Who was Carla Lonzi, feminist author of “Let’s Spit on Hegel”

Nonot an icon of Italian feminism, but a living presence in today’s world: Carla Lonci was – and continues to be through her writings – the first theoretical feminist of the radical phase of Italian feminism and the first lucid and persistent supporter of his thesis sexual difference. On September 5, thanks to the publishing house La Tartaruga, it returned to bookstores We spit on Hegel and other writings, pivotal work of Italian feminism and beyond, written by Carla Lonzi in 1970. A text that still has a lot to say today: that’s why Lonzi’s words never stop speaking to us

Who was Carla Lonzi and why feminism was her celebration

For years his works circulated through photocopies, PDFs that bounced into inbox emails, or proposals copied in pen and passed from hand to hand. From woman to woman. A fact that in itself testifies to the value of Carla Lonzi’s thinking, internationally recognized for her history of art and gender thinking.

After a career in the art world, in the early 1970s Lonzi quit her job to devote herself fully to feminism. In a 1968 photograph Lonzi is depicted surrounded by a halo, and the reference to the image of a saint reflects exactly what attracted the thinker: It is already politics, Writings of Women’s Revolt She is the author herself who writes how much, as a child, she adored autobiographical books of saints.

“Through their words what I would otherwise have to dismiss as the consequence of morbid and unreal feelings was shaped,” explains Lonzi. And what he will investigate in his philosophical work will be precisely that “different” thinking which requires consistency, that is, women’s ability to doubt, deconstruct, and find the resources within themselves while managing not to abandon what Lonzi callsessential.

Carla Lonzi has dedicated her entire existence to the search for meaning, never giving up on herself. As it says inside Shut up, speak the truth. Diary of a Feminist:

Leaving was nothing compared to the pain of betraying myself. And this ease of walking away as soon as something was asked of me that did not agree with my conscience was the element that above all prevented me from getting lost in emancipation and apparent successes

Lonzi’s determination, moreover, appeared at a very young age: born in Florence on March 6, 1931, to a teacher mother and an industrialist father, at the age of nine she decided to enroll in college and continue her studies, despite many of her peers of do not have access to this type of education. After high school he moved to Paris to study at university, returned to Tuscany for health reasons, and here he graduated with honors for his thesis in Art History, entitled “Stage and visual arts relations since the late nineteenth century.”

Her career in the art world immediately takes off in a promising way, giving her the opportunity to travel, curate prestigious exhibitions and establish herself as an art critic and personality full of talent and charisma. It is on this bright path that Lonzi digs into the shadows: he begins to study it power relations between men and women realizing more and more accurately the abuses and injustices against women, openly denouncing the situation and consequently finding herself isolated from the environment to which she belonged.

She will thus leave her work as an art critic and devote herself completely to feminism: over the years Lonzi will develop the concept of the “unpredictable subject” to indicate the awareness of women as different “subjects” compared to men who are considered ” universal issues”. And, first of all, it was the “unforeseen subject” of his life:

Now I exist: this certainty justifies me and gives me the freedom I believed in alone (…). I understand how far I may have fallen by the wayside by now, but I understand that nothing would deter me from tackling the basics. Now the unnecessary takes all my attention and desires

Shut up, speak the truth. Diary of a FeministWritings of Rivolta Femminile, Milan 1978.

From Rivolta Femminile to Let’s Spit Hegel, Diversity Feminism is Born

In 1970, with Elvira Banotti and Carla Accardi, Lonzi founded the group Rivolta Femminile, writing with them the Women’s Rebellion Manifesto and opening it Publishing house Scritti di Rivolta Femminilefor which it will be published for the first time Let’s spit on Hegel.

The The Manifesto of the Women’s Revolt displayed in the streets of Rome in July 1970 announces the main reasons of Lonci’s thinking, in a non-argumentative style, but in short and blunt statements: “Woman as subject does not reject man as subject, but rejects him as an absolute role. In social life he rejects it as an authoritarian role”. Again, for difference and equality: The woman is the other for the man. The man is the other to the woman. Equality is an ideological attempt to enslave women at higher levels. To identify woman with man is to cancel the last path to liberation.”

The feminism launched by Lonzi it did not aim at formal equality between men and womenbut the confirmation of difference.

A recognition of otherness that does not want the assimilation of women with men but a radical change of perspective: Lonzi’s unexpected gesture was to place herself outside culture, institutions and ensure that feminism would, as she wrote Lonzi, “a shock. “and also “a celebration”

Compared to previous feminist waves – which aspired to equality between men and women – Difference feminism argued that equality functioned merely as a formal principle without concretely resolving the discrimination that had continued to exist in the areas of women’s life and work.

In the essay Let’s spit on Hegelwritten by Lonzi in the same year as the Manifesto, the goal of equality is deconstructed through the positions of Hegel, Marx and Freud.

The text has a subtitle The clitoris and vagina woman and he wants undermine the position of the famous German philosopheraccused like other figures of the caliber of Marx and Freud of having a restrictive view of reality due to their chauvinistic orientation and at the same time affirming the centrality of the pleasure of the female bodyfreeing it from the dictates of procreation in the belief that “Man is not the model to which a woman’s process of self-discovery is adapted”Why “The woman is the other for the man”.

The oppression of women, writes Lonzi:

it does not end in equality, but continues in equality. It does not end in revolution, but continues in revolution

The difference Lonzi considers shows “to bring about a global change in culture”through practices of critique of traditional politics and practices of conflict:

The position of women does not imply participation in male power, but a questioning of the concept of power

Read Carla Lonzi today

The concepts expressed by Carla Lonzi in her writings, more than forty years after her death – which occurred in 1982 due to cancer – they have yet to be rediscovered: this is why all Lonzi’s texts will be republished without critical comments. As explained by curator Annarosa Buttarelli:

“These are texts that do not tolerate comments, explanations, interpretations that would erase their overwhelming power, their intense, oral presence… We therefore propose to re-present Carla Lonzi’s writings without critical accompaniment, as texts about the women’s struggle, for the wonder of those who will read them for the first time, as food for self-transformation, as a viaticum for those who seek the quality of a thought, which is increasingly rare.”

Rediscover radical thinking to reinvent “the theory” and adapt it to the present: a need that becomes ever more pressing and to which Lonci, once again, responds by letting the words cut deep. It disturbs, it provokes discussion, but it trembles.

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