Comencini hopes that Berlusconi and Trump may end up having something else in common: a downfall catalyzed by women. Berlusconi resigned nine months after her group, Se Non Ora, Quando (If Not Now, When), held its demonstrations, which attracted more than a million people. “We want a country in which it’s possible for women to live in dignity!” Susanna Camusso, the first female leader of Italy’s largest labor union, shouted in the Piazza del Popolo, where hundreds of thousands of protesters held a “group scream.”
“The rally was friendly, cool—like a rock concert,” Cristina, a novelist and director, said. Like Trump, Berlusconi was a skilled manipulator of the media, with a keen sense of what messages resonate with his countrymen. The Comencinis strove to battle him with imagery as much as with ideology. They enlisted the Italian actress Angela Finocchiaro to make a video appeal to the nation’s men, asking them to “tell the world you don’t want to live in a bad fifties movie.” They framed sexism and misogyny as not just wrong but lame.
“We were attractive and modern,” Francesca said. The sisters have a suggestion for their American counterparts as they prepare for the Million Women’s March on Washington, the day after Trump’s inauguration. “Do not make something against him, but communicate the idea that women are the nation,” Cristina said. “This is strength—it’s there, it’s something that he has to face.”