In summer 2019, the Sea-Watch captain Carola Rackete, who had rescued 52 refugees from Libya, was brought before an Italian court. The Italian government had not given her permission to go to a port. At the time, it was not the question of whether Carola Rackete was to be found guilty because she had disregarded an Italian law, but an alleged faux pas. The German appeared on July 18, 2019 without a bra in front of the public prosecutor's office in the Sicilian city of Agrigento. This was a “disrespectful insolence”, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini foamed on social media.

I was shocked. After I was in Afghanistan, after I worked with women in Argentina who initiated a campaign against feminicide, I realized that here, in the heart of Europe, it is the same old story: A woman who is not hiding her body nor her opinion is the eternal demon.

Immediately afterwards, Italians called on other women via Twitter to forego their bras and tweet photos – out of solidarity. The Turin initiators Nicoletta Nobile and Giulia Trivero said to La Repubblica: "Our protest was born out of ironic and provocative intent, but it has a very serious goal." Political debates today would be "obscured by irrelevant details", both criticize. “These distract from the important content. The debates are also used to humiliate women and demonize the female body.”

I would like to add some statements of German journalists who idealized or devaluated Meghan Markle after she left England. Under #meghxit has been a similar battle like under #freethenipple. Once Meghan Markle was called a "self-centered starlet" (Liane Bednarz: January 18, 2020). Then she was called the "true Queen" (Margarete Stokowski: January 21, 2020). The named statements reflect ideals of feminity – and they show us something about the authors: Their individual expectations of being a woman are conveyed.


I intend to understand the impact of narratives of the feminine on politics. As far as I can see, the left wing idealizes, the right wing devaluates women in most cases, sometimes with interesting literary references. ( 1 )

Women are sometimes abused doubly. Beatrix von Storch, the Deputy federal spokeswoman for the AfD-party since December 2019, presented herself on Facebook with the following statement: “Gender mainstreaming is intellectual garbage for the rich.” This is a hard blow. Another AfD-member, Falk Rodig, said on Twitter that we have too many female judges in Germany and that’s the reason why our courts are weak.

Harsh judgements are often a sign of uncertainty. They are used to protect ideals or personal boundaries. In my work I try to show how narratives of the feminine are exploited.

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Ludovica Masella compares Carola Rackete with Antigone, because both claim to have acted morally correct.