The Softer Side of Resistance

1981 WordsJun 18, 20188 Pages
The Softer Side of Resistance Early Twentieth Century Italy, like the early Twentieth Century in the United States, was a time of promise for women’s progress. The issues forming the women’s rights platform seem basic and, especially because of our current placement in history, not too radical: the right to divorce, educational and employment rights, and perhaps most extreme, voting rights. In the early years of the Twentieth Century (although processes there were different from our concepts of democratic voting), some of these issues had even been brought to the ballot (Pickering-Iazza, Mothers, p.38). And contrary to popular perception, during the early years of Mussolini’s rule (which lasted from 1922-1943), public support for…show more content…
42). True to its totalitarian character, this plan brought the state even further into the peoples’ private lives. The Fascist government went as far as passing into law a bachelor tax. All eligible men aged twenty-six to sixty-five paid exorbitant taxes if they chose to stay single (De Grazia, p.69). The party outlawed birth control, held national childbearing contests, created monetary incentives for having at least seven children, and campaigned for a revision of beauty standards (De Grazia, ch. 3,4). Pursuing a goal that would mean more confining gender roles, for women and men alike, Mussolini went all out to get his way. In accordance with these ideals of womanhood, Mussolini saw to it that women’s education was tailored to their future roles as mothers and keepers of the house. Now, if wealthy enough to be in school, women were taught, even at the university level, how to keep a home (Pickering-Iazzi, Mothers p. 34). Mussolini also eliminated the most public display of women’s potential political power, the right to vote. One would assume that from the outset of his rule, the Duce would strongly oppose this form of liberation for women. But his position wavered on this issue as much as it did in several other areas. In 1919, he answered in an interview: “I am a supporter of
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