Libreria delle Donne editorial office, November 3, 2017
You can imagine our surprise upon reading in the NYT of October 28-29 the news of the Failure of Italian feminism. Italian feminism has failed? Without Italian feminists even realizing it?! We the letter-writers are feminists too. We run the website of the women’s bookshop La Libreria delle Donne, in Milan. The bookshop first opened in 1975 and some of us have been working here right from the beginning – practically a lifetime!
Things became a little clearer upon reading the whole article. It’s a piece of journalistic folklore, complete with predictable mentions of both the mafia and Maria Goretti; and it was written by an Italian woman who wanted to make a criticism, but has surrendered to that typically Italian taste for self-denigration and passion for all things foreign. Perhaps she feels some resentment, but she certainly displays a remarkable amount of ignorance of the differences between north American feminism (the object of her xenophilia) and that of Italy. Differences which, while it sounds like a cliché but in this case is actually true, are a form of wealth. One must, however, be aware of them.
What astounds us and angers us somewhat, dear editors of the NYT, is the cavalier attitude with which you give column inches to a series of statements that are somewhere between offensive judgment and fake news. Didn’t you have your suspicions? Perhaps you did, and indeed you published the article in the Opinion section. But, and you will forgive us, this seems to us a hypocritical workaround: opinions can be freely expressed, of course, but they concern established facts; whereas the article you published contains a series of distorted news.
Quite honestly, would you have let such an article slip through the net if it had been about Sweden, let alone the United Kingdom?
Essentially, what we are asking you is to treat Italian feminism in a manner worthy of the reputation of your newspaper. Otherwise, silence would be preferable. Thank you.
Website editorial team, La Libreria delle Donne, Milan, Italy
(www.libreriadelledonne.it, November 3, 2017)