During my long involvement in the women’s movement I saw many street demonstrations, I waited a long time, I took part in the enthusiasm and I hoped each time that the momentum would continue. Of today’s demonstrations sweeping Rome and the world — Ni Una Menos, or A Day Without Women in the U.S. — I will say that it’s special compared to all the others. I consider it a revival of the cultural revolution, that spike of historical consciousness, that was feminism of the 1970s.
Then as now it was an international movement: a young generation that jumped out of nowhere into the public arena, discarding the “woman question” — their disadvantage, their partial citizenship, etc. — in favor of an analysis of the relationship of power between the sexes, the problems of the body, sexuality, motherhood, abortion. It was considered “not political” to question the existing order in its complexity. The slogan “the personal is political” was a challenge, the ultimate protest of an original feminist culture which, as Rossana Rossanda wrote, arose “as an antagonist, negating the other culture.”
The radical demands, which then turned out to be impossible due to external and internal obstacles to feminism itself, reappear today, as often happens, in a changing environment and in the leadership of a generation that, unlike ours, is not “against” women. They preceded and somehow made it grow.