chapter  8
24 Pages

“Toys and Perfumes”: Imploding Italy’s Population Paradox and Motherly Myths

WithElizabeth L. Krause

This chapter explains about toys and perfumes: imploding Italy’s population paradox and motherly myths. The aspect of a globalized rural economy was based on domicile labor involving women who often came together in household workshops. These weavers’ labors were crucial to household, local and global economies, yet their work was highly devalued, especially by the men, as one report on women’s work from 1893 stated. The story portrayed in “Toys and Perfumes” prefigures the current culture of responsibility that surrounds Italian motherhood. In other words, the song serves as a moral trope against which subsequent notions of responsible motherhood are constructed. This trope erases the history of women as workers and idealizes them as mothers. In an effort to diffuse their blame-placing on women, the researchers portray the demographic crisis as the manifestation of a “profound and generalized crisis of values that does everything but support procreative choice.