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Why we need to apologize to Belen Rodriguez

A misogynistic double standard emerges in the breakup with Stefano De Martino

Why we need to apologize to Belen Rodriguez A misogynistic double standard emerges in the breakup with Stefano De Martino

Ilary Blasi and Francesco Totti, Belen Rodriguez and Stefano De Martino - these two couples share a lot in common. They are comprised of well-known individuals who seamlessly weave in and out of the small screen and the vast gaze of the public eye. Their relationships have seemingly exploded and are now subjects of intense discussion and debate. Public opinion leans favorably towards the male counterparts in both couples, while the female figures face antipathy. Numerous candid interviews provide insights into prevailing thought patterns and shed light on the workings of mainstream media, revealing more about the investigators than the investigated. Let's delve into the details.

In the Beginning: Ilary Blasi, Francesco Totti, and "Unica"

Ilary Blasi and Francesco Totti tied the knot on June 19, 2005, and together, they have three children: Chanel, Cristian, and Isabel. The divorce news, long-awaited after months of speculation and denials, broke on July 11, 2023. The joint statement, hinting at an amicable separation, quickly gave way to speculation. Reports of infidelity, Rolex and shoe thefts, separate vacations, all surfaced almost immediately. The Italian media spared no detail, reporting every piece of information, true or false, and adding fuel to the fire. Ilary's definitive version recently emerged in the form of a Netflix docufilm titled "Unica," but it hasn't dampened the gossip. Totti and Ilary remain one of the (former) most talked-about couples in Italian gossip. Streaming numbers skyrocket, and everyone is happy. When can we expect the Pupone's documentary?

Then Came Belen Rodriguez and Stefano De Martino

The story of Belen Rodriguez and Stefano De Martino is a bit more complex, lacking official statements and precise dates. The TV host and the dancer crossed paths in 2012 behind the scenes of "Amici di Maria De Filippi." In 2013, their son Santiago was born in April, and they got married in September. The first break-up occurred in 2015, the second in 2020, following a reconciliation in 2019. Now, the third and seemingly final one began in early 2023. Amidst rumors of infidelity (later confirmed), tales and stories about both, and intrusive gossip dissecting their every move, their lives played out on television and achieved success. In short, life goes on despite it all. Belen's love life, even without Stefano, is quite intricate - from soccer player Marco Borriello to a tumultuous relationship with Fabrizio Corona, who sold their intimate photos to the papers without her knowledge, then the pilot Andrea Iannone, Antonino Spinalbese, and finally Elio Lorenzoni.

Differences in Public Perception

This overview aims not to criticize Belen but to highlight how she has been treated by the public, especially since the Corona incident. Like an Italian Pamela Anderson, Belen hasn't been forgiven for being free and successfully recovering from the initial violation that brought her fame, even unwillingly. Despite being an established presenter and host for years, she faces disdain, often labeled as a soubrette. Belen experiences the treatment reserved for women daring to rebuild their lives under the spotlight, paying the price in judgment, while those repeatedly betraying her are treated with levity and laughter, praised for their calm and composure. Just read the comments.


Parallel Interviews: Belen's Pain vs. Stefano's Calm

Another telling example? The varied responses to parallel interviews given by Belen Rodriguez and Stefano De Martino on Sunday, December 3rd. Belen, a guest on Domenica In, openly shared details about her life and loves, recounting a dark period experienced during her marriage, marked by the discovery of numerous betrayals. "It started with infidelity, just a month in. I pretended it didn't happen because a marriage doesn't end over that. It didn't end because of that. I even talked to the ladies involved, who admitted everything immediately; they were very nice. I talked to all of them, around ten, I reached twelve, then I stopped," she declared. She went on to discuss her battle with depression: "Depression is an illness. I couldn't breathe; I weighed 49 kg, now I weigh 57. I wouldn't get out of bed; I didn't want to see the light or open the windows. Then, I decided to fight and open those windows. The light slowly returned. He couldn't help me; he couldn't be a husband; there was no marriage. If I see you falling, I take you by the hand and lift you up. He didn't do that because he didn't love me. I looked at myself and said, 'You're dying.' In a moment of clarity, I became aware and went to a clinic."

His statements

Stefano, on Che Tempo Che Fa, stated, "When relationships end, there are always two truths, each with its own. Some choose to make it public and tell it, others keep it to themselves. I've decided never to make my truth public simply because I have reasons. Two of which are the good that was there because I still care a lot for her, and the second, which is the most important, is that Belen is the mother of my son. That's fundamental to me." Then he proceeded to quote some Charlie Chaplin quote, seemingly unbothered. 

A Cultural and Media Problem

The differing reactions to open-hearted interviews, with Belen criticized and Stefano praised for his detachment, highlight a cultural and media issue. While applauding men speaking openly about mental health, Belen faces constant social media demolition, whereas Stefano is lauded for his class and detachment. This double standard, reflected in public opinion on male and female entertainment figures, fuels and it's fueled by conflicts, indignation, anger, and misogyny in television and tabloid journalism. Why do we want to know everything if we treat with disdain feminine pain?

No Short-Term Solution: Breaking the Cycle of Sensationalism

Unfortunately, there's no quick fix. Television merely amplifies existing societal tendencies. It provides the audience with what they want to see, gaining insights, ideas, viewership, and economic returns in return. It operates within a self-sustaining cycle. In general, the gossip culture in Italy and worldwide wouldn't thrive as it does without a strong push towards objectification of bodies (of everyone, but particularly females) and personal invasion, lacking delicacy and consideration. When these formats cease to be effective, when we realize that ethical gossip is possible, and when we stop clicking on clickbait headlines and tuning into shows entirely based on rage-baiting, we may see a change. In the meantime, it is our responsibility as viewers to reflect on our role in this jungle of exploitation and parasocial relationships and consider how we engage with it.