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Berlusconi's 'sexist' comment sparks row

entertainment Updated: Oct 21, 2009 19:42 IST
Berlusconi infuriates another lady

BerlusconiSilvio Berlusconi may soon have a lot more than corruption charges to worry about. Italian women—who stayed largely silent during his recent sex scandals—are joining a rising feminist backlash against the Italian leader.

Many women have signed a petition expressing anger over an insult by PM Silvio Berlusconi to a female politician on live television. He told matronly 58-year-old Rosy Bindi on a discussion program earlier this month, that she was "more beautiful than intelligent".

Bindi replied: "I am not a woman at your disposal"—a response now printed on T-shirts and banners at anti-Berlusconi rallies. More than 100,000 people have now signed a petition titled "Women Offended by the Premier." In what some see as the birth of a whole new political movement, prominent journalists, actresses, and even a female minister from Berlusconi's own party have condemned the prime minister's remarks.