Rock Music concert for Festa di SanSorry, astronomy fans, The subject of today's post is related to the book by Dr. John Gray published in 1992--Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus wherein it asserts that men and women have a communication problem. I am a consciousness-raised survivor of the second wave of feminism that fizzled out in the USA sometime in the "wonderful" '80s. Since the fizzle-- brought on by a combination of improved conditions (better jobs, no longer hearing "I'm not listening to a damn woman about it", or "we don't hire women, period" on a daily basis) and a general lack of interest in civics since the late '70s. I am fully credentialed for noticing the blatant as well as the subtle forms of oppression.
I have been here in Calabria since February and am still very cautious about generalizations or even the accuracy of observations of the language impaired. However, this blog is supposed to be about our impressions of life here so please consider the following my observations--as I see things currently and specific to this exact place, nothing more.
First, I'll discuss the unexpected pleasant surprises, things that seem to click with me naturally and against what I heard about Italy or Calabria:
- It's no surprise that women keep their maiden name here. It's often done, I don't really understand why.
- Being a "Senora" here is MUCH more comfortable than being an old broad in the US. I'm invisible because I'm a foreigner somewhat, but not because I'm a woman of a certain age. This is a big deal and not to be minimized.
- Women get to do the whole spiritual thing for men, including going to church for them. Some men are very involved, but not many. Makes the church sort of a women's club.
- Our contractor (restoration project) is very respectful of my ideas. I am comfortable discussing things with him or with our geometra. He generally thinks Doug and I are clueless, but he listens and the clueless assumption is for both Doug and I. The only exception is physical stuff. Hates to see me on a ladder.
- Women on Italian TV (this has been discussed to death--suffice to say men are clothed thereon, women not so much).
- Some men (not unlike the US) just plain don't listen to me and talk to Doug instead, regardless of who is talking when it comes to business.
- Only Doug needed to sign on our residency application for our Comune.
- I was working on refinishing our front door and a man walked by and asked me if my husband was sleeping (?).
- Doug (!) noticed that our geometra (last time we got together) kept looking at him while he talked rather than looking at both of us. Usually I notice these things. I must have been concentrating on the Italian. On the bright side, I've never found that he devalued my design input.
- Men wait for their women to cook lunch and dinner in the town square. On the other hand, I'm guessing it all started because they got kicked out of the house. The fact that Doug does our cooking is not a bad reflection on him, but I'm getting the vibe that it's a bad reflection on me. I'm not too certain of this one yet.