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Reading: Luciana Littizzetto, il postfemminismo e la rischiosa arte di fare la scema


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Luciana Littizzetto, il postfemminismo e la rischiosa arte di fare la scema


Paola Bonifazio

University of Texas at Austin - Department of French and Italian 201 W 21st St STOP B7600, Austin, TX 78712-1800 (USA)
About Paola

Paola Bonifazio è Assistant Professor of Italian nel Dipartimento di francese e italiano (The University of Texas, Austin). Si è laureata presso l’Università Cattolica di Milano, ha conseguito un dottorato in Italian Studies presso la New York University e un Master in Letteratura Italiana presso la University of Pittsburgh. Il suo libro sui cortometraggi del dopoguerra che rappresentano la modernizzazione in Italia, dal titolo Schooling in Modernity: The Politics of Sponsored Films in Postwar Italy, è stato pubblicato dalla University of Toronto Press nel 2014. Dal 2011, è membro e co-fondatrice del gruppo di studio Culture and Politics of Gender in Italy e co-editor della rivista gender/sexuality/Italy.

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Luciana Littizzetto, postfeminism, and the dangerous art of playing the fool

The goal of this paper is to study the performative strategies by which the comic persona of Luciana Littizzetto deconstructs post-patriarchal representations of femininity and womanhood in contemporary Italian popular culture. I argue that Littizzetto’s character(s) (on television and in films) engages in a ‘postfeminist’ critique of the system of sex and power, in which many women have recently found their fortune, and that is primarily embodied by the showgirls and/or female politicians supported by the ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. By positioning herself as the woman who is excluded from the circle of power to which other (beautiful and attractive) women have access, Littizzetto’s character(s) unveils the contradictions that embed ‘postfeminist’ models of female emancipation, blessed (or cursed) by the archaic power of beauty, as well as empowered by sexual liberation. I will purposefully use the attribute ‘postfeminist’ to describe both the comic subject and the female ‘White Clowns’ in Littizzetto’s comic performance. In this way, I hope to highlight the complexity of the attribute itself, rather than using the term as a fixed category of analysis. In my view, ‘postfeminism’ indicates both continuities between contemporary practices of female emancipation and second wave feminism, as well as a dismissal. In my essay, I will show that Littizzetto’s comic act does not aim at denigrating the ‘other’ woman and lacks the underlining moralistic attitude of other critical voices, such as Lorella Zanardo and her Il corpo delle donne. Rather, it is crafted against a ‘queen’ whose power is not denied but rather acknowledged and therefore naked. By physical gestures and verbal expressions, her living and acting persona ultimately exposes the masquerade of femininity, both her own and that of others.

How to Cite: Bonifazio, P., 2014. Luciana Littizzetto, il postfemminismo e la rischiosa arte di fare la scema. Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani, 29(2), pp.55–65. DOI:
Published on 22 Dec 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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