Via a Facebook post, Giorgia Meloni announced the end of her 10-year relationship with Andrea Giambruno.
The now ex-partner of the Prime Minister had already distinguished himself as “problematic” in the past: when discussing a rape, he admonished women: “If you don’t get drunk, you’ll avoid the big bad wolf.” On that occasion, Meloni had tried to explain away the indefensible, clarifying that it was just his “hasty and assertive” manner of expressing the advice of keeping one’s head clear and not letting one’s guard down.
We don’t know if her support took a hit from that, although it certainly looked jarring, to say the least, for a woman to defend such an unfortunate remark about a primordial form of violence that does not warrant any form of extenuating circumstances for the perpetrators. But the final straw only came a couple of days ago, when Giambruno was recorded off the air making inappropriate remarks towards journalist Viviana Guglielmi.
In her Facebook post, Meloni claimed that the relationship with her daughter’s father had in effect ended some time ago and that it was time to acknowledge that. In addition to the unbecoming vulgarity of Andrea Giambruno himself – not just as a journalist doing his job, but inevitably, and perhaps most importantly, as the partner of the occupant of one of the highest state offices – there are two elements that are striking in this story, which says something about the relationships between women and men.
The first is that a man will have a tough time accepting (if he doesn’t refuse outright) to share the public stage with a powerful woman, and, instead of finding a balance and a reasonable approach to this power disparity, will react by seizing the spoils of reflex male privilege – for example, by giving himself permission to say whatever goes through his mind. If he doesn’t have power, then he must show off to the whole world that he does possess something of his own, namely a penis; and flaunt this ostentatiously, as if it were of some significance.
The second element is the ambivalent nature of what is represented in this act. Many have seen Giambruno’s positions – especially the off-air remarks of a couple of days ago – as an attack aimed at Meloni herself; and such a no-filter attitude is founded on an imaginary to which we are accustomed from the lowest depths of Berlusconism: that corrupted symbolic space in which everyone, particularly women, serves as a resource to be fought over by raging hormonal males in the throes of competition and existential crisis.
In short, Giorgia Meloni made a firm decision to get rid of some dead weight, and, while the world is full of Giambrunis, that’s good news for her, at least.
Finally, there was a third, even more sour note at the end of the prime minister’s post, where she said that “all those who have hoped to weaken me by hitting me at home should know that, no matter how much a drop of water might hope to dig through a stone, the stone remains stone and the drop is only water.”
She alludes to opponents who haven’t played fair, but the analogy seems to be a striking example of an unintended admission of truth: obviously, no matter how much it resists, the stone will be eroded by the water in the end.
We can only hope this will happen on the playing field of politics, not on that of a soap opera.
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