Lo spazio pubblico si femminilizza, ma scompare il conflitto tra i sessi
by Lea Melandri
“Feminizing the public space” does not only mean highlighting women’s presence therein, but also realizing that “femininity,” as it has been traditionally defined, is strongly relevant today in the same space from which it was excluded for centuries. According to Melandri, in the last twenty years, some ambiguous figures have appeared in Italy: veline, escort, donne-immagine. She argues that while we cannot talk about prostitution, in this case, we are still in front of an objectification of women’s bodies, however, of a different kind: women themselves now exploit the powerful qualities that men have attributed to them, such as sexuality and maternity, in an attempt to turn the conditions that were at the basis of their enslavement to their advantage. For Melandri, this is the revenge of “historical femininity.” At the same time, the public sphere demands “female resources,” in that it values qualities that are traditionally attributed to women: not only female eroticism, but also the capacity to listen and the ability to mediate conflicts that are proper to the female maternal. These are the “female talents” that, according to Melandri, appear to be needed in today’s mode of production, which is more and more immaterial, placing life in its entirety at work, engaging the individual’s needs and feelings.