“A Wife with a Nonna’s Virtues:” Shifting Gender Ideals in Toronto’s Corriere Canadese

Abril Liberatori, York University

This presentation will reflect on how the Corriere Canadese disseminated conceptions of what it meant to be an ethnic Italian woman in post-WWII Toronto, Canada. The Corriere Canadese was an Italian-language newspaper founded in 1954 after the mass wave of postwar Italian migration to Toronto, and it served as a lifeline for the growing Italian communities there in myriad ways. This presentation explores the ways that the Corriere’s articles and images displayed an idealized version of Italian femininity to new immigrants. Three sections of the Corriere will be explored in more detail: prescriptive sections telling women how to dress and comport themselves properly; advice columns engaging specifically with women immigrants and their unique concerns; and general interest content reflecting on the changing role of the woman in Italy or North America. I argue that the Corriere content displays a general anxiety in the Italian immigrant community about the ways in which migration affected traditional gender norms. The pages of the Corriere were occasionally used as a safe space in which to play with or try out new iterations of being female. More often than not, however, they remained ambits of Old-World traditional norms. Although this may have been comforting or helpful in the early years of migration, it became incongruent with the more Americanized perceptions of womanhood that immigrant Italians began to adopt once settled.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 226. Migrant Voices, Agency, and Resilience