WEINSTEIN AND ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI: HOW THE WORLD WORKS (SINCE EVER) ALSO IN ITALY NOWADAYS….
There was once, in 1611 the period of the great Italian Baroque, a talented painter named Artemisia Gentileschi. When she was about eighteen years old, thanks to his innate talent, Artemisia was put by Father Orazio under the guidance of another painter known for his skill in the art of trompe-l’oeil: Agostino Tassi. Agostino, the bully, so he was nicknamed, was a good painter but known to be an violent, a Dongiovanni and of course, well connected with the nobility and the committence of his time (This Agostino remembers you someone? How boring are sometimes the Historian cycles….). Orazio knew all this, but when Agostino agreed to keep Artemisia under his (creepy) wing, he was very happy.
Obviously, to make it short, Agostino liked Artemisia right away, he tryed to sleep with her with the “good manners” but receiving a series of “no thanks”, he raped her brutally. After this, Agostino keep sexually abusing of the eighteen years old’s girl that at the time, worked for him. He promised her a “repair marriage” that obviously never happened because Tassi was already married with another woman.
As you can imagine, at that time, the concept of rape and sexual violence was seen differently from now. And women? Well let’s say, talking about rights, we were considered more or less the same level as pets. However, our heroine was a tough one and despite the working relationship with Agostino, she decided to denounce the boogeyman who had ruined her life. In fact, Artemisia was ruined from a personal, working point of view and the name of her family had been ruined too.
If it was not enough that the trials at that time were much more complex than now, Tassi used false witnesses to frame her. She was also forced to face embarrassing gynecological visits where his body was exposed in front of all Roman people. And also, Artemisia, to speed up the time to discover the truth, she was tortured. Exactly, in line with the mentality of the times, he was subjected to the SIBILLI’s torture, terrible for an artist who, like her, used her hands to work: the thumbs were tied with ropes that, with the action of a hammer, they tightened more and more until the phalanxes were broken. Despite the moral pain as well as the physical one, Artemisia never gave up. She wanted that justice was done, that truth came to the fore and at last, he won the trial.
Yet the society in which she lived, the others, men and women, never forgave “the whore who went to bed with everyone” (so they called her) and his life was ruined forever.
This story and this brave woman, to be kept in mind above all at this moment, teaches us that the world has always been like this: isn’t it? Let’s be honest, women! To Whom has not happened something like that? Sexual pressures as commodities for a career advancement, to achieve privileges, to achieve a simple job. It is hypocritical to pretend not to know what we all know and which is the result of years of human history.
Personally I think that Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax, denounced by dozens of actresses for sexual abuse, shows us that today, something is changing. Perhaps there is a greater sensitivity and maybe a real desire for this situation to change. Perhaps this is the first leak of a sistem that last since centuries, and we will need centuries to destroy!
I think, and maybe here my position will appear naive to you all (but maybe not if you live in Italy), that to change it is important that we women first, we find a cohesion position. Beyond the secular rivalities, the envy, the stereotypes. The key is unity for one purpose and not as always, collaborativeism with the “enemy”.
I do not think it is a coincidence that this scandal occured at the same time of the Handmade’s Tale, the award-winning serial from Margaret Atwood’s dystopic novel. In this serial in fact, women are sterile or simple uteruses at the service of the male. Women don’t allying collaborating one another, allowing the survival of this male chauvinist regime.
Sincerely, I think it is a shame, but above all a waste of time to dwell on the attitude of a single person, in this case the posterior truths of a single actress, like it’s happening in my country, Italy.
What is to be noted and important to talk about, so that everything does not return as before, but evolves, is the stutter of behavior, a hateful system, a modus operandi male shauvinst and horrible, which has permeated and permeates the society in which we live.
The actress Asia Argento (daughter of the director Dario Argento), whether it is looking for fame, or she think about doing her personal interests or she is feeling paladin of a system that has to change, is one of us.
Maybe she is even a bit accomplice but still, a victim (who is not, sometimes?). The enemy is not her, she has never been.
For once, let’s not get confused and try to really change things.