This blog is the first in a series I will be doing regarding the differences between the American and Italian cultures.
Italy, like many European countries, is much less uptight about showing the human body in advertisements or storefronts than in the United States. It is quite common here to see bare bottoms, bare breasts, and, if it’s artistic enough, full frontal nudity in advertisements.
The ads here would never fly in the U.S.! We're way too uptight for this much skin! This cracks me up because in America many people have no problem with violent movies or video games where one person blows the head off of another without shedding a tear, but show an ad with some nipplage and you'll hear about it on the evening news!
Note, the ad below is for coffee. The people have been painted on arms and hands, two of which are holding a coffee mug. I don't know what this naked jumble has to do with selling coffee, but it's quite artistic, no?
In fact, I’ve become so accustom to seeing nude women in ads or seeing nearly naked mannequins in storefronts that when I came upon a large tour group huddled outside of an underwear store pointing and giggling like 12 year old girls, I could not figure out what they were fussing about. That is until I heard one of the women say while pointing to a mannequin displaying a pair of thong undies, “Oh my gosh, why would they show that? That’s so weird!”
“Oh that’s right!” I explain to my Italian friend who was equally as confused as I. “We don't really have shops like this in the United States that display their, ahem, “stuff” like this.”
He was surprised by this because in Italy they have at least four national retail chains that sell only underwear, socks, and pantyhose. Because America has superstores that sell everything from pancake batter to guns, I don't think these little (non-high end) stores would survive. Sure we’ve got the Victoria’s Secret at the mall, but it's different from these stores and we certainly don't have four national chains thriving on selling only underwear and socks!