This blog is a repository for my thoughts on women's and gender issues in Italy, often relayed through my experience as a longtime Canadian resident of Florence. I'm trained as an art historian and a journalist, so subjects like contemporary art and travel tips make appearances too. The name comes from the word malafemmina, which in Italian has evolved to refer to a generally transgressive woman but in the original Neapolitan (malafemmena) connotes a woman of ill repute. Softer than slut, but still in the same family.
In fact, my feminism is sex-and-queer-positive and male-inclusive. I believe in gender fluidity, that we all have some female and some male inside us to varying degrees. And I think the often unconscious, patriarchal fear of and discomfort with anything remotely feminine causes trauma to us all – even straight, cis-gendered men.
Some will say this makes me a bad feminist. I do break a lot of the so-called rules. I like complimenting friends on their looks and receiving subtle, classy validation for my own. I acknowledge taboo grey areas and can appreciate politically incorrect humour. And I make a lot of concessions for my Italian husband. But, ultimately, I reject the notion that there’s any one way to be a feminist.
I’m advocating for shades of grey; for nuance, complexity, ambiguity; for the flexibility to shift perceptions and opinions; for the right to remain open and embrace vulnerability and change. I’m also committed to checking my privilege and championing minority voices.
In 2010 I became a mother in Italy and started blogging about it through a feminist lens, first at Made in Italy and then at Maple Leaf Mamma, both of whose posts have migrated here. A confluence of factors led me to start this project: leaving my dream job at a major magazine and moving to Florence from Toronto for love; discovering maternal feminist writing; navigating early motherhood on the front lines of the movement in the most sexist country in Europe; and needing an outlet through which to process it all. I decided to rename and recreate this space both to expand beyond the subject of motherhood, which remains beloved, and to better reflect my varied, sometimes provocative interests.