If you’ve ever been a college student with a gratifying afternoon-only schedule, a kid home sick for the day, a mom just trying to relax in the afternoon while the kids are napping, a dad relaxing on the couch with full control of the remote, a DINK (double income no kids) lazing away the afternoon, temporarily unemployed, or just plain lazy (ha!) then you may have found yourself sucked into the vortex of old reruns, talk shows, soap operas and advertising that is daytime television. 

I remember being at home between classes, eating cereal while watching Monty Python followed by old Montreal Jazz Festival concerts. It doesn’t get much better than that. 

Of course, it does, if you’re in Italy.

Top 10 Things You’ll Have to Suck Up if You Want to Live in Italy 

#8 Naked women everywhere.

I was a fresh-off-the-plane immigrant in my adopted country when I first noticed that something was very different about television here. 

It wasn’t just the language (everything is dubbed from English into Italian) or the way they cut to a commercial break (oh that’s right, they don’t! You just get intense cliffhangers that run into the next scene), or the fact that Murder She Wrote is still in reruns, or that every second channel is a psychic (and it’s not Patrick Jane). It’s none if this. 

It’s the women. 

Every show has scantily clad women frolicking about serving absolutely no purpose save to keep the women’s movement firmly in the 20s and the men, uh, firm?

One of the psychological tricks that designers take advantage of is that beautiful things (appear to) work better. That is, if something is aesthetically pleasing, people will believe that it functions better than something that is not. (Think about that for a moment.)

I’m not sure if Berlusconi (credited with the “naked women everywhere” television format) read up on design principles or whether he really is the old creepy bunga bunga man that people make him out to be but he really put theory into practice on the shows on his network. 

It’s not unusual to be watching a sports show and — actually, let me first say that it IS unusual that I would be watching a sports show, but on those rare occasions where we’re flipping through the channels and we happen to stop on a sports show where vehement, rapid fire discussion is taking place on the intricacies of football and the ref’s last “bad” call against Italy or any Italian player, I know that I really appreciate the commentary that the girl in the skin tight dress and 12” stilettos provides. 

In my journalistic quest for accuracy, I hit up my co-workers, Google, and Youtube for my sources. Some of my younger colleagues tell me that this sort of TV was first making its appearance in the late 80s with Colpo Grosso, Drive In, and Bagaglino and that at that impressionable age, these shows were “fantastic” and considered borderline soft porn. 

I believe it.

It’s no wonder there are movements such as “Se non ora, quando” (“If not now, when”) who organized a campaign in major piazzas around Italy 2 years ago to draw attention to a number of women’s issues, and Girlfriend In A Coma, a blog and documentary that also touched upon the objectification of women in TV. All you have to do is watch the opening credits for Colpo Grosso with “Le Portafortuna” (the Good Luck Charms) in their high thighed leotards and 70s boobs to understand some of the Italian woman’s plight nowadays.

If you don’t think that having a few beautiful, semi dressed women scattered about even the most mundane daytime TV shows is that bad, or is damaging to the women’s movement in any way, you might just have to grin and bare it the next time you’re asked for your photo instead of your CV. 

 

Brains over beauty! Don't ever forget.

Brains over beauty! Don’t ever forget.