Culture

An Abuelito Makes Dolls With Vitiligo To Build Self-Esteem In Kids With The Skin Condition And If This Isn’t The Sweetest Thing I Don’t Know What is

Brazilian grandfather João Stanganelli learned to crochet with one goal in mind: to uplift the self-esteem of children with vitiligo. Stanganelli began to show signs of the skin condition when he was 38. Vitiligo causes the loss of skin color in blotches and can affect any part of the body. 

“Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning. Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious. It can be stressful or make you feel bad about yourself,” according to the Mayo Clinic. 

While some of the possible symptoms listed are sunburn, susceptibility to skin cancer, eye problems, and hearing loss, professionals also note that one of the most difficult issues is a social stigma which can lead to low self-esteem or other psychological issues. 

Fortunately, abuelo João Stanganelli is out here putting smiles on children’s faces and reminding them that they look absolutely perfect. 

A new beginning

Stanganelli began to show signs of vitiligo when he was 38. However, it wasn’t until last year, at 64, that he began this amazing project. After losing his job in the gastronomy industry due to a heart condition, Stanganelli wanted to keep busy while he was at home. He and his wife Marilena took up crocheting together. At first, it proved to be difficult, causing him to develop calluses on his fingers. But after five days of practice, Stanganelli crocheted his first doll. 

A tiny idea becomes a big one

While he only intended to create something to pass onto his granddaughter, things quickly snowballed.

“I decided to make the doll for my granddaughter, and wanted something that she would remember about her grandfather,” he told Romper.

Stanganelli decided to crochet her a doll that looked like him, one with two skin tones. However, photos of his adorable doll began to circulate – people wanted in. 

A new way to honor children’s differences

Parents of children with vitiligo wanted a doll for their little ones, but they weren’t the only group that wanted to be seen. Others began to request dolls with a wheelchair, hearing aids, blindness, alopecia, and other differences. They wanted their children to see themselves, and it’s not like there were many options on the market. 

It may not seem like a big deal to you, but just take a look at one of the comments on this doll with a wheelchair, “This is so beautiful it just made me cry. My Jenna has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. You truly are so awesome for all you do sir. May God bless you over and over.” 

“These are beautiful. I’ve had vitiligo since my mid-40s. My face, chest, back, neck and some on my arms. It is a, “how did this happen” disease. These are a beautiful way for ppl to converse abt this so others understand. God bless you Joao,” another person wrote.

Difference is beauty

“The spots I have are beautiful. What hurts me are the flaws in peoples’ characters,” Stanganelli told CTV News. Kids and parents have told him that the dolls are “helping with their self-esteem.” Just more proof that representation matters, especially to those most vulnerable. 

It’s no secret that kids can be particularly cruel about differences, Stanganelli is providing children with an honorable service — a little taste of what it feels like to be represented just like anybody else. Sometimes the ordinary can you make feel extraordinary. 

“Vitiligo can be life-altering… Some people develop low self-esteem. They may no longer want to hang out with friends. They can develop serious depression. Most people have vitiligo for life, so it’s important to develop coping strategies,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology. 

Redefining beauty

Stanganelli’s dolls come at a time where people with vitiligo are embracing their unique aesthetic rather than covering it up. The Brazilian children’s book Menina Feita de Nuvens, or “the girl made of clouds,” tells the story of a little girl with a superpower: vitiligo. 

Models like Winnie Harlow, Breanne Rice, and Ash Soto have brought vitiligo to the mainstream of fashion. 

“Female models with vitiligo now appear regularly on designer runways and in advertising campaigns, empowering those who once hid behind the makeup to use these tools to enhance their individuality. Women with vitiligo who span the spectrum, including White models with vitiligo and Black models with vitiligo, are expanding the public’s definition of what it means to be attractive,” writes Anna Papachristos for APlus

If you would like to purchase a custom crocheted doll, please reach out to Stanganelli and his wife on Facebook

A Former Brazilian President Was Just Released From Prison And Here’s What That Could Mean For The Country

Things That Matter

A Former Brazilian President Was Just Released From Prison And Here’s What That Could Mean For The Country

Henry Milleo / AP Images

A judge ordered the release of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, affectionately known as Lula, from prison today. Lula was sentenced to eight years and 10 months in prison in 2018, following a conviction on charges that he took bribes from engineering firms in exchange for government contracts. However, many Brazilians and officials felt Lula’s conviction was the result of corruption. 

