Let me start by saying that I have no intention of tackling this complex and controversial topic here in this simple blog post, nor do it justice as an outsider who is admittedly new to the country, its culture and its history. I will never be an Italian nor understand fully what it means to be one. What I can say is that the topic is one I’m becoming increasingly interested in and passionate about, in large part due to my partner, Jasmine. Her incredible awareness, understanding, and visions are contagious, and have led to my direct involvement in her community project called Italiane Oggi (or Italians Today). I can’t pretend to be any sort of expert, but I do hope to support these movements’ growth, and continue to support Jasmine however I can.
To introduce with some quick context — the mission behind Jasmine’s growing, interview-based community project is simple: Connect and share the experiences of Italian women from various walks of life, with the simple purpose of inspiring and providing an alternative educational resource for the next generation of Italians.
Here’s an example post from @Italiane_Oggi featuring Giovanna, an artist from Cagliari with her project “Grey is Punk” which empowers women to own their natural beauty together (with some badass branding, too):
To share a bit more, this time in the form of a physical event, on May 28 I attended Jasmine’s exhibition at the University of Oxford’s Wadham College entitled ‘Beyond a Bookshop.’ Here, Jasmine showcased the Libreria delle Donne di Milano, the Milan Women’s Bookshop, and the historic legacy of this space as Italy’s first feminist bookshop, and first public space opened specifically for women. Below is a short video documentary created for the event with testimonials from those impacted by the Libreria’s community is some way:
Jasmine, a Masters student in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University, played host to over 40 participants including the coordination of guest speakers all the way from Milan, central to the evening’s discussions.
What struck me as an immediate takeaway was, despite a slight language barrier, Jasmine’s connecting various circles which may have otherwise never overlapped. There were immediate synchronicities and heart-to-heart conversations igniting a spark between men and women both long-involved and new to the movements. It was a powerful and educational evening, and I look forward to seeing what comes next. I’m proud of you, Jasmine.
Here are a few images from the event:
Please don’t hesitate to reach out, or comment below with questions or feedback.
You can follow Italiane Oggi on Instagram here, and the Libreria delle Donne di Milano’s social media here:
Photos by Emma Stevenson Photography.