I will believe that the battle of feminism is over, and that the female has reached a position of equality with the male, when I hear that a country has allowed itself to be turned upside-down and led to the brink of war by its passion for a totally bald woman writer.
~ Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
West’s reflection on D’Annunzio’s short-lived Fiume adventure has got me thinking. How difficult would I find it to give up the standard-issue future that doting fathers everywhere imagine for their daughters? Not so difficult, I think. If fate underwrites the venture, I’ll gladly spend my retirement running guns and sack lunches into the Sierra to supply her band of guerillas. Her hastily scribbled poems and political treatises I’ll secrete to the coast and hand to the papers. Let the literati in their cafes swoon for every phrase and declaration. Let generals and oligarchs tremble at the merest mention of the shaved-headed Liberatrix. Paternal pride sometimes expresses itself in cupboards stocked with carbines and fridges full of peanut butter.