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Editor’s Letter

Our celebration of women is universal, certainly not tied to dates or contingent circumstances.  However, the words of Simone de Beauvoir always resonate eternal. In The Second Sex, she writes about the male’s hesitation ‘between fear and desire, between the fear of falling into the hands of uncontrollable forces and the will to take possession of them’.

A few have gone further, hypothesising (Michel Foucault) the profound fear of the loss of male sexual identity in favour of an inner, female identity. The fact remains that the myths speak for themselves: the feminine enchants, nails the imaginary, yet instills an endemic, atavistic fear. Almost always misogynistic, as violent as they are aware of a biological capacity to give life that no one can defeat. Like it or not, you are born of a woman!

Don’t forget that witchcraft stems from pagan fertility cults, which served to propitiate harvests (later transformed into something else by the Church). In short, witchcraft would seem to be the emblem of undeniable but unauthorized female power.
Here, on this issue and its subconscious and unconscious implications, psychoanalysis has indulged. Well represented by Karen Horney, when she wondered whether it was not incredible ‘that so little attention is paid to man’s secret fear of woman’.

Centuries after the genesis of the Sirens, Amazons, Witches and Fairies, the look towards the feminine seems resolved, but in reality it is not.  So much so that one still feels the need to dedicate a day to women, perhaps to compensate for an equal dignity never actually attributed to them.

We prefer to move beyond fear, entering through the door of desire and speaking the language of Beauty that is eternal; hoping that Prince Mishkin in Dostoevsky’s Idiot was right in stating that Beauty will save the world. Even from misogyny. 

Donatella Bellicchi

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