Resistance strategies

Living with the sexist climate of some places is tiring, and a body easily becomes a scene to be prepared. Resistance strategies can be different. I can wear a mask-dress (Stagi, 2010) so as to interpret femininity suitable for the male imagination, annulling or dosing my female traits:

We’ve gone backwards. Once again I see those young girls who make do with what they have, dressing like men. Did you see the photo of Gheddafi’s bodyguards? It was awful: women dressed in camouflaged battledress with high heels. I see them like that, trying to match up to the male imagination in their role. If you match up, it’s easier for you to try to impose your ideas. Wearing a grey suit, high heels, lots of makeup, may be pleasing, I did it myself in the past, it took me a long time to get into a different phase. Yes, there has been a period of revival of “we are what we are”. Now I hear them talking and they speak like men with a lot of aggressiveness, using swear words, raising their voices …having done it myself I realise that it’s not innate behaviour, you see, men who do so: you are more of a man than them. Are you doing it to be accepted? You have to fit in with the cliché: beautiful woman, butch, aggressive and makes an impression when she goes to meetings.

Or I can choose to mount the scene to stake a claim on a femininity that does not want to be wiped out by a dominant male who crushes. The two photos that follow, the one of Roberta, a security guard holding her pistol with varnished nails and rings, and the one of Marzia, taken inside her truck fitted with pink curtains, are from this point of view very eloquent. Their stories too, after all, show their desire to stake a claim on their own femininity:

D: Is there a stereotype of truck drivers that you would like to debunk?

R: Yes, the one that says they are terrible housewives. Many of us love our homes a lot… cooking …or the idea that we are all butch …for instance with Milena who always has her hair very tidy… or Monica, who has a very sweet face, you’d never say that she drives a truck… the same about Rosa. Me too, I don’t have male body language… I have a brother 15 years older than me who wanted a little brother and he taught me all the male things (motocross…) …I’ve got a sister too… I’ve chosen my path, but I don’t think it’s for a man… but then I don’t know… I don’t think it’s male [laughs]… the others should tell you [laughs].

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