Seventh book of the year


Mara Cinquepalmi

Sport is politics, entertainment, endurance, show, business.

But sport is not for women. Not even Mr Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin wanted them to compete when he reinstated the Modern Olympic Games.

They did not please his noble eye. The author of this — short but rich in data and links and infographics — book raises the neverending female issue. Focused on the Italian history, but with international breath.

From language to politics to pay equality, it covers the most notable anecdotes related to the gender sport issue.

At the beginning not only women could not compete, but they could not assist to competitions. And nowadays in some countries it is not that different, I may add.

See the British-Iranian woman jailed for trying to attend a men’s volley game in 2015 and released on a 20000£ bail.

But it is also a matter of representation, press coverage and sport narration.

Adjectives like “beautiful” and “hot" seldom appear related to female athletes in spite of their attainments, as if hard work, determination, ambition, pain and victory had different gender.

The fruition of sport in Italy is severely gendered as well. During a federal meeting last year the head of the national amateur football league allegedly said “we can’t always talk about giving money to this bunch of lesbians".

No need to say that no girl in Italy dreams on becoming Mia Hamm.

Plus, by law female athletes in Italy are not professionals, with the heavy consequence of the absence of social security access.

Mara Cinquepalmi interviews linguists, bloggers, athletes, senators and provides a passionate and intriguing overview of the current Italuan situation, where almost all notable narrators (journalists, editors, photographers) and federal leaders are male.

While newspapers focus on online boxes that resemble to mirror for larks, where tennis players show their legs and runners show their breasts.

Hopefully, something will change. Starting from soccer, which is the national sport: Fifa 16 features 12 female teams.

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