#Femminicidio: non c’entra né l’amore né la “gelosia”

Al di là del Buco


Sara di Pietrantonio, l’ultima vittima di femminicidio, è stata uccisa dall’ex fidanzato. Alla fine lui ha confessato dicendo che le ha dato fuoco quand’era ancora viva. L’ha messa al rogo e ha lasciato un corpo bruciato dove prima c’era una ragazza che stava per tornare a casa. Dell’ex fidanzato dicono – i conoscenti di lei – che la perseguitasse e che non aveva gradito di essere stato lasciato. Un No è difficile da digerire per uno che vuole solo imporre potere, controllo, che è interprete della cultura del possesso. Qualcuno lo ha descritto come un individuo “geloso” e già sui media inizia il processo alla vittima con chi afferma che lei avrebbe intrapreso un’altra storia.

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Oggi ci ha scritto Sonia, chiedendoci di divulgare una storia terribile e che fatichiamo a raccontare.

Questa vicenda al limite dell’umano sì è svolta a Rio de Janiero, in una favela.

Un ragazza di 16 anni, sabato 21 maggio, è stata stuprata da 33 uomini.

Questi uomini, che si fatica a definire tali, decidono di far girare il video dello stupro su twitter. Il tweet ottiene più di 550 cuoricini e parecchi commenti di utenti che ridicolizzano la vittima. Qualcuno arriva anche a scrivere che ha ottenuto ciò che voleva.

Una tra le varie immagini condivise mostra un uomo con la lingua fuori in posa sul bacino della ragazza sanguinante.

La ragazza è stata trovata tre giorni dopo, subito dopo la diffusione virale del video. Ora ai trova al sicuro con la famiglia, che chiede l’anonimato per preservare la salute fisica e mentale della figlia.

La ragazza infatti avrà bisogno…

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Stupends! The Bellissim Story of Cappuccett Red. — AboutWords

Ever wondered what the story of Little Red Riding Hood would look like in broken English? One of my students kindly obliged, writing this Maccheronico version of the famous Brothers Grimm tale. It’s a veriment’ work of art. One Mattin her mamma dissed: ‘Dear Cappuccett, take this cest to the nonn, but attention to the lup […]

via Stupends! The Bellissim Story of Cappuccett Red. — AboutWords

Looking for a job in Italy? You might need a ton of ‘bella presenza’

Ahh, la bella presenza. A brit friend of mine once asked what the f**k is this bella presenza they all ask in job ads? There’s not a proper word to translate bella presenza, and no, it has nothing to do with dress code or with corporate appearance. It is something that is widely asked for in job ads throughout Italy, and that, with no surprise (at least from me) is totally incorrect to ask for in other countries. And if you want to know what bella presenza is, I will give you a pair of hints. You must be at least 1.70-75 m tall (roughly 5,70″ – 90″), hopefully blonde, slim, and with a babe face. Does it sound wrong? It totally is. I cannot count the jobs I could not apply for because my presenza was not bella. And this goes even further: in the end, for the person who hires it is more important to hire someone who looks good than someone who is actually prepared for the job. Not all jobs ask this, but even FAO wants you to be bella (or bello) if you want to be  a conference host. All of this, to summarize, is known in other countries as discriminatory practices:

The Ninth Circuit determined United Airlines’ weight policy was discriminatory on its face. The court found that, although both men and women were subject to weight restrictions, the airline was imposing more burdensome weight restrictions on women by requiring female flight attendants to meet maximums for a medium-framed person while men were allowed to reach maximums for larger-framed persons. Finding that “United made no showing that having a disproportionately thinner female than male flight attendants bears a relation to flight attendants’ ability to greet passengers, push carts, move luggage, and, perhaps most important, provide physical assistance in emergencies,” the court reversed the district court’s decision. Id. at 855.


The quote above is a perfect example of what bella presenza is. It affects more women than men – it is more acceptable to hire an overweight man than it is to hire an overweight woman. A simple search on job boards in Italian, with the search query bella presenza returns a lot of ads. Even if you want to be a translator or an interpreter, you will need some bella presenza, too. Poor us, we thought that knowing the language and knowing how to translate it was the most important thing!

The Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission states the following:

Physical features discrimination

Discrimination is treating, or proposing to treat, someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic protected by the law. This includes bullying someone because of a protected characteristic.

In Victoria it is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of your physical features. Your physical features are your height, weight, size, shape or another bodily characteristic. These also include facial features, hair and birthmarks.

Example of physical features discrimination

A fast food company will only recruit people with a certain ‘look’, that is, a specific height, weight and build.

So, Italy, I think it’s about time to review some rules concerning discrimination on the work place, don’t you think? Your jobless youth does not need another stupid requirement to land on a job (there already are countless).



Science on newspapers & magazines? Be aware of what you read

Last week I stumbled upon a very interesting website, called Climate Feedback. As you might have guessed, the goal of this website is to give scientists-backed feedback on divulgative  articles on climate change that appear here and there on newspapers and magazines. The results, not surprisingly, are fairly discouraging. Many articles covering climate change topics are found to be flawed, resulting in a great disservice to those outside the scientific world that do not have the tools to verify the data in the magazine articles they are reading. What is surprising, instead, is that the sheets flawing data are some of the most influential and read newspapers out there. Among them, even Forbes failed to produce trustworthy content for its readers. There is a widespread trend worldwide involving the so-called clickbait, consisting in viral content posted and re-posted ad nauseam, often with the goal of generating traffic on the website in order to gain money out of it. Clearly, all of this is at the expense of truthfulness and accuracy. Needless to say, this trend includes some of the media giants of press, like the CNN or the British The Telegraph. This happens in the so-called hard sciences, like physics, chemistry, biology, climate science, and medicine. But not only there. Humanist sciences (term I firmly reject,  because 1) any science could be humanist, and 2) some of them, like linguistics, are more similar to mathematics and physics than they are to literature, but we’ll talk about this on another post) also fall victims to this clickbait trend, mainly because their results are the hardest to reproduce. Going back to linguistics (which I call the atom physics of language) I found that given that we all talk, everybody feels entitled to write something about the way language works. Does it make sense? Is everybody able to talk about neuroscience just because we all have neurons? Well, of course, 80% of what I read online about language is pure and trivial nonsense.  Some of the most annoying content includes the soda/pop battle, how many names do Eskimos have for snow? or which American accent are you? Is this linguistics? Yet again, needless to say, absolutely not. Today, for example, I read an article on the Guardian on the way women should talk wrote by an historian who wishes to give us all pretty ladies some useless and unscientific advice on how to talk. What’s the difference between an article wrote by a linguist on language, and some trivial stuff wrote by someone who knows nothing about it? The gap in the middle is immense. Unluckily for linguists, almost nobody knows what linguists do, so almost nobody asks for their advice. Some of the most important topics- like the origin of language, its structure & the way it works, its links to identity, its biological and neural basis, or how the superficial differences between all languages hide a common structural ground, are left to people (grammarians above all!) who, just because of the fact they hold a degree in some humanist science think they’ve got it covered and that they have the tools to discuss about it. Sadly, it takes more than that. Syntax is more similar to informatics than grammar,   and linguists are bordeline scholars who jump from genetics to physics and from neuroscience to programming, just to cite a few. So is a MA’s in English or History enough to talk about language? Doesn’t seem so. Journalists have a responsibility, and when they do not have the tools to cover a topic, they should leave it to an expert.

Italian idioms: Ambaradam

Un ambaradam di gente; Un ambaradam di colori. Literally meaning a confused plethora, the idiom ambaradam is one of the last linguistic vestiges of the Fascist regime, whose non-Romance origin easily stands out.
Going back to the Fascist attempt to create an Italian empire over Lybia, Ethiopia, Somalia, and EritreaAmba Aradam is the name of a mountain 500 km north of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.

On this very mountain, the Italian Army fought to conquer Ethiopia, and some tried to convince the local tribes to agree to a compromise with them, thus generating a confusion between the two parties.

In a Roman neighborhood, particular for many examples of Fascist architecture, San Giovanni, there is a street entitled Via dell’Amba Aradam.

Via dell’Ambara Adam with some houses under construction in 1936, the fourteenth year of the Fascist regime. Gallery by Roma Sparita