On the back of all of this Fifty Shades fever, the Italian media are trying hard to come up with homegrown headlines that connect Italy to the world of sadomasochism.
The best one I have spotted so far was about a female shop assistant in Padua who signed a contract in 2004 with an older man similar to the one who figures so prominently in Fifty Shades of Grey in which she agreed to be his sex slave.
Under the contract, “la schiava” (the slave) would obey “il padrone” (the master) and satisfy whatever he desired. She would renounce her right to all pleasure, comfort, and gratification unless it was with his consent.
In 2006, the couple got married but then in 2011 the woman, now 32, said, “Basta!” Not only is she seeking to divorce her husband but also to put him on trial for all the violence he inflicted on her. The husband, now 41, opposes the divorce and denies the violence was a crime.
In English—British English at any rate—the word “c—t” is used as a particularly offensive insult, rooted presumably in hatred of women. In Italy, its equivalent—“figa”—is a high compliment. “Che bella figa che sei! (What a beautiful c—t you are!)” say Italian men to the women they fancy. Italian men may well be womanizers, but they are not misogynists. They simply adore women! Something to do with their mothers, no doubt.
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