The name of the premier

Giorgia Meloni is not a feminist. Her history is not this. She has not shared in the long battles over language, over declension into the feminine instead of the neuter-masculine. But language today is a battleground that structures the most important political issues. And it deserves further reflection on her part
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Giorgia Meloni is not a feminist. This is not his story.

No woman on the right or centre-right who has held important political office, from Thatcher to Merkel, has ever called herself a feminist. Hence the non-sensitivity to the feminine declination of one's position, to which feminism instead gives importance.

Even if Angela Merkel at the end of his long chancellorship, during a meeting with the writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, agreed to call herself a feminist. According to Alice Schwarzer, founder of the magazine Emmaher reluctance to take openly feminist positions was a price she had to pay for joining a conservative ruling class that until then had been entirely male: Merkel, Schwarzer concludes, However, she leaves behind a legacy that can be defined as feminist because so many girls and women consider her a source of inspiration. To put it this way, Merkel 'tried'. She tried as often as she could to escape the trap of the neutral and not renounce the difference of her look as a woman.

It may be that something like this will happen to Meloni, if her premiership is long enough. Or not. At the moment the matter is simply irrelevant to her, the battle over language has no political significance for her. For us feminists, it has always had a lot.

Il nome della premier

Net of the excess of bureaucratic zeal of internal communiqués, which indicate as the correct wording LORD President of the Council -declaration that Meloni herself later corrected and tempered-, the male declination THE Prime Minister remains. Although on her being a woman, the neo-premier has insisted, her close staff is almost entirely female and for the closing batch of undersecretaries she has expressed a willingness to have more women. The quaestio nominum dismissed it as follows: 'I read that the main topic of discussion today would be on internal bureaucratic circulars, more or less wrong, around the big issue of how to define the first woman President of the Council. Go ahead. I am dealing with bills, taxes, jobs, certainty of punishment, the budget manoeuvre. The way I see it, you can call me whatever you like, even Giorgia".

Policies for women will count a lot, sure, as they counted for another, Angela, who will eventually remain in history under her own name. But the question of language today is decisive, not at all neutral, and informs and structures the most important political battles. Meloni should do some additional thinking on this.

Il nome della premier
A sign from the Casa delle Donne in Milan naming women as 'people with wombs'.

It remains strange that those who claim the right of everyone to be named and declined as they see fitfeminine even if it is a man or masculine even if it is a woman, otherwise it is misgendering -freedom then denied in fact by the imposition on women of verbally violent definitions such as 'people with wombs', never, instead, 'people with prostates'- stigmatise Meloni for her neutral-masculinity. Something does not add up.

Marina Terragni


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