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A New Mermaid Statue is Turning Heads in Southern Italy

Feminist or not?

Image: Shutterstock/Michele Ursi

A new statue, created by the students at the local art school, has just been revealed in this small town’s main square. But the villagers are not happy.

We find ourselves in Monopoli, a small fishing village in Puglia, southern Italy. The idyllic sea shore right by the town leads it to be a town of humble routes, where many enjoy their daily life under the warm sun and living by the sweet breeze of the sea.

To inaugurate the new square of this small seaside town, the students at the local art school, Luigi Rosso, designed a particularly voluptuous statue of a mermaid.

However, even before the inauguration of the statue, the mermaid caught the immediate attention of the online world for its…provocative nature.

Too much?

Tiziana Schiavarelli, an actor from Puglia, has shared on Facebook her thoughts on the newest addition to the town:

It looks like a mermaid with two silicone breasts and, above all, a huge arse never seen before on a mermaid. At least not any I know.

Tiziana Schiavarelli

Schiavarelli expresses the perplexity of many of the residents of the town. Not that she particularly despised the statue, but just that she was surprised by its artistic stylings.

Particularly because it is extremely sexualized and very, very large.

Representation of real women

Adolfo Marciano, the headteacher of the art school that was in charge of this commission by the local council, defends his artistic choice. He claims it is a “tribute to the great majority of women who are curvy.”

Although he was also surprised by the idealizations of the students once encharged with the commission, he defended the work. He says the students’ inspiration was true “a representation of reality, in this case of the female body.”

Marciano adds,

“You see adverts on television with models who are very thin, but the mermaid is like a tribute to the great majority of women who are curvy, especially in our country. It would have been very bad if we had represented a woman who was extremely skinny.”

Marciano also says it is a shame that the statue is getting so much attention because there is actually another statue to be unveiled dedicated to ‘victims of workplace accidents,’ considered to be much more important.

Criticism or celebration?

This isn’t the first time that Italy has unveiled a statue that caused a stir regarding the culture of sexism and misogyny present in the country. Previously, in 2021, there was an inauguration of a statue in Sapri, Campania, that received a lot of criticism from people claiming it was “an offense to women” due to its sheer dress. The sexualization of the statue distracted from the poem the statue was inspired by, La Spigolatrice di Sapri by Luigi Mercantini.

Read more about Italy’s latest news, such as their trendsetting in banning ChatGPT.

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