call dirt-bird. He sleeps with prostitutes, cheats on his wife, uses his power to make young women sleep with him and generally objectifies women.
Now, the point of that background is to let you know that, although not the sole reason for the opinions of Italian TV, things have certainly intensified with Berlusconi owning a lot of it. Women on Italian TV are treated as “decorative props”, as it was described to me. They are objectified, humiliated and treated like Barbies. No woman on Italian TV is fat, older, and ugly and so on. In fairness, not every woman, perhaps, but the vast majority.
Zanardo’s documentary is aimed at exposing this, and showing women (and hopefully men) what women are subjected to on Italian TV. Including a woman being made to sit in a see-through ‘cage’ dressed in skimpy clothes while the present hurls insults at her. Or another being hung from a meat hook and having her backside ‘stamped’ like a side of beef. The men on Italian TV see women as nothing more than a piece of meat it seems.
Now, I realise TV in the UK here is nowhere near as bad as this. But stop and think a moment. How often do you see ‘normal’ women in a lot of TV shows? Same in America, when you see an American TV show, how many of the women are ‘normal’? Most of the women are slender and attractive, with makeup in place and hair done. Few are older ladies who’ve had no work done. Few are overweight. Few are ‘alternative’. It’s something to think about, and definitely something to be aware of when watching TV.
The documentary Il Corpo Delle Donne is moving, affecting and eye-opening. It moved me to tears at the thought that these women are subjected to this, and allow themselves to be subjected to it. We all need to be aware of how TV warps how we see ourselves, other women and how men see things. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and people should be appreciated for the inside as well.