The Sistine Chapel is one of the strangest closets I’ve ever visited. The Vatican is this totally homosocial space, made even creepier by the Catholic Church’s cover-ups of child rape throughout the world. And the place is a masculinity mausoleum. Michelangelo was so thoroughly disinterested in the female body that the women on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel have big muscular hairy arms that don’t seem to fit the rest of them.
Of course Christianity has literally no place for powerful women, unless they rule by vagina (whores or virgins, hardly matters which). Bourdieu said that the Mediterranean countries had the most aggressive forms of androcentrism in Europe. Visiting Italy, it’s hard to ignore the contemporary manifestations of this, from the t-shirts touting large penis sizes and violence against women (Tony on this again: “Ha ha. I hate women. Isn’t that funny?). Not to get the US off the hook, but this is the country where street harassment is an institution.