While beards may be coming back into style for men, women are still expected to keep the majority of their body hairless. This tradition of smooth, hairless ladies goes way, way back. Even in some of the earliest paintings of nude females, the women have very little body hair. But Renaissance women didn’t have Nair or disposable razors. Did they really keep their bodies hairless? And if so, how?
According to Jill Burke, a lecturer on Italian renaissance history at the University of Edinburgh, women dealt with removing their hair in all sorts of ways, and most of them sounds pretty terrible. Take this 1532 recipe:
Boil together a solution of one pint of arsenic and eighth of a pint of quicklime. Go to a baths or a hot room and smear medicine over the area to be depilated. When the skin feels hot, wash quickly with hot water so the flesh doesn’t come off.
Though not a huge fan of organized religion in general, I still support progressive ideas and reform within Orthodox communities, as I [personally] think it’s better for such organizations to be more inclusive, than exclusive.
Anyway, here it is, with an excerpt and link:
Ludovic Mohammed Zahed is braced for controversy, maybe even worse. A gay Muslim and an expert on the Koran, Zahed plans to open Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque in Paris at the end of this month. He calls it a place of shelter as well as a place of worship.
“We need to have a safe space for people who do not feel comfortable and at ease in normal mosques,” Zahed told ABC News. “There are transgender people who fear aggression, women who do not want to wear head scarf or sit in the back of the mosque. This project gives hope back to many believers in my community.”
“Common prayer, practiced in an egalitarian setting and without any form of gender-based discrimination, is one of the pillars supporting the proposed reforms of our progressive representation of Islam,” he said.
I’ve been thinking lately about the nativity display our town puts out each year and how it might be made more inclusive to reflect our tolerant and pluralistic society.
It strikes me as significant that before Jesus was JESUS, he was a small-town Jewish boy, born to an observant Jewish mother, living in the land of the Jews. Of course he would have celebrated Chanukkah! His family would have lit candles each year, while he was growing up. He would have played dreidel games with his friends. He would have sung songs about the Maccabees, and probably would have been inspired by their heroism in the face of religious persecution.
And if Jesus really was born on December 25th, it’s likely that the manger would have been decked out in festive Chanukkah style for the season. Certainly Mary and Joseph would have brought a menorah, and three strangers even stopped by with presents.
I would like to see this idea incorporated into our town’s annual tradition. Keep the crèche, the shepherds, the Magi, the angels, and the barnyard animals, but add in a menorah, some blue and white streamers, plates of potato latkies, and a whole bunch of six-pointed stars. Not only would it make us a more inclusive community, but it would have the added benefit of being more accurate!
A bit of a fluffy story, but interesting! I love wiffle-ball! And here’s the story of the family who have been making the balls and bats since 1953.
To get you started:
The complete tour of Wiffle Ball Inc.’s one and only factory takes about 20 minutes. And that is with all the technical details left in.
The top floor of the two-story cinderblock building off Connecticut’s Route 8 is devoted to packing and storage. The ground floor has an aging wood-paneled office with five desks. And in the next room lies the heart of the 15-employee operation, where two injection-molding machines hum along to produce thousands of Wiffle Balls every day.
In fact, every single Wiffle Ball that will sail across backyards this summer was produced here. Just like every single Wiffle Ball that has sailed across backyards since the factory opened in 1959.
“You’ve got to stick with what works,” said Stephen Mullany who, along with his brother, David J. Mullany, runs the company that their grandfather started in 1953.
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That philosophy is how three generations of the Mullany family have built a company—and kept it thriving—around a single, unchanging product. The ball has always been white plastic. It has always had eight holes. These facts are immutable.
Wiffle Ball has hardly ever felt the pressing need to diversify its line. At various points, they have tried flying discs, plastic golf balls, and even silk ties with pictures of Wiffle Balls on them. But each time, they were reminded that people did not have much use for anything beside the bat and ball.
“What do you need? You need a Wiffle Ball, a bat, and another kid to play with,” said David J. Mullany. “And really that’s it.”