Don’t Insult an Italian Man’s Genitals, Or You Might Get Fined

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If a new court ruling is any indication, Italian men may be a little insecure.

The Italian Supreme Court ruled recently that telling a man he “has no balls” is a crime punishable by fine. The odd case was brought to the country’s highest court by a lawyer against his cousin, a judge, when the insult was uttered during a courtroom argument in southern Italy, according to the AFP.

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“Apart from the vulgarity of the term used, the expression definitely also has an injurious quality,” the male judge said in his ruling, the AFP reported. “It refers not only to the target’s lack of virility but also to his weakness of character, lack of determination, competence and coherence — virtues that, rightly or wrongly, are still identified as pertaining to the male gender.”

The lawyer for the plaintiff argued that the insult was about more than just an absence of equipment, but he also said it implied a man was “worth less than other men because he did not have the attributes,” the AFP reported. It was a case that took years to decide, but now a judge is now set to rule on the fine for the supposedly offensive quip. It might be a rather one-sided verdict, though, as they judge “did not specify whether any insults against women should now also be considered crimes.”

Online response to the ruling has run the gamut from entertained to outraged.

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