Vol. 16 (2020): Effeminati
Presente...

«Et io ne vidi uno in Napoli». Orientalismo e processi di patrimonializzazione dei femminielli napoletani

Maria Carolina Vesce
Università degli studi di Siena
Published July 7, 2021
Keywords
  • Femminielli,
  • Effeminate Men,
  • Orientalism,
  • Southern Italy,
  • Criminal Anthropology
How to Cite
Vesce, M. C. (2021). «Et io ne vidi uno in Napoli». Orientalismo e processi di patrimonializzazione dei femminielli napoletani. Storia Delle Donne, 16(1), 55-73. https://doi.org/10.36253/sd-11462

Abstract

In Naples, as in several other cities of the Campania region (Italy), the word femminiello/femminella “traditionally” refers to effeminate men who behave and act as women. In the last decade femminielli/femminelle were the subject of a true heritagization process, intended to enhace and capitalize their “ancient identity”, now considered on the verge of extinction. Nonetheless, still today, people who self-identify as femminiello/femminella embody an “old-fashioned way” ideal of femininity, sometimes claiming the specificity of their local identity, and distancing themselves from the LGBTQI+ representations and identities. Based on the data collected during a long term fieldwork in Campania, this essay focuses on the processes of production, reproduction and manipulation of the femminielli/femminelle’ identities. More specifically by crossing literature and field notes, I will propose an analysis of the interactions between an orientalist and colonial imaginary that “produces” the femminiello/femminella as otherness (southern) and the reversal that occurs with the distinctive claim of gender experiences embodied by people who still identify as femminielli/femminelle. How do these imaginaries interact? And what implicit stereotypes lurk in such representations?

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