If You Were Me
Wishing for a change through the humor of a game
“If You Were Me” aims to transform the generic idea of fighting against violence, most of the times linked to negative feelings such as fear, resentment and revenge, into the positive and concrete proposal to act before and for good, stimulating the collaboration between men and women in the couple, in the family and in the society.
For the two young authors, Maria Sara Cetraro and Serena Giardino, “If You Were Me” is an educational mission, which consists in turning into action what the Italian writer Luigi Pirandello defined sentimento del contrario (feeling the opposite), in a paper entitled “L’umorismo” (“Humor” – 1901): overcoming the shallow opinions that we usually express about situations and people through the deeper reflection that can spring out from the identification with another person.
“If You Were Me” wants to put the hope of a change in everyday life in the humor of a game; imagining to switch the roles and also doing it for real, trying to watch the reality from another point of view, can be the best way – and an empowering one – to unhinge from our mind every “reason” to discriminate someone or commit violence. This approach, however, gives the chance to analyze with the same clarity other violent actions, for example those committed by women against men, or injustices against other categories of people, defined “different” because of their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social position, culture etc.
The project originally started as a contribution to the national competition #NoViolenza #Donne, held by the Roman branch of AIED (Italian Association for Demographic Education) and Cocoon Projects (March – May 2013 – www.noviolenza.it). “If You Were Me” was among the finalists of the contest, raising a lot of interest and receiving numerous expressions of appreciation.
On September 12th 2013 the team was invited to exhibit in Milan, at Amy-D Arte Spazio Gallery, during the finissage of the exposition “The Game”.
On November 25th 2013, “If You Were Me” was featured in the event “Contro questa mattanza” (“Against this slaughter”), organized by the City of Cesena in occasion of the International Day to combat violence against women. During this event, Maria Sara and Serena ran a workshop on gender stereotypes with a group of High School students, in collaboration with Professor Cinzia Albanesi, of the School of Psychology and Educational Science of the Bologna University.
The project has also been included in a book written by Maria Vittoria De Matteis – journalist for the Italian TV channel RaiNews 24 – entitled “Ricerca Pilota – Sull’educazione al rispetto della differenza di genere nella parità dei ruoli” (“Pilot Research – On the education to respect the gender differences in the equality of the roles”), with the preface of the Italian sociologist Franco Ferrarotti.
The book was presented for the first time on the 7th March 2014 in the head office of the Roman Press Association. In this occasion, the audience could also watch the first public service announcement realized by the “If You Were Me” team and a group of young film-makers called “Lamia-Creative”.
“If You Were Me” has been collaborating with several cultural and youth associations in the province of Rome and is regularly featured in conferences, debates, artistic events and other awareness-raising initiatives.
In July 2014, “If You Were Me” was formally constituted as an Association, with the purpose of further developing its interactive laboratories for pupils of Middle- and High-Schools about bullying, youth problems, racial discrimination and gender-based violence.