Friday, 31 May 2019

Absorbents, menstruation and Our stuff...

Red on White, the documentary about menstruation

It may seem strange but in Italy it is a field of debate an exclusively female reality: menstruation. Yes, because here it is considered a privilege. 

They started to talk about it in 2017 when it was pointed out that there are products with a very high VAT tax, goods that are not considered primary but instead they are. 
Absorbents are essential in those days, but they are much more expensive than they could be with lower VAT than now applied.

The sanitary napkins are expensive because there is an applied VAT base as if they were luxury goods, a DVD for example and think instead that the shaving foam is considered a good of first necessity and is therefore taxed with a lower rate that makes the final price at acceptable consumption. This different gender approach compared to some commercial products, the so-called "Pink Tax", has been taken up over the years here and there by TV and other media but never as striking as it deserves given the disparity it creates. 

These days however the question of the so-called "Tampon Tax" has arrived in Parliament to be addressed. Filed in 2016 the "tampon tax" which highlighted the need to apply the primary good rate of 4% and no more than 22% of VAT to sanitary napkins, was discussed only in these days but with a negative outcome because there are no funds to support the lowering of the tax and moreover, it seems almost a joke, it has been emphasized and reminded to women that this practice, the use of disposable sanitary napkins, pollutes the environment! 

There have obviously been many reactions to these statements, issued in a television interview by a member of the largest party now in government, and to the lack of consideration of the female body to which "natural" claims are attributed, and this is indeed, but not evidently enough to be considered basic needs.

The best answers, however, are coming from civil society with initiatives like that of an Umbrian pharmacy that has decided to apply a 22% discount on the brands of sanitary napkins for sale or from various installations appeared in the bathrooms of some Roman universities that invite to leave a towel for those in necessity and need it, a sort of "suspended towel" like coffee in Naples, designed by a collective created by five girls "Our Stuff (Le Cose Nostre)" or even from a documentary about menstruation wanted to educate girls and boys in schools on this topic.

Red on White is the name of the documentary film and is now looking for funds to complete post-production and then be presented in schools and made available to those who with knowledge and education will want to contribute to change the perception of the body of women that is still evidently considered a taboo albeit luxury!

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Thursday, 31 January 2019

Heroines and Heroes by Botticelli

"The Tragedy of Lucretia" by Sandro Botticelli, 1510.
Licensed byGardnerMuseum

"Heroines+Heroes" by Botticelli, at The Gardner Museum of Boston in February 14th to May 19th.

In Boston, at the Gardner Museum for the first time, this exhibition will pay tribute to the Heroines that the famous Italian Renaissance painter was able to tell with a new narrative, adapting the Roman myth to the needs of his era; a rereading that today thanks also to the contribution of the graphic novel Karl Stevens seems to be current even for our days. 

Starting from the two works at the center of the exhibition "The legend of Lucretia" and "The legend of Virginia", there are many events that will be organized to enhance these two figures of exemplary women that with their lives and especially death have fought against the tyranny. So readings, dances, concerts, performances will be staged to accompany this inspiring event to give voice to other stories of contemporary women and not, an emblem of female strength even if victims of tyranny and injustice.

The concert "The city of women" on February 17th will give light to the protagonists of the show with dances inspired by them but will also be an opportunity to hear the story of Cristina di Pisan, Sister Juan Ines de la Cruz or readings of Malala Yousafzai or in memory of Sandra Bland, the woman stopped by the police of Texas for not having put the arrow while turning with her car, arrested, beaten up and found dead in her cell three days after the arrest, in 2015.

At the center of the exhibition there are the two masterpieces by Botticelli, "The Story of Virginia" which is present here from the Accademia di Carrara of Bergamo and "The Story of Lucretia" the first Botticellian work arrived in US in 1894 thanks to Isabella Stewart Gardner who bought it convinced to create her museum. 

The two paintings were conceived together by Botticelli, both were in fact commissioned by the Vespucci family, probably by Giovanni di Guidantonio Vespucci and Namicina by Benedetto Nerli for their palazzo in Florence in via de 'Servi. Over the centuries, however, they were divided between different owners and only today they find their original location.

The exhibition is composed of other works by the great Italian painter from Europe and the United States as "The Three Miracles of Saint Zenobius" from the National Gallery of London or "The Adoration of the Magi" from the Uffizi of Florence, but it is precisely the two works of the heroines who inspired the entire exhibition, note the title "Heroines and heroes", and the reflection of the message of their existences, however legendary, to which even a great master like Botticelli wanted to pay homage making them become full protagonists of the Renaissance.

"Heroines+Heros" by Botticelli, Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, Hostetter Gallery,
14 February- 19 May 2019.

Virginia and Lucretia were two girls of the era of the Roman Republic who were the victims of violence and abuse. Both died in order not to succumb to the tyranny of the most powerful men.
Virginia (V century b. C.)  was stabbed by her father to save her from the eagerness of King Appius Claudius who wanted to steal her from her family and her promised spouse. 

Lucretia  (509 b.C.) was the wife of a Roman noble, of who fell in love one of the sons of the King who abused her one night. Lucretia stabbed herself while confessing what happened to her husband and her relatives. She was avenged by her husband who, by hunting from Rome the Traquini family, gave rise to the Roman Republic.

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