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Love Italian Style

vhiggins's picture

A friend recently showed me this article, and I thought to share it with you all. It is a review of the book "Love Italian Style: The Secrets of my Hot and Happy Marriage" written by Melissa Gorge (cast member of The Real Housewives of New Jersey). This review is featured on Jezebel so it has a strong feminist bias, but once you read it, you'll know why I couldn't find any reviews that were neutral.

Jezebel's main issue with the book is that Gorge advocates for marital rape, saying that a wife should be available for sex with her husband whenever he wants it, whether she wants to or not. Gorge includes other gems like "You can do just about anything for 10 minutes," and that strict gender rolls should apply within a marriage, the wife busy with housework while the husband works. She says, "When gender roles are confused, sexual roles are, too. If he's at the sink and then changing diapers, then who throws down in the bed?"

The book is supposed to explore love "Italian Style", and it is interesting to consider cultural differences in terms of how women are supposed to be used by men. It does not surprise me that Jezebel wrote such a review, considering the alternative, which is love "American Style (more or less)" in which more women seek to feel more empowered and equal in marriages, and would not feel comfortable subjecting themselves to the wills of their husbands on such a level as in Gorge's book. 

However, if this is love Italian style, could a theory of cultural relativity be applied here? Would it be okay to say, "Well, maybe they just do things differently over there," instead of, as Jezebel sees it, "The amount of sexism, gender essentialism, and caveman logic within its pages is soappalling that it's difficult to believe that her book is anything but a cry for help." Is it okay to accept this as a cultural difference? Or should American women suddenly burden themselves with spreading certain feminist views to all women throughout Italy?