If there are some men who are the mirror of a specifically Italian stereotype, the same can be said for particular groups of Italian women.
Here are some of them, often been at the centre of movies, novels and generally associated to a particular type of Italian style femininity.
La Maniaca della Pulizia
Italian people are sometimes obsessed with hygiene and they often say that there is no European place that uses the same measures as Italy when eating or cleaning. And this is, indeed, what every maniaca della pulizia (that is, the hygiene obsessed type) would say: this is the woman that has made cleaning and tidiness the only motto of her existence, or at least, of her household. You will find her often going around the house with soap and cloth because – God forbids! – there may be stains and germs hiding somewhere. If you visit, you will never be allowed to sit on the sofa without a cover, or to leave a glass or a cup of coffee on the table without using a beer mat, lest you stain the wood.
The “One and Only” Woman
This is the type of woman who, no matter if she is beautiful or not, smart or not, will never have a word with you unless you are to her liking. She believes to be the only woman, or at least the most sought after, in town and for this reason going out with her or be her friend should be considered an honor. This is sometimes the result of too many suitors or too many years of people, often members of her family, saying she is special.
Often, if a man tells you “sei simpatica”, it is the sign you have been friendzoned. By many considered a gentle way to say to a woman she is not girlfriend material, it is however not always like this. The widespread stereotype is that uglier women are usually more friendly, but plenty of beautiful ones are friendly, too! In any case, this type of person is the one that always jokes and smiles. She is often ironic about herself and is usually a funny one to hang out with.
The Money Driven Woman
This type of woman is doea not necessarily have money, but is always looking for men who has it, and can ensure her a wealthy lifestyle. She is often not interested in physical appearance, or particular features of personality in her partner, provided he is rich. She likes going to restaurants, travelling, designer clothes and being spotted in the right places, at the right time. Basically, she is into all that can give her a beautiful, expensive lifestyle.
Plenty of women are perennially on a diet, but in Italy (and it could not be different, considering the cuisine) there are also those who perennially eat, the mangione, or big eaters. Food is an institution and sometimes can bring happiness on a bad day. This person will never have problems in ordering good dishes, instead of a salad, when going out and usually loves talking about this topic with friends; she can often plan the menu for lunch and dinner with quite a great advance and she is usually a good cook.
La Mamma Apprensiva
In this group are all the mothers who only think about their children, and they do so with an unconceivable amount of anxiety. They will always cook for them before going out, they will continuously phone them to check how and where they are, in some cases even when they are married. This is the type of mother-in-law nobody wants, as she tends to be pretty intrusive.
This is a woman who would not even look at you, unless you are well educated or have specific social roots. She tends to ignore people who are not her peers, and only goes to places where she will find others like her. She speaks using some specific gestures and usually with a language denoting her personality.
Just as her male counterpart, she is noisy, coarse and flashy. Eating a chewing-gum with her mouth open and loudly can be one of her favorite past times. She is strongly averse to elegance and delicacy.
Jessica starred by Claudia Gerini in the film “Viaggi di Nozze”
The Over 40 Evergreen, or L’Eterna Giovane
Once again, the Over 40 Evergreen has a male equivalent and both share the same characteristics: she loves clubbing and hanging with her single friends (divorced, most likely) and basically still has fun as if she were a teen. She wants to live carefree and this is also valid for the field of love: a toy boy is usually preferred to a grey haired, middle-aged man.
She is always on the go or up to something. This woman is truly anxious and even preparing for her holidays can make her stressed. She is the type of person that does things without calm and never stops talking, as she is electrified with anxiety. Her status is often due to the huge volume of things she does and the pursuit of perfectionism.
Clearly, we cannot fit all Italian women into these categories, and you may have noticed that they are far from being only and exclusively Italian. The ones mentioned, however, are often caricatured for their extreme attitudes and are truly easy to spot.
Author: Anna De Filippo