Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

If you thought Fifty Shades of Grey was bad, brace yourself for Costanza Miriano's Get Married and Be Submissive

Italian author's take on women's lib nothing short of an abomination

Lost cause: Costanza Miriano

Submission seems to be the new popular theme in women's literature. If you thought Fifty Shades of Grey was bad, brace yourselves. The book du jour, penned by an Italian author and journalist, Costanza Miriano, is causing mayhem in Spain.

Casate y se Sumisa (Get Married and be Submissive) has raised the hackles of feminists the length and breadth of Spain. The book, which was a bestseller in Italy, has been translated into Spanish and is currently sprinting up the bestseller list.

The book, a how-to for newlywed women, is not what you would expect for the modern, 21st-century housewife. In fact, it would probably be more appealing and indeed applicable to the cavewomen of old. Miriano dishes up golden nuggets such as: "We (women) like humiliation because it is for a greater good." With comments like that, it's a wonder she hasn't had to go into the witness protection programme to hide from furious feminists.

The book has so incensed the Spanish senoras that they have taken to the streets calling for it to be banned. In one protest, demonstrators in Bilbao tore up dozens of copies of the book in a show of rage. Even politicians are jumping on the bandwagon, with opposing political parties finding a rare common ground in denouncing the book.

Spanish minister for health, social services and equalities, Ana Mato, has called for the book to be taken off the shelves. She says: "I think it is not appropriate and that it is disrespectful."

Miriano, a married mother-of-four, doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. She claims the book was inspired by the Gospel of St Paul, in which he details the need for female subservience to both men and the Church.

Miriano, it seems, has missed (or chosen to ignore) the large sections of history where women have put their lives on the line to tear off the shackles of inequality. Has she not heard of the brave women who fought for women's rights, chaining themselves to railings and burning bras to promote equality? Perhaps she was too busy studying the teachings of St Paul to pay attention during the history lessons that mentioned iconic feminists like Eleanor of Aquitaine, Simone de Beauvoir and Emmeline Pankhurst. Miriano has clearly made it to adulthood, wifehood and motherhood without absorbing any feminist views. She assures us that "we are not equal to men. When you have to choose between what he likes and what you like, choose in his favour". It's clear Miriano is a lost cause to the feminist movement.

While the book has provoked fury among Spanish feminists, it has attracted praise from the Catholic Church. In fact, it was published by Francisco Javier Martinez, Catholic Archbishop of the Spanish city of Granada.

To the naysayers and critics, Archbishop Martinez has replied that their outrage is "ridiculous and hypocritical". He believes that abortion is a much more extreme example of violence against women.

If you can scrape your jaw off the floor after that statement, brace yourself for a startling recommendation from Miriano. She urges wives: "When your husband tells you something, you should listen as if it were God speaking."

If it wasn't so alarming, it would almost be amusing. Whatever happened to equality and mutual respect being the cornerstones of a happy and successful relationship?

As famous abolitionist and women's rights activist, Lucretia Mott, said over 300 years ago: "In the true married relationship, the independence of husband and wife will be equal, their dependence mutual, and their obligations reciprocal."

Perhaps it's time for Miriano to brush up on her history.

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