Pain and suffering, motherhood and pasta, shuttered banks. It is easy to see how they could be linked to a lack of senior workplace representation. There also seems to be a simple link between the dominance of men at work and the portrayal of women in advertising. Daniela Barrera, planning and research director at Leo Burnett Italy, used to work in the UK. She says: “Half our clients in senior positions in the UK were women. Most are men in Italy.”
痛苦与折磨，母亲责任与意大利面，早早关门的银行。很容易发现，这些与缺乏高级职位的女性有关。男性在工作场所的主导地位，与广告中对女性的刻画似乎也存在一种简单联系。Leo Burnett Italy的规划与研究主管丹妮拉•巴雷拉(Daniela Barrera)曾在英国工作过。她表示：“在英国，我们拥有高级职位的客户一半是女性。而在意大利，多数都是男性。”
Male clients of advertising agencies tend, she believes, to ask for campaigns in which their products are equated with a superficial, unsophisticated form of beauty. Her colleague Rodriguez says: “A man thinks of his brand as a woman.” Barrera jokes: “If you have no idea [for a campaign], you can use a pair of tits, a baby or a puppy.” If that approach did not work with the public, there would be complaints. But there are none, the advertising executives say.
With few women in parliament, one source of lobbying for reforms that would encourage women to work is absent. Bonino says: “Because we are less vocal and determined, we do not have structural reforms in areas such as schools and services.”
Women certainly seemed to be silent while Silvio Berlusconi's commercial television stations rose to the fore in the 1980s. Berlusconi, the former prime minister and Italy's richest man, found success with a programming formula that included liberal use of the female form. Italy's state-controlled channels soon dropped their previous aversion to exposed flesh in the battle for ratings.
“Television is still in the hands of men,” says Parati at Dartmouth College. “This recreates the illusion of how women can be subjugated and is reassuring… Berlusconi has not created the situation but he has made it bigger.”
Striscia La Notizia (“The News Slithers”), a satirical news programme, is one of the most popular shows on Canale 5, one of Berlusconi's channels. It goes out six nights a week at 8.30pm presented by two men but regularly interrupted by two gyrating and minimally dressed women. Competitions to replace the two female dancers are deemed newsworthy in their own right.
The show is just one example of the astonishingly restricted use of women on Italian television. A study last year of almost 600 television shows on the largest channels by Censis, an Italian research institute, showed that women mostly appeared as actors, singers and models. “The most common image seemed to be that of women in light entertainment,” Censis said. When women were present as experts, they tended to be talking about astrology or handicrafts. Professional or political women were extremely rare.
“Beautiful, glossy and most importantly young,” said Censis. “The images of women are split between light entertainment and those of violence in bad news stories. There is a distortion compared with the real female world: old women are invisible, the socioeconomic status of women [portrayed] is middle-upper class … meanwhile there are never any disabled women.”
(to be continued)
Adrian Michaels is the FT's Milan correspondent
讽刺类新闻节目“Striscia La Notizia”（新闻滑动）是贝卢斯科尼旗下电视频道——5频道(Canale 5)最受欢迎的节目之一。一周六天，每天晚上8时30分播出，主持人是两位男性，但不时被两个不停旋转、衣着暴露的女性打断。替换这两位舞女的竞争本身，就被视为具有新闻价值。