Berlusconi Sexist Dig Sparks Fury

100K sign petition after jab against female politician
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 4:34 AM CDT
Italian Premier Sivlio Berlusconi, gestures as he delivers his address at a party rally in Benevento, southern Italy.   (AP Photo/Tano Pecoraro)
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(Newser) – Silvio Berlusconi may soon have a lot more than corruption charges to worry about. Italian women—who stayed largely silent during his recent sex scandals—are joining a rising feminist backlash against the Italian leader after he made sexist remarks to a female politician on live TV. "You are more beautiful than intelligent," he told matronly 58-year-old Rosy Bindi on a discussion program earlier this month.

Bindi replied: "I am not a woman at your disposal"—a response now printed on T-shirts and banners at anti-Berlusconi rallies. More than 100,000 people have now signed a petition titled "Women Offended by the Premier." In what some see as the birth of a whole new political movement, prominent journalists, actresses, and even a female minister from Berlusconi's own party have condemned the prime minister's remarks, the BBC reports.