Monday, May 19, 2008

'Minister for Equal Opportunities'

That's Mara Carfagna's title in the Italian cabinet, but surely not all ministers are created equal:
A former showgirl who has become an Italian cabinet minister has admitted that you don't have to be pretty to get ahead in politics, but it helps.
Mara Carfagna, nicknamed Mara La Bella, or Mara the Beautiful, also said she was still shocked over her rapid ascent to the top of Italian politics. The 32-year-old was made the minister for Equal Opportunities last week.
The German tabloid Bild has already dubbed her "The world’s most beautiful cabinet minister" and the internet is buzzing with saucy pictures and videos from her past.
Yeah, trust me -- the picture I used at the top of this post is by no means the most "saucy" photo of Mara La Bella I came across during my Google search.
Although she graduated with a law degree in 2001, she pursued a career as a television showgirl for six years and posed provocatively for several gentlemen’s magazines.
However, in her first interview since her appointment, Miss Carfagna was keen to stress she is a woman of substance.
She told La Stampa newspaper: "Being pretty helps you make relationships quickly, and the political world is a segment of society full of male chauvinists."
Not to mention, they're Italian. Male chauvinists in Italy? Whoever heard of such a thing?

Some stereotypes are true, as you can discover by talking to any American woman who's ever traveled to Italy. American women have a certain look that Italian guys can spot instantly, and because the media has created the worldwide impression that all American women are sluts, female tourists who visit Italy report that they're repeatedly catcalled, leered at, and propositioned.

So it's not exactly surprising that when Italian politicians needed a Minister of Equal Opportunities, they'd pick a 32-year-old hottie. Not that I'm complaining, but I'd hardly call Carfagna a triumph for the feminist cause. (Remember Rush Limbaugh's "Undeniable Truths of Life," No. 24.) Here she is on the cover of an Italian edition of Maxim:

(Hat tip: Hot Air Headlines.)


  1. "Some stereotypes are true". Indeed they are, such as Italians' poor command of foreign languages (that would be me for one), Americans' presumption, writers' all-too-readiness to equate hearsay with truth, whether in good faith or otherwise. No, we don't think of "all American women" as "sluts". We're surprisingly, uh, cosmopolitan in harassment. (Well, you can take my word fot this. I actually expect you to, since that's what you'll do with survivals from Italian holidays.)
    I guess you don't know what I'm talking about, since there seems to be no such thing as a US male chauvinist, let alone one who is rude to foreigners.
    Happy moderating, dear sir.


  2. P.S.: By the way, I totally agree with you about minister Carfagna. Have you heard about Mara's alleged affair with Berlusconi himself? and about (widely rumored but unconfirmed as of today) wiretapped discussions on oral sex between the two? The tappings had been duly ordered by an examining magistrate, due to the "rogue" Judiciary's usual prosecuting zeal towards the Prime Minister - read "inquiry about suspected corruption")This has been a MAJOR theme in Italian politics in the last few days, one that has led a member of the opposition to wonder "what if Bill Clinton had nominated Monica Lewinsky a minister of his cabinet?" (And one who is supposed to promote "equal opportunities" for women, on top of that. Well, provided all of this is fact, which is not -yet- the case.) The press poses yet another problem when, out of deference to power, reports comments such as the above unanswered question without providing the scantiest context. Meanwhile, laws are being passed which are meant to strictly reduce telephone interception for official investigations, and to put "the highest offices of state" on trial for whatever reason. Coincidence?
    Italy yields more spurs for discussion then trite machismo.


  3. Ehm, to prevent them folks from being put on trial, that is.