Women Plot interviews writer, speaker, and producer Chiara Sfregola

by Erica Surace

(Photo credits to Claudia Pajewski)

Chiara Sfregola (instagram.com/sfreg), an Apulian who lives in Rome, is a writer and tv show producer. She began writing on Lezpop.it with the short stories' column “Due camere e cucina” (2013) and “Camera single” (2014). In 2016 the short stories of “Camera single” merged in the homonymous novel published by Leggereditore. In 2020 she published with Fandango “Signorina. Memorie di una ragazza sposata”, a book halfway between a non-fiction and a memoir based on the idea of marriage.

  1. How did your first book "Camera single" (Single Room) come about? 

Camera Single was born from the blog by the same name that I kept between 2014 and 2015 on Lezpop.it, the pop culture site with a lesbian flavor. Every week I would post short stories about the love and sex lives of a group of lesbian friends. It had become a little cult. Sometime later a publication proposal arrived from Sergio Fanucci, and that's how I started writing to transform the blog – which I considered by then a finished experience – into a novel of its own.

  1. What is the meaning of the title of your latest book, "Signorina" (Miss)? 

Signorina (Miss) is a battle cry, a compliment, an insult, a form of diplomacy, sometimes catcalling, it is a box to tick, a label to tear off, because it exists only for women: apparently marriage changes social status for them only. Then I got married, and they kept calling me "Miss". I replied that, since I was married, they had to call me "Mrs." but they kept using "Miss" because I was young. And I began to realize that age also matters for women, as if we didn't have enough problems already, because if you're old you suck, but if you're young you're not influential, you're half a person. That's how I started writing this book. One reflection after another about women and their place in the world, because apparently there isn't one. Now that I'm divorced and I'm still called "Miss", I don't know what to say: am I back as a Miss or am I still a Mrs.? Tertium non datur. 

  1. Working in the world of television production do you think that Italian production companies are inclusive? Which television series would you recommend? 

Italian production companies, like the rest of Italian society, are now beginning to understand what inclusivity is, and they are struggling a bit, but they will hurry up. After all, those who do communication have no choice but to quickly understand the world if they want to represent it.

  1. What is the meaning of marriage for a feminist? How can we revolutionize the concept of marriage?

Marriage is made by the people who get married. If two feminists get married, they will most likely have a feminist marriage, based on equality and self-determination, on the reinvention of gender roles. Feminism is primarily a relationship practice, and in my experience, it lasts even longer than any piece of paper. My ex-wife and I went from being happily married to being happily friends, for example. We've come full circle and made it to feminist divorce. Self-determination comes through here, too. As I write in Signorina "I am mine, but it is only me who is mine. Over other women, as over any other human being, I have no rights".

  1. What can an "ally" do to help protect the civil rights of minorities (LGBTQIA+ community, but not only that) while not belonging to them? In the most practical way possible, how can you get out of the bubble and help someone in their civil battles? 

It makes me laugh to talk about "Ally". You only use that word for women and the LGBT+ community. Do people who support migrants call themselves "allies"? What about those who support riders? Is it because in the last two cases we are talking about social battles instead of civil ones? Who knows. You get out of the bubble by informing yourself and discovering that there are people who, because of their personal circumstances, are worse off than you and risk their lives, the custody of their children, social marginalization. There are many things you can do concretely; each person has his own way to contribute to society. You can donate money, sign petitions, welcome home a loved one removed from the family because they are LGBT+, provide professional and personal skills, volunteer, practice inclusivity in your business, teach it to your sons and daughters from childhood. The important thing is not to stand idly by in the face of injustice of any kind.

We'll have the pleasure of speaking with Chiara on Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 7 pm (CEST) in an Instagram Live on our profile (instagram.com/womenplot) where we'll explore her experience as writer, tv show producer and activist for LGBTQIA+ rights.