Tuesday, 26 March 2019

The Yes Loitering Project. Inclusive Cities for Teenagers

A team of teenagers from the South Bronx, together with partners from various institutions, investigates youth and public space, i.e., how teenagers are targeted in public spaces and their limited access to spaces (via). The team points out that young people "are not simply forgotten in our cities; they are actively rejected from them." Nuisances, criminal threats, lazy, loud, disrespectful, untrustworthy, and misguided are stereotypes that prevail. Cities react with e.g. anti-loitering ordinances, no trespassing laws, noise rules, dress-codes, skating and rollerblading laws, parental escort policies, customer-only rules, hostile architecture, and auditory deterrents like classical music or the Mosquito (via).

"As a teen in New York, it’s a struggle to find a place to get away to. Our parents’ places are usually not big enough to have a bunch of friends over and it offers no privacy, most of us don’t have front or back yards, and even if we have a shared courtyard or open space in our building, there’s usually a “No Loitering” sign posted there.
One of the first things we did as part of the Yes Loitering project was to walk within a one block radius from where we met near E 168th St and Gerard Ave in the Bronx, and document all the signs we saw that discouraged teens from hanging out, such as signs that said No Loitering, No Sitting, No Ball Playing, No Skating, No Biking, No Loud Music, No Hanging Out, No Trespassing, and No Minors, as well as signs with time limits at restaurants and dress-code signs that prohibited hoodies. These signs were everywhere, from residential buildings, to restaurants, to stores, to schools."
The Yes Loitering Project

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photograph (Hilliard Towers Apartments, architecture by Bertrand Goldberg, 1963, Chicago) via

Friday, 22 March 2019

Miss Honeywell and the Housework Gender Gap

An article from 1990 quoting a "recent" study says that "Swedish men do far more housework - 18 hours a week - then any of their global counterparts" (via). Fast forward to 2018 and things do not seem to have changed much. According to figures published by Eurostat and the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, Sweden is still the country with the smallest gender gap when it comes to housework. There, 74% of women and 56% of men do housework on a regular basis. The average EU figures are 79% of women and 34% of men. Below EU average are countries like Germany with 72% of women and 29% of men doing the housework, Austria with a bigger gap, i.e., 83% of women and 28% of men, and Greece with 85% of women and only 16% of men doing housework on a regular basis (via).

Miss Honeywell "I make someone a good wife"

photograph via

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Happy 1398! Celebrating a Resilient Holiday.

"For thousands of years, Iranians and those influenced by Persian culture have celebrated their new year at the first moment of spring." (via). The holiday dates back to at least 1.700 B.C. and ancient Zoroastrian traditions (via), estimations are in the range of 3.000 years (via).
An important aspect of Nowruz is that it survived Islam. After the revolution in 1979, the government tried to curb the popularity of Nowruz and limit its influence since Iran's most important holiday had no Islamic roots (neither did Iranians) (via). Even before the 1970s, there were attempts to suppress or ban Nowruz, e.g. by Arab invaders in the 7th and 8th century. It "faced the ire of the Arabs on numerous occasions". In Afghanistan, the holiday was forbidden by the Taliban as it was pre-Islamic, hence un-Islamic (via). Nowruz proved to be a resilient holiday and was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (via).

"Norouz has been a bold identification code for being Persian, including all ethnicities within the land. (...) Norouz has been a celebration of early spring, and as Shabazin (2009) asserts, 'Norouz survived because it was so profoundly engrained in Iranian traditions, history, and cultural memory that Iranian identity and Norouz mutually buttressed each other ...'"
Payvar (2015)

Tonight, the equinox will happen at 10:58 p.m.
Here is some information how to celebrate Norouz: LINK

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- Payvar, B. (2015). Space, Culture, and the Youth in Iran. Observing Norm Creation Processes at the Artists's House. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- image via

