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The Evolution of La Donna: Marriage, Motherhood, and the Modern Italian Woman

Pallatino, Chelsea Leigh (2011) The Evolution of La Donna: Marriage, Motherhood, and the Modern Italian Woman. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The ubiquitous role of the Italian woman in society is ever-changing and expanding beyond its origin in the domestic sphere. The identity of the Italian woman was once engrained in matrimony and motherhood, not necessarily by women's own choice, but because it was considered the natural and expected path of life for any woman. An Italian woman was identified by her faith in the Catholic Church, her marriage to an Italian, working man, and the culmination of her life purpose was seen in giving birth to the sons of Italy. Working all day in the house and raising the children were the joys of life for Italian women, who were expected to be content and grateful as housewives. However, once women realized that higher education and a career were not solely the benefits of being a man, they began to realize that marriage was not for all women and that motherhood was not a necessary rite of passage to establish their entrance into adulthood. Through my public observations, review of scholarly articles, attendance of a film panel, and informal discussions with a variety of women in NGOs and other relevant settings over the course of a four month study abroad program in Italy, I have attempted to understand the differences between gender roles and expectations in Italian culture versus American culture. Personal experience has allowed me to contrast my life as an American woman of Italian heritage, with my adaptations as a foreign woman in Italy. Although Italian women have realized the advantages of independence, they must make sacrifices to stabilize and discover themselves in a media-driven society that is still ruled by male hegemony.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pallatino, Chelsea Leighclp44@Pitt.eduCLP44
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHayden, Robert Mrhayden@pitt.eduRHAYDEN
Committee MemberMontgomery, David Wdwm@pitt.eduDWM
Committee MemberLooney, Dennis Olooney@pitt.eduLOONEY
Committee MemberKrause, Elizabeth
Committee MemberCohen, Frayda Nfrcst5@pitt.eduFRCST5
Date: 5 May 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 30 March 2011
Approval Date: 5 May 2011
Submission Date: 10 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Abortion; Birth Control; Birthrate; Childlessness; Cohabitation; Coitus Interruptus; Contraceptive Use; Fascism; Fertility; Housewife; Italian Women; Modernity; Objectification; Planned Births; Pronatalist; Total Fertility
Other ID:, etd-04102011-235422
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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