After being in the states for 2 months, and watching the MeToo & TimesUp movement unfold, I started to wonder where Italy was in this state of gendered affairs. In Florence, I’ve noticed demonstrations raising awareness about femicide, violence and stalking. Solidarity displayed with red shoes hanging from shops and installations in major squares. Red shoes, or “scarpe rosse” states a demand for the end of violence towards women.
My latest article covers a group of pizzaiole (women pizza makers) who have banded together to put on fundraiser pizza dinners where 100% of proceeds will go towards anti-violence centers starting with a dinner March 12th 2018 raising money for P.E.T.R.A in the Verona area with intentions to make these dinners in pizzerie around the country.
Original article can be found here:
This first dinner is already successful- it sold out more than a week before the date! COMPLIMENTONI!
What’s remarkable about these women’s sincere intentions, full of heart (Donne di Pizza/ Donne di Cuore), is to not only use their skill of pizza making to raise money for an important cause, but they also would like to provide pizza making training and other professional culinary skills to women who have suffered abuse and instill a sense of self-sufficiency. Claudia Tosello and Petra Antolini (2 of the women involved in the project, so generous with their time) are a breath of fresh air, exceptional human beings who enlightened me during this article’s writing process.
At times I’d foolishly thought “In Italy, violence and abuse aren’t as common as in the states. The Italians have a strong family support system compared to ours, therefore society as a whole must be more peaceful. I feel safer in Italy than I do back in the states, hence Italians must be less violent than Americans.” I naively assumed the magnitude of a problem which is grotesquely covered up behind closed doors. It wasn’t until I went out of my way to ask others about their experience with abuse, violent and sexual, I realized how wrong I’d been.
While doing research for this piece, I started to understand a staggering percentage of women subject to violence and abuse rarely have the courage to seek help- because many of them are ashamed to admit they’ve been abused, or afraid how others in their circles will see them or also- fear they will not be believed.
I wanted to get to the bottom of why I rarely heard about women pizzaiole, I originally wanted to write an article about the unsung women pizzaiole in Italy. But when I was put in contact with Claudia and Petra, they told me about this inspiring project and their struggles as women pizza makers in a gendered industry, along with the heartbreaking accounts of women they’d known affected by domestic violence- the story changed.
Gendered judgements, assumptions and stereotypes if left unchallenged, made me think on a bigger scale- if in Italy women still struggle to prove themselves, for example considering the low number of women pizza chefs and attitudes held which blatantly assert women are less fit for certain jobs, how does this infect societal conditioning & behaviors from a holistic point of view?
Food for thought, and your comments welcome below.
In the meantime, congratulazioni to these women for having sold out the event- I can’t wait to hear more and good luck on your upcoming and future pizza parties for peace.
In your peaceful pizza trust,