Home Art & StyleEntertainment Jo Squillo: (Beautiful) body (big (soul): what the (myopic) world does not see of women

Jo Squillo: (Beautiful) body (big (soul): what the (myopic) world does not see of women

Written by Monica Camozzi
Photos by Simone Angarano

Beyond the legs of Giovanna Maria Coletti, aka Jo Squillo, there is much more. Her Kandeggina, the band with which she debuted as a 16-year-old, already denoted a purifying intent of stale traditions and clichés. It is no coincidence that they launched Tampax in Piazza Duomo during a concert, with a flicker of anti-male provocation that in time, for Jo, turned into an activist vocation on issues dear to women. 

We have seen her shoot the video of a song about the erupting volcano Etna, become the protagonist of comic strips entitled ‘the adventures of Jo Squillo’, present and host programmes, become so passionate about fashion that it has become her daily routine, but alongside her fervent artistic career her commitment as an activist has never failed.

She conceived and promoted the Wall of Dolls project, a permanent installation in Via de Amicis in Milan, a wall of dolls that is an emblematic and silent warning against violence against women. A theme that approaches equal rights and goes beyond the temporal cage of 8 March to embrace Jo’s whole life.

What has changed since you threw some Tampax with red paint during a concert in Piazza Duomo?
Well first of all that they have finally reduced VAT of Tampaxes from 22% -usually applied to luxury goods- to 8%, i.e., the tax applied to everyday goods, but in reality, there is a lot to be done. In fact, I was calling for free Tampaxes and for state attention to the female universe.
The wealth of women is not valued as it should be, so what we are asking for is something naturally and logically due, for example equal pay between men and women for the same job!

Wall of Dolls: where do you think violence starts? What is the first enemy to fight?

Violence starts from men who are afraid of their loss of dominance.

The woman plays an important role in the world, she takes care of the family often working and the man fears this loss of possession. Women in recent years have tried to explain that they are not ‘things’ but the sense of possession, in an increasingly materialistic society, is accentuated leading to violent and brutal feminicides.

What has emerged from the telephone helpdesk created by Wall of dolls? What are the things that women complain about most?
First of all, many take violence almost as habitual and daily, they do not understand when it is time to say enough is enough. Women have an extreme tolerance. Among those who have survived and whom we were able to listen to, a common denominator emerged, namely their determination to act after their children have been touched.

But we are noticing a change. Many have started to act and call before the irreparable takes place.

Bullying, discrimination, harassment of the weak: the school is still steeped in all of these, in all social classes. What do you suggest in this regard? How can you talk to children?

Surely this culture of violence must be overcome in schools.

Even Wall of Dolls, which is a permanent art installation, helps to substantiate the female condition through the doll precisely to say that we are not that.  It’s a real cultural operation for change, so when kids come in here or when we organize awareness-raising initiatives also in schools, it always turns out that someone has been in contact with cases of violence and in the end, it always comes to tears.

Then, through tears, people finally realize that violence is not normal.

What do you think about the female image on social media?  Could influencers somehow contribute to real awareness?
My Instagram is very attentive to this issue and so I also take it to social, but

these topics do not grab the public’s attention in the same way as the photos in bikini…

so influencers who look at numbers stay far away from these issues. I believe it is a necessity and I personally encourage young influencers to do something because as women I believe it is a duty and because we are called upon to talk about rights and values that are fundamental. Sometimes they tell me ‘who makes you do it to organize, spend time and money’, but it’s called solidarity and the new generations are a bit losing this concept.

Despite the apparent evolution, it seems that the world is deeply steeped in macho archetypes. What is the path to fight them that we have not taken yet?Wow, everything, just think how certain vulgar names are the order of the day, especially on social media, and how no one is able to protect us. Women are always being apostrophized even on their physical appearance, they are told everything and this too is violence. As I have always said, ‘beyond the legs there is more’!

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