A new book by female Italian writer and television journalist Costanza Miriano has rocketed up Spain’s best-seller lists by advising newlywed women to revert to “traditional” roles of submission and housekeeping — sparking street protests, objections from feminists and progressives, and a demand that the book be recalled.

But the Catholic archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martinez, who published the book, dismissed the critics as “ridiculous and hypocritical,” suggesting the book isn’t going away. And demands that it do so raise “throwback” issues of their own. From The Daily Beast:

The message Miriano is preaching is an odd throwback in a Europe that is becoming increasingly secular, though it’s unclear if the readers are using the book as a manual for marriage or as a source of outrage. In any case, the government’s censorious instinct seems a throwback to Franco’s draconian state, unbefitting a modern EU member. As antiquated as the book seems to modern, secular Spaniards, to withdraw it based on its controversial content is an idea as outdated as total submission to a husband’s will.

Miriano’s book has picked up support from Catholic traditionalists in the increasingly secularized country, and the reaction to it can be read as a barometer of Spanish society, with modernists dismissing it and conservatives embracing it.

At times, it almost reads like a satire, with such advice as: “It’s true, you’re not yet an experienced cook or a perfect housewife. What’s the problem if he tells you so? Tell him that he is right, that it’s true, that you will learn. On seeing your sweetness and your humility, your effort to change, this will also change him.” And: Women “like humiliation because it is for a greater good.”

Some Spanish government officials have asked for investigations into whether some of the contents might violate unspecified Spanish laws, and Anonymous posted a video of a Guy Fawkes-masked woman denouncing the book, according to the British Telegraph:

A woman’s voice says, “We don’t want anyone to feel they have the right to govern our lives and bodies.

“Our bodies are our own and we can decide what to do with them.”

The video goes on to criticize the government for “following the orders of the church” on issues like abortion and to demand equality.

“We’ve had enough of the church seeing us as mere objects to satisfy men, reproduce and clean,” the group says.

—Posted by Scott Martelle


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