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Women can't do anything without being sexualised

Clara, at Sanremo, is just the tip of the iceberg

Women can't do anything without being sexualised Clara, at Sanremo, is just the tip of the iceberg

Have you ever stopped for a second, before deciding to eat a banana in public? When you were younger, during summer, did you feel comfortable sucking on an ice lolly in a crowded square? Have you ever made even a slightly sexual (or interpretable as such) gesture and then stopped to blush, feeling embarrassed? Has what you said, even with the most innocent intention in the world, ever been interpreted in an equivocal manner, emphasized with big laughs and nudges? Being sexualized in anything we do, wear, or say is normalcy for us women. So much so that it happened during the third evening of Sanremo, by public figures towards other public figures, just like it was nothing. Let's try to understand.

Clara Soccini's Glasses at Sanremo

One of the novelties of this edition of the festival, the 74th, is that on evenings when only half of the competing artists perform, the other 15 present them. Clara Soccini, therefore, even though she wasn't scheduled to perform, still graced the Ariston stage in a dark, form-fitting dress, loose straight hair, sunny smile, and big black prescription glasses. She wasn't the only one wearing glasses. Introducing someone for the first time is already a moment that can be intimidating, even with the support of Amadeus and Teresa Mannino, and a lot of artists chose to make sure they could read the information about songs, artists, and authors, so as not to risk making a bad impression. Clara, with her glasses, looked very good. And someone decided to sexualize her for it.

The PanPers' Post

Luca Peracino and Andrea Pisani, who make up the comedy duo PanPers, decided to comment on the festival live on their official Instagram profile, which has over 670 thousand followers. Amidst one meme and another, one photoshopped image and another, they also decided to say something about Clara's glasses. They photoshopped the word Brazzers onto a picture of her on stage, a Canadian pornographic production company. The caption said (the post has now been deleted) something like: "We all thought it." The reference is clear. Clara, with her glasses, reminded the two men of a certain category of porn actress. The fake nerd? The not-so-innocent student? It doesn't matter, what matters is that the singer, guilty only of needing glasses to read a cue card on stage, was brutally sexualized, seen not as a woman but as a category of adult video, an object of degrading fantasies. And we're sure it's not just her, in fact.

Women can't do anything without being sexualised Clara, at Sanremo, is just the tip of the iceberg | Image 487151
Women can't do anything without being sexualised Clara, at Sanremo, is just the tip of the iceberg | Image 487164

The Issue of Medium and Our Dependency on Porn

Can't we say anything anymore? Can't men love women anymore? Appreciate and desire them with their proverbial gentleness? Where are we heading? Not exactly there. The first bad thing is posting something like that on Instagram, for all their followers, who went wild writing the worst things in the comments. The herd effect hit the target, and the limit (which had already been crossed with the original post) was definitively broken. The second serious thing concerns our problem with porn. We're not here to moralize, but the truth is that mainstream porn (or the majority of it) alters our view of sex, influences and is influenced by power dynamics within society, shows mistreated women and never puts their pleasure at the center, instead it's based on domination fantasies. A post like this puts the woman it's based on in a passive position, evokes macho instincts that would be better worked on privately, it's a demonstration of the impunity with which these comments can be made. Virtually with no consequences. If we don't change this attitude, how do we expect to change relationships between people?

Social Media Reactions

On Twitter and Instagram, users immediately noticed the post. A barrage of disgusted comments overwhelmed the two comedians, so much so that the PanPers decided to delete the post and continue with their Sanremo commentary. No apologies, no reflection, no awareness. Just a vanished post (but we have the screenshots) because evidently not all comments were exactly positive or playful, in silence. In an ideal world, today, not only would the PanPers understand the reason behind the negative comments, but they would also manage to do some self-analysis, without getting defensive. Once they internalize the problem, then, they would explain it and apologize to their followers, in a moment of general emotional growth. But this isn't an ideal world, so probably none of this will happen.