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Saying “No Balls” To Another Man Is Now Illegal in Italy

Saying “No Balls” To Another Man Is Now Illegal in Italy

Playing into gender stereotypes the world over, a judge in Italy this week ruled that using the phrase “no balls” against another man in a disagreement is punishable with a fine, AFP reports.

The decision, which came from Italy’s highest court, was made because the judge argued that saying that a man has “no balls” hurts a man’s pride and can materially affect him in the workplace. The AFP quotes the judge, Maurizio Fumo, as saying the following about the decision:

Apart from the vulgarity of the term used, the expression definitely also has an injurious quality…

It refers not only to the target’s lack of virility but also to his weakness of character, lack of determination, competence and coherence — virtues that, rightly or wrongly, are still identified as pertaining to the male gender.

The legal proceedings were brought about between two cousins who work in the courtroom environment, one was a justice of the peace, the other a lawyer. One man used the phrase against his cousin, causing the plaintiff to take the case to court.

The judge clearly realized that the phrase is highly gendered, playing into understandings of masculinity that are central to Western understandings of sexuality, yet his decision also suggests there is not much anyone can do about those gendered understandings. The decision only refers to a very specific phrase when used in professional environments, and appears to apply only when used against a masculine person. As the Cosmopolitan points out, “As far as we know, they didn’t pass a ruling about inappropriate things to say to women.”

For now, the ruling has produced a mixed bag of reactions across the internet. Twitter users were quick to comment on the ruling and what it means for men and women in Italy, ranging from disbelief to a pointed mockery of the decision.

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47 comments

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4:26AM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

"Italy also have small condoms and small sports cars. Tell you something, does it not?"

Sure does!

9:37AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

Italy also have small condoms and small sports cars. Tell you something, does it not?

11:54PM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

And they're going to have word police?

10:29PM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

Maybe they could switch to the singular "No Ball" or "No Gonades" or "No Nad" or "No Tonsillas". Eventually the Italian court could pare down the Italian language to 45 legal words or less.

3:49PM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

Wow, this must been said by a man with very small balls and lot of power becaus this is over the edge even for men.

2:52PM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

Glad they have for this time !!

2:34PM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

Are you kidding me?!?! WOW. And how was this ruling NOT a conflict of interest....The laws people are making these days so that "feelings" are spared...good grief!!!

10:51PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

Oh grow up.

7:18PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

I told my wife that more than a mouthful is a waste.

She asked what I meant?

I said - "your little titties"!

She slapped me........

Oh go on feminists - laugh - it's the best medicine!

5:14PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

We are definitely on out way to hell in a handbasket.

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