(Published in Critica fascista, February 15, 1939)
By Adolfo Dolmetta
The inspiration for this article was provided a few days ago by the announcement of the Littoriali of Culture and Art for the year 1939, in which we found — alongside the male competitions — also that of the female Littoriali, dictated by the political and disciplinary maturation already reached for some time now by the Young University Fascists organized within the female ranks of the GUF.
This manifestation, marked by that sense of politicity and spirituality that inspires all the manifestations of the Regime, evokes the study of the mission and of the essentially spiritual tasks that women have assumed in the body of the State and of the Regime after sixteen years of revolution, with special reference to the three most topical subjects: Empire, Race and Autarky.
But to properly set and solve the problem we believe it is necessary first of all to fix to these arguments the natural presupposition, that is, to outline the principles that Fascist ethics has in regards to woman's human, social and legal position. With this we also have to touch upon a fresh wound, an open wound, namely female susceptibility in light of the measures of the Council of Ministers reducing the employment of the women workers.
The Fascist conception of life is essentially a moral conception: the life of the Fascist must be high and full, lived for himself but above all for others, distant and close, present and future. In the face of arid and selfish individual calculation there is the evaluation of collective and national interests, considered as an ethical end, that is, as the ultimate end for the activities of all individuals and all groups living within the State: this therefore becomes the limit and norm of every individual right, the criterion for evaluating private interests and impulses.
By applying these principles to the female problem, it follows — as a logical corollary — that Fascist ethics precludes the step that leads to Feminism, i.e. that morbid and unhealthy phenomenon that can be summarized as an emancipation of the individual-female so as to be perfectly equal to the emancipated individual-male. Dating back to other times, but spreading rapidly only at the beginning of this present century, partially as a consequence of the World War which for a long time removed the man from business and from the home, thereby allowing the woman to assume the role in both places, Feminism presents itself as the celebration of an individual autonomy that would make woman capable of dictating to herself and by herself all the forms of her work and her life in a clearly selfish and hedonistic vision of existence. It is sufficient, after all, to bear in mind the more easily identifiable manifestations of Feminism: working outside the home, even in jobs that are not physically or morally appropriate for women, most often — if not always — for the sake of monetary gain in order to live comfortably; aspiring towards the most absolute masculinization which is summed up in a presumption of equality of rights and abilities between women and men, which is exalted in the practice of "sports" which are even less appropriate for feminine grace; it is reflected in a stupid mimicry (physical and mental) which undermines sensible modesty and tramples upon virtue; and finally the desire to establish with man not that conjugal life which brings about the "boredom" of motherhood and the "burdens" of a legal bond, but rather a society of enjoyment and pleasure, with equal reciprocal conditions, more or less prolonged in time and space.
Fascism has reacted against this conception since its emergence, reaffirming and exalting the virtues and graces that truly honor the woman, diverting her away from those sexual deviancies which women clumsily engage in with pride in those democratic republics which offer the most evident proof of their degeneracy in the progressive softening of the men. Solid evidence of Fascism's struggle against Feminism can be seen in the creation of the National Agency of Maternity and Infant Welfare, which has gradually entered into greater harmony with the spirit and needs of the demographic policy; in the new penal laws for crimes against public morality and decency, crimes against the integrity and health of the race and crimes against the family; in the celebration of "Mother and Child Day", which is a profoundly humane and Christian exaltation of motherhood; in the removal of women from those jobs and positions which turned her into a bundle of nerves, searching in vain for an increasingly unsatisfactory form of seduction.
Fascism wants to ban from national life the heirs and disciples of Olympe de Gouges and Claire Lacombe, who in 1793 presented women's rights to the Paris Commune, proclaiming that those who have the right to mount the scaffold also have the right to mount the rostrum; and there is no place in our Regime for the followers of George Sand, who demanded the right of women to sexual emancipation, nor for people like Oda Olberg and Wally Zepler, through whom the Feminist movement — after initially infiltrating the political and economic fields — has now invaded the moral field, having as its ultimate goal the negation of marriage and motherhood, which they regard as social obstacles "to the full development of woman's personality".
Against the two types of modern and international woman — the wealthy woman with hedonistic anti-housewife behaviours who, with her luxurious jewels and clothes, causes enormous sums of Italian money to pour into other countries each year; and the poor working woman of the workshops, stores and offices who despises both manual labour and house work, i.e. that work which is more properly feminine — our doctrine exalts the Fascist woman, who is a woman in the full sense of the word, i.e. first and foremost a mother, whose task is not to escape motherhood but to procreate and raise the children to have strong and healthy sentiments towards the Fatherland; whose battle post — because in revolutionary regimes even women have a battle post — is not the office or the factory, but the home, which is conceived as the sacred temple in which the woman can and must ennoble both herself and those who live around her, fulfilling the high mission that nature and social life have entrusted to her. And if we want to further specify the characteristics of the Fascist woman, we can also add that she is a genetically healthy woman who, with her life force and her moral heritage, compensates for her husband's inherited and acquired defects; and she is a frugal woman, rejecting especially those luxury goods that are imported from abroad.
Thus in our conception the woman finds the fullness of her existence not in concentrating foolishly on herself, but in projecting her personality outside of herself; not in seeking herself in herself, but in those that come to life and spring from her; in orienting her life, her thought, her will, in short all her energies, not towards herself, but outside and above herself: only in this way does the woman position herself as a faithful collaborator of the Regime, a precious and irreplaceable element for national solidarity. In this way she truly becomes the center of irradiation of goodness, of sacrifice, of order, of love, of harmony, of pride, of all those noble and strong feelings that make the Fatherland great and strong.
That this result is achievable — that is, that every Italian woman can acquire this notion of her function and this sense of her mission — is easily demonstrated by the recent history she partook in: from the anti-sanctionist reaction to fervent collaboration in the autarkic sphere, to the many and extensive outreach activities carried out in the various social sectors, accompanied by an intelligent and industrious understanding. The tools for such a work exist and are very valid: namely the Female Fascist Leagues, a superb expression of strength and love emitting from the activity of the Party, through which the Italian woman, while remaining a woman, refines her spirit and temperament, always adapting her action directly to the high ideals of the great machine of the Regime.
And when this concept is universally accepted and implemented, our woman — of every class and culture, of every age and every position — will realize the full beauty of her proper duties; she will be able to bring the sober virtues of her femininity to every battle; she will be able to participate in the life of the Nation in silence and in modesty, losing none of that sense of balance and that love of the household which undoubtedly constitute a motive for the divine richness of the family; above all she will understand the greatness of a life made entirely of silence and austerity both for the times in which we live and for those that await us.
And then she will be able to understand how the sums saved by surrendering posts to fathers of families and by eliminating expenses used on makeup, cigarettes and hair dye, which all serve to further delay wrinkles and the age of "mandatory virtue", will instead serve to give men and soldiers to the Fatherland; she will be able to understand that the only action of the woman is the child and that she does not need an organization, and that for real women there is only one female "sport": love, and only one goal: motherhood.
And it is precisely because of this superior conception of feminine life that our moral principle – unlike the Marixist and socialist system of masculinization which, instead of elevating the woman, as it delusionally believes, makes her more enslaved to her natural and physiological differences –, by calling woman back to her proper tasks, function and mission, elevates her above contingency and instability and makes her rise to the level of heroic overcoming of herself, for the life, future and happiness of others.