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Tuesday 15 December 2020 16:12

Italian "sexist" nude calendar stirs up storm

Codacons the leading Italian consumer association, has launched its 2021 calender featuring 12 young women dressed only in face masks in the colours of the Italian flag.

read the news on The view from Rome



 

Screenshot 2020-12-15 at 14.57.36
Not the Codacons calendar. Instead these are images of women from the 2020 Pirelli calendar. “Looking for Juliet”.

God give me strength! Really? In 2020?

Italy's leading Italian consumer association, Codacons, has launched its 2021 calendar. It features 12 women dressed only in face masks in the colours of the Italian flag. Although the nudes are slightly more tasteful than the ones we are confronted with whenever we visit our car mechanics – they are in black and white so they must be artistic –  eleven are beautiful women around 20 years old caught in sexy, if not pornographic, poses. December, on the other hand, is a rather more mature and buxom blonde, still very attractive and very naked, but sitting knitting. Obviously, because that is how we women over 40 are filling in our spare time while the bingo halls are closed. In the corner of each portrait is a stamp representing some of Italy’s most beautiful villages. Each “postcard” is signed “kisses from....” with the name of the village and the model.

The calendar is entitled “Italienza", a fusion of italianità and resilienza (Italianness and resilience), which apparently expresses the meaning of the project, “Italy’s desire for liberation as it struggles with the pandemic”. (You’d guessed, hadn’t you?) The presentation took place on Saturday 12 December during a live event on the Association's Facebook page. It was organized in collaboration with the Glamour Model Management agency and featured Vittorio Sgarbi, professional polemicist and well-known modelizer, who sometimes also moonlights as an art critic and politician.

As if this weren’t bad enough, the public could participate live by voting for their favourite month, presumably based on which naked young body best represented Italy’s desire for recovery from the pandemic. Hard to say: would it be the brunette shot from the back with her legs splayed apart and her hands raised and bound together by the tricolour mask? Or the young woman lying on her back, apparently enjoying a (post-coital?) cigarette?

The photographer, Tiziana Luxardo defended her nudes but rejected the idea of the beauty contest.  That was Codacons’ decision. “I have always been a feminist. I have made calendars on disability and against violence. I wanted to celebrate the beauty of Italy certainly, not to commodify women’s bodies". Of course, the naked human body is beautiful, but you call yourself a feminist? Do I really have to spell out my objections to portraying almost exclusively very young, very beautiful naked females? Were you really supreised so many in Italy have condemned the calendar as sexist?

In light of the present Covid-19 emergency, Pirelli, the Italian manufacturer almost as famous for its limited-edition calendars as its tyres, announced early this year that it would cancel the 2021 edition. In the context of other company initiatives, Pirelli's “The Cal” project would instead donate €100,000 to the fight against and research into the coronavirus. Perhaps the Coordination of the Associations for the Defence of the Environment and the Rights of Users and Consumers, to give Codacons its full title, thought that would create a gap in the market. If so, it hasn’t been keeping up with the evolution of the Pirelli calendar, which continues to celebrate female beauty but in a much more subtle and diverse way. (Need I point out that all the Codacons models are white?) For goodness sake, these days even Pirelli allows the women to keep their clothes on.

That is why I decided to illustrate this piece with gorgeous images from the 2020 Pirelli calendar. If you want to vote for Codacons’ Miss July, go Google it.

 

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