Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

Immigrant child

I love summer. The sun, the flowers that make the air smell so beautiful, the long days, the happy people. The good memories I made as a child spending every summer in Italy with my Italian family, playing in the streets until late at night is still a vivid part of my life. As a child, I spend every summer in Italy. As soon as school was out my dad and I took the train to Bari, which is in South Italy. It was the longest train ride ever. The train was full with Italians and all the stuff they took home to their families. Even today, I believe that every Italian who lived in Germany took the train home for the summer. This was not one of these modern ICE (fast) trains, no it was one of these old trains that had several compartments in one wagon, and each compartment fit six people. Even though, I did not particularly like the train ride I was never bored. There were always enough kids to hang out with.
The train ride suppose to take 24 hours from Bensheim/Germany to Bari/Italy. While in Germany, the train was always on time. But once the train crossed that Italian border it was delayed, and I am not talking 5 minutes late more like 5 hours late.
Eventually, we made it to Bari and at the train station the whole family waited to greet us. It was a loud and happy welcome just like in Italian movies. And because so many of the family members came to the station, the car ride back to my dad’s hometown was always uncomfortable. I was squeezed in the back seat between my cousins and the luggage was squeezed between us. I could hardly breath it was so tight, but I sure was happy.
Each year when we first arrived at the street where my family lived, I saw Nonna (my dads mom) sitting on a chair in front of her house making pasta. She was often outside, sitting on a woven chair on the sidewalk with the neighbor women working, talking, and laughing. As long as I remember, her hair was white and pulled back in a tiny bun. He name was Brudencia, she never spoke much to me (probably because of my lack of Italian) but I had great respect. But do not get the wrong idea, she was not the quiet type, more the loud-yelling, everyone listening- still very kind type. And even when she was in her nineties and her body showed signs of severe aging her voice and mouth was still in her mid twenties.
When Nonna was not outside she was in the kitchen preparing food. On a large wooden board she made the worlds best Cavatelli Pugliese, a local pasta. On the board she rolled the pasta dough into a one cm thick snake then cut a tiny piece of and rolled it over her thump. Of course she repeated that step many times to make enough pasta for everyone.
Nonna always had the girls of the family help in the kitchen, and all of the meals were made from scratch and it took hours of hard work to prepare food. When I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still smell all the delicious foods; see the table set up; my whole family sitting, eating and laughing around the table. Sometimes for dessert my dad cut up a juicy, fresh peach in little bite size pieces and put it in a glass and poured red wine over it. I was aloud to eat the peach that was soaked full of wine and tasted like sunshine. But, I was not allowed to drink the wine, not even a zip!
Once a week Nonna and I went to the local farmers market where she bought all kinds of seasonal foods: fish, fruits, veggies, and my favorite Italian salami. For breakfast, I often ate a slice of thick Italian bread and a slice of the world's best salami. I recall asking my dad why he did not buy some of that yummy salami to take back home, he answered he could not. It would take several more years before I learned why not. The salami was illegal in Germany! No, I am not kidding. But let me start from the beginning. During one of these Italian summers, I must have been 15 years old, Nonna sent me to the farmer’s market to get a couple of things she needed. I walked to the market where they sell the salami, and while I stood in line I read the label that was in front of the delicious salami. Salame di Cavallo stood there on the sign!!! For all those who do not speak Italian, it means HORSE SALAMI!!! First I felt shocked and then my mind sent me into a different dimension of disgust. I almost threw up! My stomach turned in ways I did not know was possible. Instantly, I turned around and ran back to Nonna’s house, where I found my dad in front of the house having an espresso. After telling him what I just read he laughed out loud so loud that the neighbor came out to see what was going on. Between his laughing my dad muttered: “so what…. it is meat.” I replied no, it is horse! He laughed horse, cow what’s the difference? Even then I knew it was just a rhetorical question.
Now as an adult, I understand his point. It was the food of his culture, of his home. They ate horse and it was normal. I still do not agree, but I understand. Back then, I felt sick for days. It took me a while to eat the normal kind of salami again, but even today I have a somewhat disturbed relationship with salami.
4127 x