The decision came after Brazil’s Supreme Court overturned a law that required convicts to be imprisoned if they lose their first appeal. The ruling could end up benefiting other high profile prisoners and thousands of other convicts, according to Al Jazeera, and was not met without detractors. 

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is freed from prison.

On Thursday, Brazil’s Supreme Court decided in a 6-5 vote that a person can only be imprisoned after they’ve exhausted every possible appeal to the higher courts. Lula, who is currently appealing his case, benefited from the new rule. 

“There are no grounds for the continuation of this provisional criminal enforcement,” Judge Danilo Pereira Júnior said.

The ruling could release almost 5,000 inmates who are currently appealing their convictions, according to The Guardian. 

In 2016, the courts operated on the premise that defendants who have been convicted can be imprisoned pending the decisions of any appeals. However, Brazil’s constitution states that no one can be labeled guilty unless due process is completed in its entirety. 

Justice Gilmar Mendes acknowledged that Lula’s involvement in the discourse overshadowed the discussion, but that overall it is good for the public, according to the Guardian. However, analysts say that incarcerating people before they have appealed gives authorities leverage to strike plea deals that can garner vital information. 

Many analysts are criticizing the new rule. 

The “Car Wash” operation, as it is nicknamed, that got Lula arrested, benefited from the rule. By trading plea deals that would keep convicts out of prison, prosecutors obtained information that allowed them to unravel a massive conspiracy of corruption that resulted in entrepreneurs and politicians being imprisoned for bribes and kickbacks. 

According to Al Jazeera, “The Car Wash prosecutors said the ruling would make their job harder and favor impunity because of Brazil’s ‘excessive’ appeal processes. They said in a statement that the court’s decision was out of sync with a country that wants an end to corruption.”

Not only are officials displeased with Lula’s release, but some Brazilians are also angry as well. 

“I’m not surprised, politicians rarely stay very long in jail,” Rivaldo Santos, a 43-year-old waiter in São Paulo, told The Associated Press. 

Brazilians rally in support of Lula’s release. 

Lula was a once-beloved conduit of change. The Bolsa Familia welfare program significantly reduced poverty in Brazil, and his policies created widespread economic growth. Lula left the office with an 80% approval rating, only to have his legacy tarnished by his involvement in the Car Wash operation. 

In a turning point over the summer, Brazilians were left stunned by allegations that prosecutors and a judge colluded together in the criminal investigation of Lula. Sergio Moro, the judge who convicted Lula, allegedly gave prosecutors strategic advice and tips during the investigation. 

“The judge’s relationship with prosecutors is scandalous,” the Intercept Brasil’s executive editor, Leandro Demori, told The Guardian. “This is illegal under Brazilian law.”

The revelations caused many to wonder if Lula had been wrongfully imprisoned altogether. Last year, Lula was the left-leaning presidential frontrunner only to have his imprisonment pave the way for the far-right Jair Bolsonaro to snag the presidency. Thus, many Brazilians still revere Lula for the sweeping changes he brought to Brazil while wondering all that could have been.

“He is very happy and so are we,” Gilberto Carvalho, Lula’s former chief of staff and one of the leaders of the Workers Party, told The Washington Post. “We are pinching ourselves to make sure this is all true.”

Bernie Sanders and others praise the release of Lula.

“As President, Lula has done more than anyone to lower poverty in Brazil and to stand up for workers. I am delighted that he has been released from jail, something that never should have happened in the first place,” Sanders tweeted.  

“Lula is free. He walked out of Sergio Moro’s prison today, where he spent almost 2 years as a result of corrupted process conducted by a corrupt judge (now Bolsonaro’s Minister of Justice and Public Security) and corrupt prosecutors,” journalist Glenn Greenwald said on Twitter. 

While Brazil was set on an entirely different course after Bolsonaro’s election, perhaps, Lula’s release can usher in needed change.

“[Lula] is eager to come out, but at the same time he is asking everyone to stay calm and be careful with provocations to keep an atmosphere of peace,” Carvalho said. 

