BEYOND MERE SURVIVAL


Italy, once more
January 8, 2009, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

pimpblindfolded slaveholy place

i just came back from seeing my family in Italy for the holidays, and as always, i am filled with discordant emotions. It felt really good to be back, and simply to speak italian, or to easily orient myself through the cultural mapping of the country. As usual i was also hit by the bigotry and prejudice still present there, even in my own family. I was speechless to witness a variety of discussions about Obama’s election, some of which included comments on him being attractive because he has “not really black” facial features, or making distinctions between him as a good black, versus an undesirable ugly black.  The pope also made a hate speech about gender norms, and gay families while i was there. My mom simply responded that people can do what they want in their private lives, but that it’s right for him to lay down the law about what  is acceptable or not acceptable for the church. great!

it was disheartening, and a reminder as to why i just can’t live there at the moment, even though i miss it badly at times.

i am just posting a few strange encounters i had.

the first one is an open market in Rome, that was selling many pairs of underwear reading PIMP on the elastic band. i doubt most people even know what that means, but it was a sad reminder of fucked up gender norms getting exported over, in a country that frankly has enough without any help.

the second one was a mural from the vatican museums depicting a blindfolded african man. i asked the museum guard if they knew the story of the fresco, but all i got was that it dated about 1500. i wish i knew more about it. there is so little depiction of the slave experience in art of that time.

the third is a sign outside of the catacombs that bans people (man in blue, woman in pink) from wearing tanks and shorts. when will the catholic church stop making people feel bad about their bodies? soon, i hope.

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first one from italy
June 27, 2008, 10:32 am
Filed under: rants and such, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

so, i am back in the country i have called home for 4/5 of my life, and to which i still have sole citizenship. it’s always unsettling and slightly ominous to be here. it all looks so familiar and understood, but i don’t know where to place myself anymore. within my family, as much as within the society at large. it’s not the same country i left in 2002, and i am not the same person either. it really resembles visiting and ex-lover or good friend, and realizing the closeness that once was is replaced for a strained effort to understand each other, and find some semblance of comfort.

it all is complicated by having my family, and the memories tied to this country be ones of pain and abuse, of scraping for survival and safety. i still don’t feel safe here, i still can’t sleep ok, or relax. my guards are up.

at the same time i appreciate the history and richness of my culture, and basque in the beauty of my surroundings with a sort of sweet nostalgia. it’s like being able to not only visualize the past in my head, but to walk through the memories, to touch and smell what is far gone. an over-sized ghost town.



gender violence in Italy and the U.S.
April 22, 2008, 11:45 am
Filed under: gender violence | Tags: , , ,

chiara gender studies research

i am finally done with my senior thesis, which i am attaching.

i wrote a study about the way gender violence is perceived in Italy and the U.S., and how the responses to such violence are informed by culture.

i learned so much in talking to people cross-culturally, and in having to put down in words the experiences of the past 3 years.

i hope it’s interesting