Montag, 6. März 2017

Being different

The fact that I was raised by my dad and not my mother was such a big deal in my life! My parents got a divorce when I was six and my mother married again (three times altogether, men from three different nations and omg was I ashamed of this). Over the years my mom had two more girls.
That I always lived with my dad, not mom, was perceived as strange by many. I cannot recall how often people had asked me if my mom passed away, and their surprise when I answered no. In their minds they could not comprehend the fact that a man is raising a child by himself. Growing up with my dad was not problematic for me, but I always perceived it as something that made me different from others. All my friends, either had both parents or lived with their mom, but I was different because I had “only” a dad. My mom who lived far away was not very often in the picture. And if this alone would have not been strange enough, my dad was an Italian guest worker, who came to Germany in the late 60’s and who listened to cantautori music. Music that was politically inspired and often focused on such things as marginalization of people. The first song I learned as a child was bella ciao. A song that is often sung in revolutions. My dad, who never got remarried, and according to many of my friends was a bit strange, but not as strange as the things we ate, at least when compared to what my German friends ate at home. My dad, a fantastic cook, used olive oil before it became popular, my favorite dishes were antipasto and not as many expected Spaghetti with tomato sauce. I never ate these typical German foods such as Rouladen, and Goulash etc. Most of my summers were spent in Italy, or with my mom and my two sisters (a German, and a Moroccan).
My dad had friends from all different cultures and many evenings they got together and cooked and talked and had fund. At the time, I felt that life is unfair because everyone was normal only I was not! I felt that I had strange parents, strange life circumstances, half sisters, a dad who spoke Italian, cooked strange, and acted strange. But all I wanted was to be like all my German friends, who spoke German, ate German food, had normal siblings not half ones, and acted German. It took me years to see that my beautiful, strange upbringing would open my mind and heightened my awareness for other cultures.
1021 x

Montag, 8. Dezember 2014

My Scale

There are a few heartaches that ice cream cannot fix but that is what we have tears for they will wash everything away. There are days when I open my hands to help and end up with bruises; days when I try to fly and the people I want to save are the ones standing on my cape; there are days when I get in trouble for telling the truth. But these are the days when I have even more reason to say I love. Because there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it is sent away.

I know that on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am to damn naive. But I want you to know that this life is made out of sugar. It crumbles easily, but do not be afraid to taste it again because it will still taste sweet. I am a worrier and a warrior, but I am also the girl with small hands and big eyes who will never stop asking for more. I will always apologize when I have done wrong, but I will never apologize for the way my heart refuses to stop loving. And when I get another heartache, and you slip war and hate under my door and offer me only handouts on street-corners of cynicism and defeat, I will tell you again how much I love you.
1452 x

Mittwoch, 12. November 2014

I am

When I fall in love,
it is discovering the ocean after years of puddle jumping.
It is realizing I have hands.
It is reaching for the tightrope after the crowds have all gone home.
I do not spend time wondering if I am the type of woman men will hurt.
If he leaves me with a car alarm heart.
I will learn to sing along.
It is hard to stop loving the ocean,
even after it has left you gasping, salty.
So I will forgive myself for the decisions I have made,
The ones I still call mistakes when I tuck them in at night,
And I know ...
I know I am the type of woman who is searching for a place to call mine.
Let the statues crumble.
I have always been that place.
I am a woman who can create it myself.
I am born to create.
1278 x

Donnerstag, 4. September 2014

Amandla the power of Music

You know how it feels when you hear a song that reminds you of a special someone, your emotions go wild and your memories are on express recall. Music is freaking personal and at times overwhelming. Imagine how it feels when your life depends on music. During the Apartheid regime in South Africa people used music to hold onto their hope, for a better life

For most of us, Apartheid is only part of history class, taught from a political point of view. This approach does not reflect the struggle black South-African's experienced during Apartheid, nor does anyone today can relate to it. So why not use music to tell the story!
Amandla (Zulu for Power), a documentary, connects the historic facts to real people and the important role music played during the struggles of black African's with the Apartheid regime.

The stories of revolution songs, footage of marches, interviews with young revolutionaries, and their experience and fears were mind blowing. I can relate, and therefore understand what it must have felt like. I can related and therefore understand how music was used to channel emotions and fears. Amandla tells the story from the peoples eyes. A story about music that throws the obvious in your face: how important the culture of music is to bring on social change.

