senza padrone

18 November 2021

Today, I arrive at the joyful announcement in February 1975 of Effe’s first entirely women-produced (autogestiti) and self-financed issue, ‘senza padrone’ (without a boss/master).

Effe, Febbraio 1975. Casa Internazionale delle Donne, Roma

The editorial attributes this success to the enthusiastic support of their subscribers, and reiterates Effe‘s main function: as an instrument that enables women to escape isolation (‘uno strumento decisivo per uscire dall’isolamento’).

I’m reminded of the project I worked on last year, on the relationship between purpose and profit in feminist publishing, and email my former colleagues with snaps of Effe‘s front page from February 1975.

Effe, Febbraio 1975. Casa Internazionale delle Donne, Roma

The editorial goes on to further define Effe not as ‘a journal of information, not a journal of this or that feminist group, but a point of reference for the whole movement.’ Another way to overcome isolation: to refuse factionalism, and drily informative formats.

Effe is now ‘uno di dei pochi giornali veramente senza padrone, veramente autofinanziato’ (one of the few collectively-produced, self-sustaining magazines). Is ‘senza padrone‘ a synonym for ‘collective’, then, in this context?

The word ‘padrone’ reminds me of a recent event in Rome on communism and feminism, during which I was introduced (by speaker Anna Frisone) to the Italian feminist expression: ‘un compagno nella lotta, un padrone nella vita’ / a comrade in the struggle, a master in life – a short step away, it sounds like, from a comrade on the streets, a tyrant between the sheets.

I talk to Rachel afterwards, about whether ‘padrone’ could mean ‘patriarch’, as well as boss/master, in this context; we think that, for Italian women in the 1970s, it meant both.

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