Italy's highest court has ruled that hurting male pride is a criminal offence, after hearing a case concerning a row between two cousins, reports the Daily Mail.
The case in question concerned a lawyer, Vittorio and his cousin Alberto, who sits as a Justice of the Peace in the Italian city of Potenza.
Judge Alberto is said to have proclaimed that his lawyer cousin Vittorio had 'no balls' after a heated courtroom argument. Vittorio was so offended that he sued his cousin.
At the first hearing in Taranto the judge dismissed the case as a family quarrel.
However, Vittorio appealed and the case reached Italy's highest court.
Ruling in favour of Vittorio, the judge, Maurizio Fumo said: "Apart from the vulgarity of the term used, the expression definitely also has an injurious quality," reported Italian news agency, ANSA.
"(The phrase) 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," he continued.
The case was deemed particularly serious because the insult was delivered in a public place, in full view of other lawyers and interested parties, and was therefore injurious to the lawyer's reputation.
The judge in the case has now adjourned the hearing to decide the level of compensation owed to Vittorio.
The ruling makes no mention of whether similar insults against women would be treated in the same way.
It is this fact which has caused uproar in Italy amongst women's groups who argue that it is inherently sexist to have a law prohibiting insults against men but not women. The fact that the decision refers specifically to injuring male pride insinuates that women can have no similar pride.