Without culture a person could barley survive, and music is part of any culture. Music has the power to change your mood it makes you feel damn good, or freaking sad. Music shows your pride. Music is part of understanding cultural heritage. Music forwards ideas and ideals. Music brings people together. Music communicates, creates, and cooperates.

Understanding the Amandla of music, explains why so many oppressed groups use music as an instrument to confront realities, to fight back. The power music and lyrics hold, shows how fundamental important culture is to peoples identity. To understand music helps to see why South African Liberation Movement used music as a weapon to fight against Apartheid: ”Song is something that would communicate with people who otherwise would have not understood were we were coming from. Or you could give them a long political speech and they still wouldn’t understand, but I tell you if you finish that song people would be damn I know where you guys are coming from.” All people understand the language of music.

Even the French Revolution was driven by music, no other revolution led to so much drastically social change. Peasants, sick of their miserable life, wanted change. They fought for a new kind of society, an equal society. The none-aristocratic leaders of the French Revolution took music seriously because they knew it is a powerful tool to change the way people think and feel. In 1795, a school was founded to train bands for the new army, the National Guard. Laws were passed forcing the French people to sing republican hymns in theaters before plays were performed. Composers were encouraged to write revolutionary songs and within ten years more than a thousand songs were written. The most famous of them is Le Marseillaise, which today is know as the French national anthem. The same principle was used during Apartheid. Liberation Movement leaders used music to help connect people for the cause of social change.

Even the recent revolution in Egypt was fueled by music. A revolution that forced Egypt’s leader Mubarak to resign his position. The events in Egypt were just one part of the revolutionary actions of the Arab Spring that swept through Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere. The protesters in Egypt also used songs as a tool. Musician Ramy Essam, who played in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo during the protest, wrote the song Leave, which was inspired by the slogans and chants that were shouted by the people around the Square:

“We are all united as one,
And what we ask for,
Is just one thing: Leave! Leave!
Down, down Husni Mubarak!
The people demand: Bring down the regime!
He is going away. We are not going anywhere!
We are all united as one,
And what we ask for, Is just one thing: Leave! Leave! Leave!”

All Freedom Songs captured the frustration, anger, and hope of the countries they originated in, just like the songs during Apartheid captured the frustration, anger, and hope of oppressed South Africans. So next time you listen to music feel the Amandla music has, and the impact that comes with such great power to change a society.

