Parents in Bologna, Italy have withdrawn their children from the Castello di Serravalle nursery school after learning that the school's teacher, Michela Roth, posed in minimal attire for, among other things, a Harley Davidson calendar. I say "parents," by which I mean mothers, since I doubt there were many Italian fathers itching to yank their kids out of school over a silly little thing like what Ms. Roth does in her spare time.
Roth herself told the Daily Mail, "I think there is a little bit of envy going on here and it has gone over the top ... "
But according to one mother, "She is too attractive and I don't want her teaching my son."
The head of the school probably said something too, but unfortunately I don't speak Italian.
I'll not pretend to be all-knowing in the ways of child rearing. I'll leave it to you. Is a woman ipso facto unqualified to teach kids because she posed for this photo, or this one, or this one, or how about this one here?
The gods despise me and for that reason I am sentenced to walk this earth sonless. I have the world's coolest daughter so I'm not complaining. But years from now, when she bears my grandson, Little Tony, boy howdy there will be some festivities! And when Little Tony's a toddler, well established in his own baby modeling career, after his morning dressage, fencing instruction and Latin lessons, following his half-hour downtime with his Nepalese wet nurse, just before his art and music appreciation classes, when his fitness instructor pops by the compound for his half-hour of Junior Pilates, I doubt very seriously that I'll care if she just came from a photo shoot for Maxim.
[There could be hell to pay at my house for that bit.]
Seriously though, we're talking about Italy here, a country that in 1987 elected Hungarian-born porn star La Cicciolina (Anna Ilona Staller) to its parliament. While in office and prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War, La Cicciolina publicly offered to have sex with Saddam Hussein in exchange for peace in the region. In 2006, at the age of 55, she made the same offer to Osama bin Laden. Of La Cicciolina's public service Umberto Eco is reported to have said, "Immorality for immorality; we've seen worse."
Italy is not precisely at the vanguard of women's empowerment. It's less worth noting that the country elected a porn actress to parliament than that women in general have held only 10 percent of all seats in that parliament. That's far worse than the nearly 17 percent of U.S. Congressional seats occupied by women and that's in a country where women are so undervalued that political hatemongers will openly allege that women cry rape to get abortions.
[There you go, honey.]
And so what, then, if a preschool teacher makes a Lira or two on the side posing for calendars your kids shouldn't be looking at anyway? If it advances the cause of women's empowerment in a still very gender-divided society, I'm all for it.
Then again I could be wrong and if I am, I'll sure hear about it when my wife gets home.