Bronze Statue Of Scantily-Clad Woman Unveiled By Group Of Men Sparks Sexism Row

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 28 Sep 2021 10:26
Sexism Row Over Bronze Statue in Sapri - Emanuele Stifano/FacebookEmanuele Stifano/Facebook

A row over sexism has been sparked after a bronze statue of a scantily-clad woman was unveiled by a group of men in Italy.

The woman is a figure from a famous poem from the 19th century, however, despite the commemorative nature of the work, the statue has become embroiled in a row about sexism.


The bronze statue, which was unveiled on Saturday in Sapri, depicts a woman in a transparent dress.

However, the figure was unveiled by a group of men, including Giuseppe Conte, the former Italian prime minister, which has subsequently further highlighted the controversial nature of its design.

The statue acts as a commemoration of Luigi Mercantini’s poem La spigolatrice di Sapri and was sculpted by Emanuele Stifano. The poem narrates the tale of Carlo Pisacane, an Italian revolutionary and socialist thinker, who led a failed expedition against the Kingdom of Naples. According to The Independent, the expedition took place in 1857 and resulted in 300 people losing their lives.


However, despite the statue being made in honour of the poem and the lost lives of the expedition, it has since been called out by several Italian politicians who have branded it as sexist.

In fact, some politicians have even asked that the sculpture be ‘knocked down’.

The statue was called an ‘offence to women and to the history it should celebrate’, by member of the Democratic Party, Laura Boldrini.


In a Twitter post, Boldrini questioned how institutions could even ‘accept the representation of women as a sexualised body?’ She concluded by saying that ‘male chauvinism is one of the evils of Italy.’

A group of female politicians from the Democratic Party’s unit in Palermo echoed similar feelings towards the statue.

The unit stated:

Once again, we have to suffer the humiliation of seeing ourselves represented in the form of a sexualised body, devoid of soul and without any connection with the social and political issues of the story.


Member of the Senate, Monica Cirinnà, also called to have the statue removed, branding it a ‘slap to history and to women who are still only sexualised bodies’.

In a post to Twitter, she commented that in her opinion, the statue said ‘nothing of the self-determination of the one who chose not to go to work to take sides against the Bourbon oppressor’.


Despite the outrage the statue has caused, Antonello Gentile, the mayor of Sapri, said that the concept of the work has not been ‘distorted’ or ‘criticised’ by any ‘social or political party’.

Furthermore, on Monday, Stifano, who sculpted the piece, stated that ‘regardless of gender’, he covers the human body ‘as little as possible’ for whatever sculpture he makes.

For this particular figure, Stifano explained he had ‘highlight[ed] the body’ by simply taking ‘advantage of the sea breeze’, in factors such as moving the long skirt.

He expressed that he had been ‘shocked and displeased’ by the reactions to the figure.

Stifano stated that the aim of the statue had been ‘to highlight an anatomy that should not have been a faithful instant of a 800 farmer, but rather to represent an ideal of a woman, evoke her pride, the awakening of a consciousness, all in a moment of great pathos.’

He clarified that the contracting authority had seen his preparatory sketch and approved the design.

‘To those who don’t know me personally I say that I continuously question my work, working with humility and always trying to improve myself, far from me to the great Masters of the past that represent a beacon that guides and inspires me,’ he concluded.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Film and TV

Friends Star James Michael Tyler Dies Aged 59

Topics: News, Italy, Now, Sexism, statue


The Independent and 2 others
  1. The Independent

    Sexism row in Italy after bronze statue of scantily-clad woman unveiled by group of men

  2. @lauraboldrini/Twitter


  3. @MonicaCirinna/ Twitter