Watch Amandla here or if you have a HULU account watch it there.
1433 x

Donnerstag, 3. Februar 2011

Prostitutes in Style

In today’s and in historical societies clothing is and was an important aspect of visual communication. Clothing has the power to express wealth, rank, power, feelings, and believes. It differs between the sexes and reflects norms and values. The fashion sense of any society involves sexuality, signs, rituals, hygiene, and the law. Furthermore, clothing embodies social class, which is important to a society’s sense of itself. It is impossible, to look at the history of any costume related topic without coming across sumptuary laws. According to the dictionary, "sumptuary laws were a set of laws that prevented extravagance in private life by limiting expenditure for clothing, food and furniture." This paper focuses on sumptuary laws in regards to clothing only. Laws that regulated clothing were enforced in every known time period. One could even argue that today’s uniform requirements are the sumptuary laws of the twenty-first century. In some career fields uniforms are necessary to identify ones occupation, for instance a nurse. Furthermore, uniforms are used to emphasize authority such as police uniforms. In the past, sumptuary laws were enforced to regulate habits of consumption, and to regulate and reinforce social hierarchies. Throughout times, societies have used sumptuary laws for a variety of purposes. Clothing restrictions attempted to regulate social rank, but were mostly used for social discrimination. Female dress, suppose to indicate women’s social status, and morality. In an effort to distinguish the honorable women from the prostitutes, specific sumptuary laws were enforced.
Some of the ancient sumtuary regulations still effect women of today. For instance: the tramp stamp, a term referring to a tattoo some women, nowadays, have on their lower back. The tramp stamp also identified ancient Egyptian women as prostitutes. Several mummies of dancers and concubines have been found with geometric designs tattooed on their bodies. Amunet the goddess of love, an Egyptian Mummy, was found inked up with parallel lines that graced her arms, thighs, and her navel (Sherrow250). It is interesting to see that such an old fashion trend made it onto the lower backs of so many of today's modern women. If they were aware that ancient prostitutes wore tattoos to present their occupation, I bet, there be a lot of less tramp stamps. The ancient Greece prostitute used a less permanent way to get customers attention. Those liberated Greek women wore shoes and/or clothing imprinted with messages. Some prostitutes wore sandals that had the words follow me, with small metal studs, inscribed on the bottom of the shoes.These sandals left impressions in the unpaved earth and for that reason prostitutes became known as Streetwalkers.greek-prostitute The Greek writer Asclepiades writes of a prostitute named Hermione who wore a girdle embroidered with, "Love me always, but do not be jealous if others do as you do”(Vern38). In Athen, prostitutes used temporary body modifications to enhance their facial and body features as in stuffing their shoes with cork to appear taller, or use bustles to increase the size of their hips and breasts. Today’s women use wonder-bra’s to make their bosom look larger. That being said, it is safe to say that no woman in the western hemisphere will pad her hips to make them appear bigger. Here is an interesting thought" I am pretty sure no ancient prostitute would starve herself to death to be super-skinny either! Ancient prostitutes used a lot of make-up and layers of white lead, a lot of rouge, and soot to emphasize eyebrows. The effect was that prostitutes were easier to spot due to the fact that respectable Greek woman refused to paint their faces because they promoted a more natural looking face (Sherrow250). There, where not many sumptuary laws in ancient Greece, and the few the greeks had were not enforced. For instance, prostitutes had to dye their hair blond, which they did anyway, so they could distinguish themselves further from a boring housewife.
Even though prostitutes in ancient Rome played an equal important role in society, they never reached the social heights of the divine like Greek prostitute called Heritea. Prostitutes in ancient Rome had a unique style as well so potential customers would recognize them for what they are and pay good money for their service. This form of self presentation was considered an art, called artes meretriciae. Artes meretriciae was passed on from prostitute to prostitute and it covered social rules, sumptuary laws, safety measures, and beauty-advise. While, respectful roman woman were not permitted to wear anything sexy while walking the streets of Rome, for prostitutes it was a necessity to dress seductive to engage men. Clothing regulations were first introduced to Rome in the form of a flame-colored toga. As a result, prostitutes emphasized brighter colors to further distinguish themselves from matrons. The prostitute’s toga had to be short, like a man’s toga, “she was denied the use of purple, sandals, and flowered cloth, and could not put up her hair the way the Roman matrons,” did (Ringdale 93). There is no source that specifically talks about what kind of female hairstyles men preferred during ancient times, but today’s men like women with their hair down. Again, the costume restrictions worked not against but in favor of the prostitute. However, these clothing regulations gradually relaxed and “some of the more popular courtesans became the fashion leaders of Rome,”which led to an increase in even more sumptuary laws (Vern55). New restrictions required liberated women to identify themselves by wearing a blonde wig, or dye their hair blond, but again the rule backfired, as it happened in the case of Empress Messalina. Messalina was the wife of Roman Emperor Claudius, and she was always looking for extra attention. She was rumored to sneak out to Rome’s red light district, to spice up her life, hidden beneath a blonde wig. Some nights she returned home without her wig, only to have it disgracefully returned the next day. Eventually Messalina's night adventures left her blonde head a tad shorter because after she seduced Roman Senator Gaius, Messalina’s husband had enough and ordered her death (Pitman26-28).