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Quoting Viktor Frankl

“But today’s society is characterized by achievement orientation, and consequently it adores people who are successful and happy and, in particular, it adores the young. It virtually ignores the value of all those who are otherwise, and in so doing blurs the decisive difference between being valuable in the sense of dignity and being valuable in the sense of usefulness. If one is not cognizant of this difference and holds that an individual’s value stems only from his present usefulness, then, believe me, one owes it only to personal inconsistency not to plead for euthanasia along the lines of Hitler’s program, that is to say, ‘mercy’ killing of all those who have lost their social usefulness, be it because of old age, incurable illness, mental deterioration, or whatever handicap they may suffer. Confounding the dignity of man with mere usefulness arises from conceptual confusion that in turn may be traced back to the contemporary nihilism transmitted on many an academic campus and many an analytical couch.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Viktor Emil Frankl (1905-1997) was an Austrian psychiatrist, neurologist, and the founder of logotherapy and existentialism. After the "Anschluss" in 1938, Frankl was no longer allowed to treat "Arian" patients. In 1941, he married Tilly Grosser who was forced to abort their child and deported to Ghetto Theresienstadt in 1942. Frankl's father died in the ghetto in 1943, his brother was killed in Auschwitz where his 65-year-old mother was immediately murdered in the gas chamber. His wife died in the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen aged 24. Frankl was transported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, then to another concentration camp and in March 1945 to Dachau where he was liberated in April 1945 by US-American troops. After all these experiences Frankl published his book "Trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager" (literally "Nevertheless, say yes to life") known in English by the title "Man's Search for Meaning" in 1946 (via and via).
In the last camp he comes down with typhoid fever. To avoid fatal collapse during the nights he keeps himself awake by reconstructing his book manuscript on slips of paper stolen from the camp office. On April 27 the camp is liberated by U.S. troops. In August Frankl returns to Vienna, where he learns, within a span of a few days, about the death of his wife, his mother and his brother who has been murdered in Auschwitz together with his wife.
Viktor Frankl Institut
“From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two—the “race” of the decent man and the “race” of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people. In this sense, no group is of “pure race”—and therefore one occasionally found a decent fellow among the camp guards.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

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photograph via

Saturday, 16 March 2019

"Too Ugly to be Raped." Turning Rape into a Privilege.

In March 2015, a young man raped a 22-year old woman, his friend kept watch. The men were sentenced to three and five years prison in the first trial in 2016. The Court of Appeal in Ancona - consisting of three female judges - recently decided that the woman was too ugly to be raped. After all, the man had stated that he hadn't even been attracted to her, had saved her phone number under the name "Vikingo" which underlined the fact that her appearance was rather masculine. A victim's photograph was shown as evidence; the photograph the judges had drawn their conclusions from. The female judges called the victim a "the clever Peruvian" who looked too masculine to be raped, who may have "organised" the whole evening and provoked the young man who possibly saw having sex with a masculine woman only as a sort of challenge. She was too ugly to be raped, her story was not credible.

The woman has left Italy and moved back to Peru (via). An "Italian problem"? According to estimations, 94% to 98% of rapists go free in the U.S. (via).
“The worst thing is the cultural message that came from three female judges who acquitted these two men because they decided that it was improbable that they would want to rape someone who looked masculine.”
Luisa Rizzitelli
People protested immediately, politician Valeria Valente called the decision an extremely dangerous one that would throw the country back many years, the language chosen by the judges would harm the victim and send out a wrong message to younger generations, a great many associations said it was a disgrace. The case will be reheard (via).

"She’s not my type. I would never rape her. I’m not a rapist, but if I were, I wouldn’t rape her because she doesn’t deserve it." Jair Bolsonaro, 38th President of Brazil
In 2014, shadow cabinet leader at East Hampshire District Council commented on Facebook that Serena Bowes, at the time a 21-year-old student who alleged she had been attacked in an Italian nightclub, was too ugly to be raped: "Not sure anyone would want to even think about it looking at her." (via). Female lawyers are groped in court and told that they are "too ugly to rape" (via). The list can be easily continued...
In a recent interview with New York radio station Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club”, Damon Wayans went on a misogynistic rant in defense of Bill Cosby. In his rant, Wayans said that many of Bill Cosby’s accusers were seeking money and exploitation of Cosby’s career. Wayans was relentless in his attempt to invalidate their claims of rape and sexual assault regardless of the fact that over 45 women have come forward with frighteningly similar accounts of their trauma. He even went on to say, “Some of them, really, is unrapeable. I look at them and go, ‘No, he don’t want that. Get outta here!’”
Ashleigh Shackelford
I was raped when I was 18 by a man who subsequently told me that I should feel grateful that anyone would want to touch me. “You should feel so lucky, you fat bitch,” he said. I never told anyone because why would anyone believe that a fat Black girl like me could be assaulted, when my own attacker made sure to mention that I was fortunate to even be considered for such violence. My attacker made sure to remind me that rape is a badge of honor that only worthy women can wear and that I was lucky to be chosen.(...)
Popular culture and media forms reinforce the standards of beauty to be whiteness, thinness, cisgender identity, heteronormative sexuality, and having an able body. Anyone else who does not fit within these identities has deviated from these unrealistic expectations and is subject to be seen as “ugly” and therefore unrapeable according to our society and folks like Damon Wayans. If the face of victimhood for sexual assault is a thin, white, cisgender, heterosexual woman, what does that mean for everyone else? What does that mean for transwomen? What does that mean for fat folks? What does that mean for gender nonconforming folks, men, and children? What does that mean for people of color? What does that mean for folks who identity as queer? What does that mean for people with disabilities? What does that mean for folks who identify with more than one of these identities?

