Women and alcohol consumption in Fascist Italy
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This article examines discourses and practices around women's drinking in Fascist Italy. The history of alcohol production and consumption in Italy during the fascist dictatorship has only recently received attention; alcohol's gendered dimensions, especially women's drinking, have been hitherto overlooked. While the production of legislation, rhetoric and propaganda on alcohol consumption was dominated by men, women were identified as key constituents whose alcohol-related practices could make or break the causes of fascist propagandists, ‘anti-alcohol’ campaigners and alcohol industry associations. The article explains how Italian women were imagined and addressed by regime propagandists, alcohol industry producers and temperance campaigners as (a) simultaneously the principal victims of and responsibility bearers for male excess alcohol consumption, (b) potential ‘crisis-women’ whose unpatriotic drinking choices (whether English tea, French champagne or American cocktails) denoted their prioritising of fashion over fascist values and (c) gatekeepers of family alcohol consumer practices and consumers of alcohol in their own right. It then moves to examine sources left by interwar Italian women to explore what, how and when they drank. Ultimately, it argues that despite attempts to construct women's drinking in archly nationalistic terms, the discourses and actual practices of Italian women around alcohol consumption operated within profoundly transnational frames.
Ferris , K 2023 , ' Women and alcohol consumption in Fascist Italy ' , Gender & History , vol. 35 , no. 1 , pp. 212-248 . https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.12566
Gender & History
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Gender & History published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionFunding: UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (Grant Number(s): AH/L007436/1.
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