search burger
search ×

Universal Right Nap: Interview with Virginia Cafaro

Why talking about the right to rest is necessary and why reading Manifesto Pisolini. Guida femminista sul diritto al riposo is a good start


Being tired, needing time to rest is uneconomical: if you have free time, it must be consumed, valued, used for socially accepted hobbies. If you can also make money from your free time, that’s all the better.

A narrative that is beginning to be questioned: we talked about it with Virginia Cafaro, author of Manifesto pisolini. Guida femminista sul diritto al riposo (Le plurali, 2024).

I’d start with the beginning of your book: how are you?

Just like in the preface I answer "tired", but all good. I am happy, an idea of happiness that Michela Murgia spoke of: a condition to aspire to, in which to live daily.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da Wellme_it (@wellme_it)

When did you start thinking about the right to rest?

Since I was a child I was surrounded by tired people: my family is made up of workers, who allowed me to study and to "free myself" from their labors. My work in the world of Milanese marketing led me to burnout: I no longer had time for myself and for recharging. It all started there, when I started to claim my right to rest.

A reflection that led to the birth of Manifesto pisolini, published by Le plurali: how was it born?

I was already writing books on the theme of time and how it was experienced by women. When I came out of the 2020 burnout, I picked it up again, focusing more on the aspects of time-of-care and the impact of digital on the right to rest. Thus, a book in snack format, agile: Manifesto pisolini.

The subtitle of your book is Guida femminista sul diritto al riposo: why this specific connotation?

The theme is inherently feminist, just think of the time of care for children and the elderly: a job for which there is no economic recognition, which usually falls on women. Many scholars I quote in the book have analyzed these aspects; it was a way to give them even more prestige. Thinking in a feminist way is a way to ask questions, to have moments of self-awareness.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da virginia cafaro (@virginiapug)

The role of social is not neutral in terms of rest, on the contrary!

I’m a child of the internet; the possibility of networking with other people is in itself a good thing, not demonizing the tool of social. However, they are companies, and as such they try to capitalize on time, on our time: they promote themselves as centers of connection between people with some adv in the middle, in fact the scale of values is just reversed. They try to sell us happiness and rest in pocket size.

Did you have a sensitivity that matured over time or was it already present when you were working in the communication field?

I already had it, but in social media marketing, it’s all too fast. The new trend or filter comes and reasons on the target to be able to propose it; the risks of infinite scrolling were, and are, underestimated. One cause is also the amount of work that is done, which does not allow one to stop and think about the consequences.

Has your relationship with social changed today?

Absolutely, and it’s changing again: TikTok only opens on browsers; I use Instagram in a more selective way, going to search for the content I want to see. I still use Reddit a lot, telling me that it’s better than the others. In general I’m trying to go towards a "healthy" use of these tools, less passive.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da Ecco Silvano Magazine (@eccosilvanomagazine)

The hustle culture and the self made man model are mechanisms that demonize idleness and feed what you call "cronofago capitalism": are they now internalized? How do you fight in everyday life?

I have the perception that there is less talk about self made man, perhaps because in my bubble there is less talk about it. It is undeniable, however, that a part of the narrative glorifies the self-made person, who often goes hand in hand with the work religion. But few people take the time to think about the fact that we live in a system where if you have money in excess you are one step ahead of the others: often the glorified people come from this situation. There is no daily solution but to start to become aware of the phenomenon.

Quiet quitting (working the minimum necessary in the respect of one’s own duties, ed) should be the norm and yet it seems a revolutionary gesture: do we need rules about it?

If you are the latest arrival, it is harder to say no. Obviously, laws are needed, but the fundamental work is the creation of a network of peers, made of small gestures and understanding of the other, that helps to enter a community perspective.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da Freeda (@freeda)

Sometimes the attention to the employee, if there is,  is a facade; it leads to the wellbeing washing: do you think there is the same awareness of the phenomenon, like the green, rainbow and pink?

The case studies are wide: there are companies that unknowingly end up in wellbeing washing; others, medium-sized, who would like to do more but the tax pressure prevents it. On the employee side, the tool for greater awareness is again asking questions: why does the company give me a certain benefit? He has money to pay me more but he’s better off paying me like this?

One last question: what is it and what value does time have for you today?

Something very abstract, that I am trying to understand: something that does not and cannot have an intrinsic economic value, which I am fortunate to have. I know I’m a privileged person.

What about the rest?

Something I’ve always loved, today even more. Something my parents have always protected.



Illustrazione di Gloria Dozio - Acrimònia Studios