Ashleigh Shackelford
Rape is not a flattering compliment, it is not a privilege. It is a crime. And the notion that women are raped because they are beautiful, stating that rape is just giving them positive feedback is a sick and sickening part of rape culture. Rape myths (e.g. rape is just another form of sex, all women secretly desire to be raped and enjoy it, women ask for it by the way they dress and behave, women could avoid rape if they really wanted to, etc.) "serve to objectify women, minimilize women's value as human beings, and personally and socially control women's sexuality". They "create a hostile environment for rape victims at individual and societal levels" which affects reactions of friends and family members but also of criminal justice professionals who may assign responsibility to victims (Suzuki 2014). Rape has been used as a weapon of war for centuries (e.g. during the three months of genocide, 100.000 to 200.000 women were raped in Rwanda) (via and via). Rape is used to control, to punish, to harm, and to kill women. It is no privilege. It is a crime.

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- Suzuki, Y. E. (2014). Rape: Theories. ResearchGate
- photographs by Charles H. Traub (1980s, Italy) via

Thursday, 14 March 2019

"a big advantage for women." Monica Vitti (1971)

"What do you think about divorce?"
"It is one of the most sacred things, a big advantage for women."

"And about unmarried women who want to have or do have a child?"
"I completely approve of women who are mothers without being married." 
Rome, 21 November 1971

Monica Vitti is one of the most popular Italian actresses; she received a great many awards. Alzheimer's Disease "removed her from the public gaze" in the 1990s (via).

- Costantini, C. (1997). Le Regine del Cinema. Roma: Gremese Editore; page 185
- photographs via and via and via

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Mina, Unmarried Couples, Illegitimate Children, Divorce, and the Parental Alienation Syndrome

Mina (Anna Maria Mazzini) is an Italian singer, "known for her three-octave vocal range, the agility of her soprano voice, and her image as an emancipated woman" (via).

In the early 1960s, Mina was banned from TV and radio in Catholic Italy for two years because of her relationship with Corrado Pani, a married actor (who had been separated from his wife, divorce was not yet possible) and their son born out of wedlock. Her record sales, however, were not affected by the ban and the Italian public broadcasting service RAI had to end the ban due to public demand (via). In 1963, their son Massimiliano was born. They could, however, not live together as a family as this would have meant breaking the law against concubinage and risking two years in prison (via).
"After the ban, the public broadcasting service RAI tried to continue to prohibit her songs, which were forthright in dealing with subjects such as religion, smoking and sex. Mina's cool act combined sex appeal with public smoking, dyed blonde hair, and shaved eyebrows to create a "bad girl" image." Wikipedia
Divorce was finally legalised in Italy in 1970 (via). Fast forward a couple of decades, and Italy's government wants to introduce divorce law reforms that are seen as a threat to women's rights, autonomy, and emancipation, and have been criticised by the United Nations. The bill was proposed by conservative senator Pillon of the "hardline anti-immigration party" Lega, a man who also happens to be against gay marriage, same-sex parents and abortion, and a mediator. The bill requires all couples wanting a divorce with children to use a professional mediator (via). Pillon is one of the organisers of "Family Day", an anti-gay event that takes place every year and campaigns against the so-called "gay lobby". Pillon's next step will be "proposing a law that would punish women who accuse their husbands of domestic violence if the husbands are not convicted" and to make abortion illegal (via). With the bill, he says, he only thinks of the child, adding: "Away with maintenance cheques, away with the ideological battle of women against men." (via).

"In Italy’s conservative society, less than 50 percent of women work outside of the home, and most of the burden of child-rearing falls upon mothers. Because women with children struggle to find stable employment, critics argue that the abolition of child support would raise the poverty rate among divorced mothers and could make them unable to provide for their children. Critics fear that the bill could encourage women to stay in abusive marriages rather than opting for a divorce with no child support.
The proposed law also endorses the disputed notion of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a term first coined in the 1980s by American psychiatrist Richard Gardner. PAS holds that a parent can belittle or bad-mouth the other parent to the point that their child becomes hostile and no longer wants to spend time with them. But PAS is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and the American Psychological Association has “no official position” on whether the syndrome is real, citing a lack of evidence that supports its existence.
Critics worry that claims of PAS could be used to strip custody from mothers or even be used in court to deflect attention from abusive parents. Evidence from the United States also suggests that PAS has been disproportionately used against women: According to a 2017 examination of 238 U.S. court cases involving alienation claims, fathers not only made the vast majority of alienation claims but also won their cases at a much higher rate than women making claims against men.
“Fathers who alleged alienation were more than twice as likely to receive a custody outcome in their favor as mothers who alleged alienation,” read the paper, which was published in Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice, a law journal at the University of Minnesota Law School."
Anna Momigliano

