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Italy’s First Female Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni Named ‘Man of the Year’ by Newspaper

Giorgia Meloni has been named ‘Man of the Year’ by a far-right newspaper.

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speaks during a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on February 10, 2023. Credit: Shutterstock/Alexandros Michailidis

Italy’s first female prime minister has been named “Man of the Year” by a far-right newspaper, sparking conflict. Giorgia Meloni’s political opponents continue to protest her entitlement.

Meloni, 46, was awarded by the Libero Quotidiano Daily because she had won the ‘war of the sexes’ in Italy. The paper stated that not only had Meloni “not broken the glass ceiling, she dissolved it.” This article emphasized the “surrender” to the idea that politics are only for men.

The writer, Mario Sechi, is Libero’s Rome bureau chief and a former head of Meloni’s public relations team up until September 2023. Sechi praised Meloni’s perseverance and success in reversing sexist political stigmas.

Sechi wrote, “In our society of weak thinking, we have recognized strong ideas. In excessive diversity, we have reversed gender. In times of war, we have chosen someone who has shown she knows how to fight.”

Electoral rally by Giorgia Meloni, leader of Fratelli d’Italia party, candidate for premier in the political elections. Credit: Shutterstock/Mike Dotta

Sechi’s editorial praises Meloni’s success in winning “the war of the sexes…thinking differently, being divergent, overcoming the arrogance of males and the defeatism of females.” Meloni has become an advocate for feminism and diversity in Italian politics.

Meloni’s political opponents disapprove

Meloni’s political opponents, specifically women, have called on her to withdraw from the award. A reporter for The Telegraph, Elly Schlein, is shaking up Italian politics with this uproar. Schlein is secretary of the center-left Democratic Party and wrote, “Today, a right-wing newspaper is explaining to us that politics and power are for men.”

“I don’t think my aspiration as a politician is to become Man of the Year. On the contrary, I think this is a surrender.” Schlein is publicly disapproving of Meloni’s honor and her award. However, Schlein is not the only one who thinks Meloni needs to get her priorities straight.

Elisabetta Piccolotti, an MP from the Alleanza Verdi e Sinistra (Greens and Left Alliance), stated the article cover was “an affirmation of male superiority.” Meloni’s political opponents do not see her as a feminist nor divergent. Piccolotti called on Meloni to reject her award on Facebook, saying, “At this point, prime minister, please clarify: are you a woman, are you a man, or are you non-binary?”

Meloni reacts during a debate at the Senate ahead of a confidence vote in Rome, Italy – October 26, 2022. Credit: Shutterstock/Alessia Pierdomenico

Many people on social media posted memes that appeared to make fun of a female prime minister being named “Man of the Year.” However, Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano, a former deputy director of Libero, told journalists that Meloni was well-deserving of her title.

Meloni became prime minister in October 2022 and currently leads the right-wing populist Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party, which promotes traditional family values lightly based on Roman Catholic beliefs. Her political party opposes euthanasia, abortion and same-sex marriage.

Meloni’s political opponents are mainly democratic, who naturally disapprove of her beliefs and perspective in Italian politics. So far, she continues to receive slander amongst the media and the Internet due to her award and new title. Others are rising to stand with Meloni and her achievements, while others view her as irrelevant. Meloni has not commented on the Libero Quotidiano article.

Written By

Student at the University of La Verne majoring in print journalism.

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