«Et io ne vidi uno in Napoli». Orientalismo e processi di patrimonializzazione dei femminielli napoletani
- Effeminate Men,
- Southern Italy,
- Criminal Anthropology
Copyright (c) 2020 Maria Carolina Vesce
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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?