“If a child says ‘I do not want to see my father, I am worried’, they will immediately analyse the mother for alienation syndrome and if the judge thinks they have been manipulated [the children] go to another family,” Ms Pirrone said.
All over the world, it has been proved it is a constructed syndrome – lots of psychologists say it is not scientific and now it is set to be in law.
It creates this prejudice against the mother and it is clear it will disregard domestic violence because the judges are forced to follow certain procedures and rules as this law is very strict. It means judges can’t do their job properly. They recognise that after 30 years domestic violence is being viewed as a serious issue and they are trying to push it back into the silence with a very threatening law.
This law is not even trying to hide its intent. It is against women. He has a very clear ideology and this is a very ideological law. It is punishing the woman and it is pushing them back into a very dependent situation where they are not able to take autonomous decisions or get away from a bad situation.”
Maya Oppenheim

Mina on YouTube:

::: Parole, Parole: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Io vivrò senza te (1972): WATCH/LISTEN
::: C'è più samba: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Non credere (1969): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Un bacio è troppo poco: WATCH/LISTEN
::: L'ultima occasione: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Conversazione: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Se c'è una cosa che mi fa impazzire: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Sono come tu mi vuoi: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Se telefonando: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Mai così: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Città vuota: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Fly me to the moon: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Mi sei scoppiato dentro al cuore: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Non credere (1970): WATCH/LISTEN
::: L'immensità: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Something: LISTEN
::: Un colpo al cuore (1970): WATCH/LISTEN and (1968): WATCH/LISTEN
::: La banda: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Non illuderti: WATCH/LISTEN

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photographs via and via and via

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Raffaella Carrà. A Tribute to One of the Greatest Superstars.

Raffaella Maria Pelloni, known as Raffaella Carrà, is an Italian dancer, singer, actress, and TV presenter. She is very famous in Italy and Spain, and popular in many South American countries (via).

Raffaella Carrà has been regarded as a so-called gay icon for decades. In 1970, she started receiving letters from young men writing her that they were devastated because of their families lacking understanding and tolerance, that they were even considering committing suicide. At that time, Carrà did not yet understand their situation until someone explained it to her. Carrà turned into an outspoken ally and has been one ever since (via). She says that she does not know what exactly turned her into a gay icon (via) but that does not keep her from supporting equality.

More Rafaella Carrà on YouTube:

::: Rumore (smashing version): WATCH/LISTEN, (Chile, 1979): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Ma che sera (1974): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Scordalo ragazzo mio (1974): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Male (1976): WATCH/LISTEN
::: A far l'amore comincia tu: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Chissà chi sei (1971): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Radio City Boogie (1974): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Superman (1974): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Tuca Tuca (1971): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Susy Wong (1974): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Mesmerisingly beautiful choreography with Carrà afterwards (1971): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Felicità: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Punto e basta Show, various songs (1975): WATCH/LISTEN
::: Oggi io sono felice: WATCH/LISTEN
::: Maga Maghella (1971): WATCH/LISTEN

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photographs taken in 1971 via and via

Friday, 8 March 2019

"the time seems to have come for happy changes in conditions of women"

“Women’s problems have now for the first time in history to be studied internationally as such and to be given the social importance they ought to have. And it would be, in the opinion of this Sub-Commission of experts in this field, a tragedy to spoil this unique opportunity by confusing the wish and the facts. Some situations can be changed by laws, education, and public opinion, and the time seems to have come for happy changes in conditions of women all over the world (…).”
Bodil Begtrup (1946)

Begrop was the first Chairperson of the Sub-Commission dedicated to the Status of Women (which became the Commission on the Status of Women), established under the Commission on Human Rights.

Happy International Women's Day (with happy changes)!

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photograph via

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

"If you have too much education, your mind's stimulated too much."

"Toni, why don't you think that education's a good thing for married women?"
"Well, I think too much higher education makes them very unhappy and very frustrated."
"Oh, why unhappy?"
"Well, there they are at home, cooking meals, running a house."
"Oh, but still you get a certain amount of satisfaction out of that.(...)"
"You should be contented to stay home. If you have too much education, your mind's stimulated too much, you're not happy to stay home all time."

"I really enjoyed it (education)."
"But what about the average woman who has been to university? She marries, and has children, and she stays home, or she should stay home. She'd be happier if she stayed home probably."
"Well, supposing you start having babies when you're 20 and you're free by the time you're 45?"
"Well, then you can do a university course then."
"Oh, you wouldn't be bothered when you were that age!"
"Well, then doesn't that just show how useless it is?"

- photograph via, description (via BackintheUSA on g+) "New Rochelle, NY, 1955 A nice domestic scene with his wife and kids. Erwitt's son Misha interviewed him about this photo: Misha: You took a photograph in 1955 of our mother cooking dinner, her back to the camera. She has Ellen, who’s crying, in one arm and she’s reaching into the oven with the other. I 'm sitting behind them in a high chair and there’s another kid standing, watching."
- text from the clip "Is education a waste of time for married women?", ABC News, 1961