In Italy, telling someone to “grow a pair” could hit you where it hurts—right in the wallet. Though I don’t speak Italian, French newspaper Le Monde references a few news sources from Lo stivale in this blog post on the subject, whereby a man in Potenza was slapped with a fine. It seems that two cousins, Vittorio and Alberto, went to court over a heated argument, during which the latter suggested the former had no balls.
The judge, ruling in Vittorio’s favour, stated (this is a third-hand translation, mind you) “Beyond the vulgarity of the term, the expression is exceedingly hurtful. This expression implies not only a lack of virility of the targeted person, but also a weakness of character, a lack of determination, competence and coherency, virtues that, truthfully or falsely, are identified as belonging to the masculine gender.” I guess that competence is only considered a masculine virtue in a country where many women aspire to wash cars in bikinis on TV, but I digress.
Judge Maurizio Fumo also stated that had a third party been present, the insult could’ve been damaging to Vittorio’s reputation. Cuz nobody wants to do business with a castrato—unless that business is opera. Le Monde notes that the amount of the fine to be paid by Alberto has yet to be determined, while it’s also unclear whether insults towards women can be considered criminal offenses. It would likely be lights-out for Italian hip hop if insulting women were to be outlawed—though I’m sure it would do wonders for the reputation of the local gangster rap scene.