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Il Sesso Inutile — The Useless Sex/Gender

Oriana Fallaci was a great woman more than she was a great journalist, since she let her emotional intelligence take over more than once, with Kissinger calling her “the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press.” Yet that made her the greatest one all too probably, since her beginning as a journalist led her to write the most acute books of the time. All too sadly she is discredited in Italy by a biased educational system, since she appeared extremely anti-Islam and feminist; a feminist of the kind of protecting the views of the man she was in love with before even meeting him since she was behind bars in Greece as a revolutionary to the regime–and for whom she wrote the very touching Un Uomo after he died in a suspicious car accident–, and of interviewing the ayatollah Komeini outspokenly. Yes, she was tough, and yet not less feminine; in fact she is the exemplar of woman of the Seventies, where womanhood would be worried and in an ideological war with the unexplainable Muslim World rather than its own–while expressing its feelings and the freedom it received during the third feminist wave by traveling and supporting political causes personally. Oriana had also the courage of madly falling in love with a Greek reactionary and falling pregnant of him and getting on with the pregnancy–which sadly was interrupted by a spontaneous abortion. (The pain she felt as a mother losing the child in her womb is very well narrated in her book Letter to an unborn child.)

Oriana had the gift of writing and the sensitivity of impersonating herself with other women, and so she does in her book Il sesso inutile. Viaggio intorno alla donna(1961).

I want to report here some of the most particularly significant passages:

New York is the metropolis where women command like nowhere else in the world. […] The American woman starts to control the American man from the moment in which he opens his eyes to the world to the moment he closes them forever. The American man understand he is an inferior creature when he is a child, and his mother protects him and cuddles him; he makes certain of it when he is at school and the teacher instructs him to respect the girls; he gets totally convinced when a girl marries him or steal his work place. The American woman is a man. It is a man with many advantages: she has the right to vote, but she is not obliged to go to war; she expects the man to take off his hat in the elevator, and yet she doesn’t take her gloves off when they shake hands; she can sue her ex boyfriend for failing to keep the marriage’s promise, and he can’t do the same; she can ask the spousal support after the divorce, alas he can’t do the same even if she works. In the last fifty years the American progress had only a goal: making the life of women easier. About men’s, nobody would even care. Dishwashers and washing machines were invented to help women; yet a machine to help the men producing dishwashers and washing machines has yet not been invented. Hence while men get tired so their women can rest, they spare themselves time and energy, which are indispensable products to reinforce power. Is it for this reason that we see more women than men in the US? […] In almost every country women live longer than men–as it is not true at all that the weak sex is physically weaker: in females the glandular system is stronger, the blood pressure is lower; the defence from germs easier. Yet America exaggerates a bit. […] You meet many old women in America, as men never demonstrate seventy years old, nor sixty; most of the times they are not over their fifty. Where are the old men?, you ask. They died before getting old; crushed by the tiredness accumulated in building new machines for women, the humiliation taken by the persistent loss inflicted by women, the heart attacks that strike the 75% of men. […] Thus America is full of widows, which you can meet everywhere: in Italy, in Paris, along the French Riviera, in Miami… most often very cheerful and rich after the inheritance received from their deceased husband, happy to enjoy life like murderers escaped by justice. […] At the same time they dream humility and company , as you can’t get away from the rules of society as much as from the simplest of feelings.

Women are constantly drawn to something that will provoke them only pain, one of increasing complication.The big refrain that move them is called Emancipation and Progress.

(It was translated in several languages, you can find an excerpt in English here. I don’t agree with her vision of Muslim women now as I think 4th wave’s feminists are worse, and I am sure she’d agree.)

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