This Brazilian Girl Dressed Up As A Mom For Halloween And People On The Internet Are Celebrating Her Creativity

Culture

This Brazilian Girl Dressed Up As A Mom For Halloween And People On The Internet Are Celebrating Her Creativity

Ione Carvalho / Facebook

As young girls, we all looked up to our Latina moms. I remember watching my mom paint dark black eyeliner onto her lids, slip on her impossibly high heels, walk into a room and own it. I also remember her shoving my 11-year-old bully up against a brick wall, demanding that he call his mother for her that instant and calmy, savagely decimating his ego before my very eyes. Our moms are fierce, and their superhero costumes come in a variety of shapes and colors. 

This Brazilian niña, however, chose a not-all-heroes-wear-capes take her Halloween costume of a mom. The details are unfortunate but make for a wonderful and unforgettable costume.

Young Yasmin painted vomit on one shoulder and spilled milk on the other to look like her mother.

Credit: Ione Carvalho / Facebook

Yasmin was invited to a Halloween party this year, but her mother, Ione Carvalho, told her they didn’t have the budget for a pre-made Halloween costume. Like every good Latina mother, she told Yasmin to use her imagination. That she did. 

Yasmin is wearing leggings, old flip flops, an oversized shirt with vomit painted on one shoulder and spilled milk on the other. To top the look off, she painted bags under her eyes, put her hair in a messy ponytail, and is slinging a baby bag, a plastic bag of groceries and an entire fake baby along.

Meanwhile, this is her mother’s Facebook profile photo.

Credit: Ione Carvalho / Facebook

I have questions. The Internet has questions, and the Internet asked. Ione shared the photos of her daughter with the caption [in Portuguese], “Pre Halloween dance and Yasmin was characterized as a mother !!! She’s wearing the uniform of a very busy mother with gym pants, a shirt, tennis and a bun in her hair … Don’t forget the child’s bag, the diaper on the shoulder, the vomit on the other and the spoiled milk!”

Most folks praised her daughter’s creativity and even joked that Yasmin was in too good of character, “already showing the hardness” of being a young mother. Someone else commented, “You should win an award for the idea hahaha the best costume ever.”

Critics are not okay with the disheveled new mom stereotype.

Credit: Ione Carvalho / Facebook

The Facebook post has nearly 10,000 likes and 21,000 shares at the time of this publication. It’s gone viral in Brazil, and Yasmin has even appeared on a local Brazilian show to talk about the experience. With any kind of fame, there is criticism. In a Facebook comment, Ione reportedly responded to a critic, “If you’re a mom and never got to this state, congratulations, but don’t judge. … This mom can be anybody. I didn’t say it was all of them. It’s just an infantile fantasy made by a mom on a budget. Don’t cause so much drama.”

The “Tired Mom” or “Mombie” look is far from new.

Credit: @milkymommasinc / Twitter

A quick Twitter search turns up photos of new parents dressing up as an “Undead Dad” and “Mombie” duo. Those varieties typically require more blood makeup than your typical “Tired Mom.” The zombie trope is one and the same with the stereotype for a new mom minus the cannibalism. New parents are often sleep-deprived, sunken-eyed, smell weird. So they say. 

Last year, a New Mexico teen went viral for her imitation of a “Tired Mom.” 

Credit: @SourceforFunny / Twitter

Then 13-year-old Jillian Schnerch enjoyed the low-budget costume that was met with viral acclaim in 2018. The jury is split on these costumes. Some jokingly tweeted that they felt “superrrrr attacked.” One mom layered the joke by dressing up as a tired mom herself, tweeting, “I don’t know why people keep complimenting my Halloween costume… I didn’t even dress up this year. I’m just dressed as myself, a tired mom.”

Meanwhile, Jezebel rightly reported that the “Tired Mom” routine is only as infuriating as the lack of “Tired Dad” costumes. Is it because fathers aren’t as likely to stretch themselves in childcare or domestic work? Is it because women are far more scrutinized for their appearance than men? Or is it because “tired dads” are praised for measuring up to the bar women have been oppressed by for centuries? We can’t say.

All we know is that Yasmin is certainly enjoying her time in the spotlight, and hasn’t let go of her fake baby just yet.

Credit: Ione Carvalho / Facebook

Of course, her mother’s lesson isn’t lost on any of us, and hopefully not on Yasmin. Latina moms have always led us to believe our creative genius is worth more than the money they might not be able to give us. Gracias, mami.

READ: A Gay Canadian Couple Upped The Racist Halloween Costume Game And Twitter Has Some Opinions