Not Quite An Oasis Or Mirage: Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Lenacis Maranhenses National Park

Appearance is seldom reality, and Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is no exception. While the sweeping dunes and stark vegetation might rightly cause one to think the area is a desert, the park is actually just outside the Amazon Basin and subject to a regular rain season. It’s during these seasons that the real “magic” happens: fresh water collects in the dunes’ valleys and forms temporary fish-filled “lagoons” in the midst of an otherwise barren region.

Cinderella Over Time: Tracking A Glass Slipper For Centuries

Cinderella may seem straightforward—girl loses shoe, finds her prince and lives happily ever after—but hundreds of iterations of the fairytale exist. In each telling of the tale, the pauper-turned-princess changes drastically, yet whether she’s a grief-stricken witch, a meek domestic goddess or Disney’s sugar-coated queen of courage and kindness, there’s still something about her that grips each generation anew. Read on to learn about the rich (and lengthy!) history surrounding Cinderella.

History of Cinderella

Source: Rachelb5

The first version of the Cinderella story was (supposedly) written sometime in the first century during Greco-Egyptian times. However these early iterations barely resembled today’s fairytale, as they lacked glass slippers, fairy godmothers or chatty mice. One of the first modern iterations of the fairytale emerged in China in 850 A.D. as Yeh-Shen, the story of a girl who is led to her prince by a beautiful golden slipper. Check out the televised adaptation of the story here:

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The Parkour Guide To Gaza

Earlier this year graffiti artist Banksy recommended that people visit Gaza. Of course, Banksy’s Gaza is quite different from Gaza as experienced by those who actually live there. Thus they, with the help of The Guardian, take us on a tour of the tiny, packed and largely devastated area, unpacking the political and economic issues Gaza residents deal with every day. And of course, they do so through parkour and to the sounds of Shadia Mansour, Palestine’s biggest female hip-hop artist.

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The Randy Victorian’s Guide To Sex

Becklards Physiology

Source: Etsy

Who would have guessed that one of the most sex-positive and progressive perspectives on copulation would come from a Victorian how-to guide? Becklard’s Physiology, as it was so called, was really just the nickname given to the real title, Physiological Mysteries and Revelations in Love, Courtship and Marriage by Eugène Becklard. And oh, what mysteries abounded within those well-worn pages. While Becklard was by no means the go-to expert on the subject, his book–akin to “pop psychology” books today–would likely be found stashed away in many Victorians’ bookshelves.

Today, finding a copy of Becklard’s Physiology in the flesh (so to speak) would be an extreme historical find. Very few print copies exist outside of archives, but the tome has recently made its way onto Google Books. Now we can all enjoy the (slightly misleading but well intentioned) wisdom of Mr. Becklard. Here are some of the gems:

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period of childbearing—becklards

You should be suspicious of any woman who appears to be “with child” longer than the requisite nine months. She’s *probably* lying about the time of conception. Source: Google Books

best months for babies —becklards

Want sweet little children who are in perpetually good health? Have a spring baby! Source: Google Books

busy vagina —becklards

Childbearing, of course, requires the vagina to — erm— “get busy”. Source: Google Books

contraception—becklards

What if you don’t want children — or at least not yet? The favorite defense of the Victorian woman was the now widely ill-advised act of douching. There were, of course, somewhat rudimentary attempts made at male contraceptives (the grandpa of modern-day condoms) which were, unsurprisingly, widely available in Paris. Source: Google Books

physiology-woman

Becklard also provides some insight into the “ideal form” for a woman to be considered attractive and worthy of impregnation. An interesting juxtaposition to today’s preferential appreciation of the “thigh gap” — you’ll note Becklard is, frankly, all about that bass. Source: Google Books

to each his own—becklards

But don’t worry — even if you aren’t considered conventionally pretty, there’s gotta be someone else there who would love you. Source: Google Books

opposites attract—becklards

If you’re looking to settle down, Becklard advises that you look for someone who completes you, echoing the sentiment of several hundred years’ worth of romance novels. Source: Google Books

physiology-hand

Perhaps the most shocking passage in Becklard’s book isn’t even overtly about sexual intercourse — it’s about cohabbin’ with someone before you decide to get married. This might seem like a fairly scandalous idea at the time, but apparently it was fairly commonplace in Scotland. It even had a name: hand fasting. Source: Google Books

consummation—becklards

When settled in with a new love in matrimony, Becklard thinks it’s in a man’s best interest to make sure his wife is sufficiently pleasured. He does, however, feel that this is merely hypothesis and he would not be able to test it . . . Source: Google Books

rape—becklards

What could have been a rather feminist point about the vitalness of female pleasure is then sharply undone by his words on the subject of rape, which are unfortunately still propagated by some groups in modern times. Source: Google Books

puberty —becklards

In case you need a refresher on just when you have entered into a state of impregnability, just remember: it’s when your genitals awaken from their torpor. Source: Google Books

longing for marriage—becklards

It’s totally normal to have fantasies about your future love life, and don’t be fooled into thinking that young men aren’t fantasizing just as hard as their girlfriends...so much so that if his dreams are not realized he’ll lose his mind: Source: Google Books

hymen—becklards

Physically speaking, Becklard’s thoughts on the presence/absence of a woman’s hymen are promising: he more than suggests, rather implores, that the intactness of a woman’s hymen doesn’t necessarily correlate to her virginity. Source: Google Books

marriageandpoetry—becklards

Rather distressingly, the author informs us that to be married will strip us of our literary and poetic prowess. We write because we are not loved and when we are loved, we cannot write. Source: Google Books

french women—becklards

Source: Google Books

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