One section of society that has provided Silvio Berlusconi with much of his support appears to have had enough of him. Women. Hundreds of thousands marched in cities all over Italy on Sunday, from Trieste in the north to Naples in the south to complain that his antics have hurt their dignity and reinforced outdated gender stereotypes.
Once again the internet played a key role, as the marches were organised around an online petition that brought women out in more than 200 cities, and also in communities abroad from the USA to Greece.
Banners in Rome included “Italy is not a brothel”, or “I love my boyfriend for free”; references to Berlusconi’s alleged sex parties and use of prostitutes.
“What I have I have conquered by myself and I want to continue to do it. That’s why today I am here. Because I say: no, stop! And I say it to all women, also to their friends.”
“Too often we are forced to make a choice between our bodies and our minds. But our freedom and our dignity can be protected only if these two things are together,” were two female opinions.
Throughout his career Berlusconi has been accused of promoting women more for their looks than their abilities. His media empire boomed using scantily clad glamour. Be a sex object, his philosophy seems to say, and you will avoid being part of the one-third of Italy’s young unemployed.