The late middle ages in Europe created even more dilemma, especially in regards to sumptuary laws for prostitutes. Every city had different costume restrictions, there were so many different laws that one could not know them all. For instance; Zurich, Switzerland in 1319 prostitutes had to wear a red cap; Mainz, Germany in 1403 prostitutes were forbidden to wear belts and veils; Vienna, Austria, fourteenth Century prostitutes had to wear a yellow cloth under their arm, and they were not allowed to wear silk or fur; 1417 in Basel, Switzerland prostitutes had to wear a had with yellow balls on it; and in Hamburg, Germany they had to wear a red hat with very large wings on each side. These hats wear so large that even in a crowd a man could easily spot the "unrespectable woman." On the image,Lustgrotteguides (“Huren Tour”) one can see replications of a typical outfit worn by prostitutes in Hamburg during the late middle ages. The purpose of these restriction where to spot a prostitute quicker so one could discriminate against her, but in reality it helped potential customers to find a prostitute quicker. Either way, it worked for both parties. However, compared to other historical liberated women, during different time periods, prostitutes in the middle ages could not rise in class and become as popular as a Greek Hetaera. Prostitutes during the dark ages were for the most part restricted to certain areas and where not allowed to wear any luxury items. “In Bristol, England the hoods of prostitutes had to be made with a striped fur, different from the type worn by respectable women” (Vern124). In England, “the city of London, for example, specifically forbade prostitutes from ‘parading’ anywhere except in certain regulated districts,” and those women who did were thrown out of the city (Vern125). Laws banning prostitutes to brothels in designated areas, to prevent these women from rising in class. Every metropolitan area in Europe required prostitutes to live in a certain section of town and confined them in their activities. Most prostitutes lived in brothels, and if a prostitute serviced a customer outside that location she was confined to special quarters. Prostitutes who lived “in these quarters, wore clothes specified items such as armbands or other attire to distinguished them from respectable society matrons” (Vern 125).
Sumptuary laws during the Renaissance were, for the most part, ignored by upper class gigololas. The only prostitutes that followed these restrictions where the lower class. In Piedmonth, prostitues had to decorate their hats with horns. 1490 in Bergamo, prostitutes had to wear a colored scarf. In Florence, prostitutes were required to wear gloves, bells on their hats and high heels. In Milan, prostitutes were required to wear white in 1492, black in 1498, and white again in 1541. An again, prostitutes had to dye their hair blond or wear blond wigs. (Killerby 113- 131) One can see how all this different regulations can be confusing, and how much money it took to keep the Cortigianas costume up to regulations. Today’s women, find inspiration and fashionable dresses in fashion magazines like the Vogue, but during the Renaissance prostitutes were the fashion trendsetters and clothing restrictions had little to no effect. The fifteenth century Italy was the golden age for courtesans. Wealthy courtesans rode through the streets of Rome throwing golden eggs to their admirers. Rome was not the only city where prostitution was a respectable profession.220px-Sanzio-_Raffaelo_-_Dama_con_Liocorno_-_1506 The "ruling" Cortigianes of Venice became celebrated for their classical beauty, their conversational skills, and their intelligence. Estimates vary, but it is said that there were around 11,000 prostitutes servicing 300,000 venetian residents. With so many courtesans, it was tough for a man to tell the difference between a puttana and a married woman. The puttana, a lower class prostitute, was usually easier to spot. Some dressed like men wearing codpieces, and others wore dresses cut so low that it revealed more then it covered up. But most incredible of all, Venetian prostitutes wore shoes that would have intimidated Alexander McQueen. The Venetian Chopines, platform shoes, which were made of wood and elevated the wearer as much as a foot or more of the ground. One can imagine that it must have been difficult to cross an unpaved road without the assistance of helpers. Prostitutes dressed so fashionable that it was difficult to tell the difference between them and an upper class woman which caused major issue, not just in Venice, all of Italy. Especially, when the prostitutes attended Sunday mass, the fashion runway of the Renaissance. Compare to respectable women the costumes of courtesans were extremely luxurious. Their dresses were made of silk brocade and were often lined with gold or silver cloth. Most of the prostitutes received costly gifts of clothing or jewelry from their admirers. Their spending on lavish costumes was a habit, which led to visual attention, and demonstrated their possession of wealth. (Griffin 98-101) Consequently, respectable women got furious that liberated women twinkled brighter then Christmas trees and new sumptuary laws were passed in an attempt to control prostitutes. These new restrictions forbid prostitutes to wear any jewelry or shiny fabric, for instance: silk, or fur. Additionally, Florence’ prostitutes were forced to wear a veil with a yellow stripe on it known as “the whore’s mirror” (Leon 110). The result was the opposite of what was intended, and prostitutes where even easier to spot in the crowd. Anyway, most courtesans just ignored the many clothing restrictions, or called in favors to get exemptions to dress as they pleased. However, costume laws persisted and new ways were found for prostitutes to show how fashionable they are. In the early seventeenth century, costume books appeared showing prints of courtesans. One of the first examples of this early fusion of sex and fashion was the Miroir. In the foreword, Crispijn de Passe states that the book is meant as a fashion guide for the stay at home mother. The author apologizes for using courtesans as his subject matter, but he writes that prostitutes simply adopt new fashion much quicker (Rare books).
Throughout historic times sumptuary laws showed little to no effect. In most time periods clothing regulations worked against their intended prupose. In ancient times prostitutes where so high valued that nothing could stop them from earning respect and power. As a matter of fact, sumptuary laws often helped support the oldest profession of the world because the laws helped liberated women to got even more attention from potential customers. The use of bright colors had a positive effect, the hues were much better to recognize. It was always the same colors that regulate fashion of liberated women. Most of these restrictions where emphasizing woman’s attributes, and therefore helped the ancient olf business to flurish. Furthermore, due to the obvious paradox effect sumptuary laws had on social classes, one can conclude that these laws were created to paint the picture of a good moral world, when in fact such a world never existed. During the Renaissance sumptuary laws may have controlled the lower class street whore but never the life of an upper class cortigiana. Another attribute, worth mentioning is the trend that sumptuary laws have created. Many times, sumptuary laws required prostitutes to either dye their hair blond, or to wear a blond wig. People of both sexes have always been attracted to blond hair. It is interesting to see that the association of blonde hair with sexual allure has held over so many years, even today Blonds are being seen as seductive.

