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Women and irony

“The advantages of being a woman artist”: It was in 1998 that the group of radical American feminist artists Guerrilla Girls published a pointed manifesto which ironically listed the advantages of women artists over their male colleagues. Working without the pressure of success; knowing that your career could take off after you have reached the age of 80; having the certainty that any work you might produce will be in any case be branded female; seeing your ideas come to life in the work of others; having more time to work when your partner leaves you for a younger woman; not running the embarrassing risk of being described as a genius; having the opportunity to choose between your career and motherhood; not being trapped in an academic post. 

Expressing with a wry smile the frustration that so many women – even those who are not artists – encounter in the course of their own vocations and jobs, this manifesto remains the manifestation of an art, that of irony which over the centuries has seen women in the front line, not only as victims but also as critics. The Catholic tradition has not lagged behind: the weapon of female irony has played – and continues to play — an important role, both to de-dramatize and to denounce. From Teresa of Avila to Flannery O’Connor, from Madeleine Delbrêl to Thérèse of Lisieux: over and above centuries and geography, age and charism, irony has enabled a great many women to focus attention on vices, dreams, virtues and shortcomings, forcefully but without resentment. And with regard to variety in terms of geographical locus, age and charisms, on the occasion of its third birthday, Women Church World is taking an important step in the attempt to complete its gaze, giving even more weight to the three words of its title written [in Italian] without capitals and without commas. As from this issue, in fact, Sr Catherine Aubin, a French Dominican theologian, Sr Rita Mboshu, a Congolese theologian of the Daughters of Mary Most Holy, and Silvina Pérez, an Argentine journalist, are joining the editorial staff. One Church, three small candles, six women and a good bit of irony. (giulia galeotti)

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Oct. 17, 2019

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