If you are home before the 8pm news on Rai Uno, Italy’s main television station, you will discover it is preceded by a quiz show called L’Eredita (“The Inheritance”). In the middle of the programme, four ritzy women interrupt the competition to dance. “My jewels!” the male host exclaims. The dancing has no connection to the rest of the show; Rai Uno explains on its website that the “girls… with their presence and beauty, cheer up everyone watching, particularly men”.
Try squaring that with this laughably correct-but-wildly-implausible ambition from Rai's ethical code:
"Rai recognises the value of the human being, and entrusts itself with the task of not only guaranteeing but also developing our inviolable rights. Given this, the image of women should not correspond to reductive or instrumentalising stereotypes"
Unfortunately, the role of these wome - the veline - is well rooted in Italian television. Whilst the idea is pretty depressing, the derivation of the term is rather illuminating. During the fascist period, veline were flimsy carbon-copy instructions given to journalists, telling them which news items to puff up or ignore, the predecessors of today' s temniki. Sixty years later, the girls who brought news items to the Striscia's presenters became known by the same term. Sexism and fascism united in one red-white-and-green thread.