PLEASE NOTE: The blog counter shows me that many of my visitors who are looking at this paper use IP-addresses that trace back to universities. Therefore, I can assume most of the people interested in this article are students. That being said, for you own good, do not plagiarize this research paper because it has been uploaded to and to several similar pages. The chances that you get caught for copying my work is pretty high. I would suggest you use my paper as an inspiration and build up on it. Also, I would be delighted to read about your research on the topic, so email your paper to me, maybe I can give you some additional ideas. My email is: ;-)

Further readings:
Bullough, Vern L., and Bonnie Bullough. Women and Prostitution: a Social History. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1987. Print.
Faraone, Christopher A., and Laura McClure. Prostitutes and Courtesans in the Ancient World. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 2006.
Griffin, Susan. The Book of the Courtesans: a Catalogue of Their Virtues. New York: Broadway, 2002. Print.
Killerby, Catherine Kovesi. Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500. Oxford: Clarendon, 2002.Print.
"Passe the Younger, Crispijn De."Forum Rare Books|Home. Web. 02 Dec. 2010.
Pitman, Joanna. On Blondes. New York: Bloomsbury, 2003.Print.
Ringdal, Nils Johan. Love for Sale: a World History of Prostitution. New York: Grove, 2004. Print.
"Shoe of the Month Podcast: Chopine." Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Mar. 2009. Web. 02 Dec. 2010.
10272 x

Mittwoch, 6. Mai 2009

Deutsches Blut nicht willkommen in Ami Land

Da meldet Frau sich freiwillig zur Blutspende und dann so was. Man will mein Blut nicht!
Da ich aus Deutschland kommen oder genauer gesagt aus Europa und mich dort aufhielt als diese Krankheit ausbrach!

Gut das ich nicht mehr in Europa bin bei all den verseuchten vier und zwei-Beiner ;-)
1735 x

last post

Being different
The fact that I was raised by my dad and not my mother...
anna25bell - 5. Okt, 10:31
Immigrant child
I love summer. The sun, the flowers that make the air...
anna25bell - 5. Okt, 10:30
My Scale
There are a few heartaches that ice cream cannot fix...
anna25bell - 8. Dez, 23:51
I am
When I fall in love, it is discovering the ocean after...
anna25bell - 12. Nov, 03:48
Amandla the power of...
You know how it feels when you hear a song that reminds...
anna25bell - 5. Sep, 00:48
Prostitutes in Style
In today’s and in historical societies clothing is...
anna25bell - 14. Jun, 13:35





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