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Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra

See more by Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra

Photo of a hand in a pocket
Society

Kleptomania, How A "Women's Pathology" Was Built On Gender And Class Bias

Between 1880 and 1930, there was a significant rise in thefts in department stores, mostly committed by women from the middle and upper classes. This situation brought with it the establishment of a new pathology: kleptomania. A century later, feminist historians have given new meaning to the practice as a protest against the social structures and oppressions of capitalism and patriarchy.

Kleptomania is defined as the malicious and curious propensity for theft. The legal language tends to specify that the stolen objects are not items of necessity; medically, it is explained as an uncontrollable impulse.

What seems clear is that kleptomania is a highly enigmatic condition and one of the few mental disorders that comes from the pathologization of a crime, which makes it possible to use it as a legal defense. It differs from the sporadic theft of clothing, accessories, or makeup (shoplifting) as the kleptomaniac's impulse is irresistible.

Studies have shown that less than one percent of the population suffers from kleptomania, being much more common among women (although determining exact numbers is very difficult).

The psychiatric disorders manual, DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has included kleptomania since 1962. Previously, it had already received attention from, among others, Sigmund Freud. Like nymphomania or hysteria, kleptomania became an almost exclusively female diagnosis linked to the biology of women's bodies and an “inability” to resist uncontrollable desire.

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Photo of women walking in Ecuador
Green

Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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Photo of two wooden figurines
Society

Facing Down The "Violence Stigma" Of Mental Health Illness

Sensationalist TV coverage and even experts still often link mental health struggles and violent crimes, even though people with mental health difficulties commit fewer crimes comparatively. It's time to end the stigma.

People like me who have mental health disorders suffer more violence than we inflict on others, yet we continue to carry the stigma of being unpredictable and aggressive individuals.

In the "events" section of a morning TV program I saw, for example, there was some news with sensationalist overtones. The first was about a son who had killed his father and the second was about an individual who had beaten another and left him in a coma.

The journalistic decisions in the presentation and commentary of both events were as follows: in the first case, the alleged perpetrator must necessarily have "mental disorders" to justify his conduct. But in the second case, it was not "necessary" to jump to that conclusion because the information focused on the bad reputation of the alleged aggressor, nicknamed "The Nazi".

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Feminism Should Not Fear Trans Rights

Feminism Should Not Fear Trans Rights

At some point, certain branches of feminism will have to explain how they ended up on the same side as the extreme right. But societies that fight for the rights of all are better to live in for everyone. View from a veteran of the feminist battle.

-Essay-

MADRID — As time passes, it will become more evident that a branch of feminism fell into a kind of "paranoia campaign" over what it calls trans ideology.

Someday, there will be regret about the support given to the global extreme right that invented the so-called “gender ideology” to combat feminism. For extreme right-wing evangelicals, ”gender ideology” is the great threat, comparable even to communism.

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Photo of DJ Anita B Queen
Society

From Church Choir To DJ Icon: The Singular Rise Of Anita B Queen

Daughter of conservative Korean immigrants to Argentina, portrait of rising star in Latin America's electronic music club scene who's impossible to categorize.

BUENOS AIRES — In a world that insists on labels, Ana Belén Kim, also known as Anita B Queen, considers herself a "degenerate." That is: someone impossible to classify. The 26-year-old daughter of a Catholic mother and an Evangelical father, both of whom were Korean immigrants who came to Argentina in their early childhood, her musical career began at Cheil, the First Korean Presbyterian Church in the country.

Anita was still a teenager and was surprised to see so many instruments she could use. She taught herself how to play and was soon in charge of the youth band of the church. When she turned 18, her life turned upside down as she questioned her values and her sexuality.

“Imagine, a lifelong Christian girl, growing up in a small, closed, conservative and orthodox Korean community, trying to understand what she was feeling and trying to accept herself.” That year she left the church, withdrew from her peers, separated from her boyfriend, and began dating other women.

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Photo of a classic marble statue representing three women hugging, part of Russia’s short-lived Queer Museum
Russia

LGBTQ+ International: Russia’s Short-Lived Queer Museum, Italy’s Gender-Neutral Toilet — And Other News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

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Walls Of Shame: Trump Is Not Alone In Building Barriers To Shut Out Latin Americans
Migrant Lives

Walls Of Shame: Trump Is Not Alone In Building Barriers To Shut Out Latin Americans

Keeping out the poor from one country to another, or even within a country, is not a new idea, though former U.S. President Donald Trump seems to have set off a new wave across the region, and the world.

If you are from Latin America and you hear the word “wall,” you most likely think of the one that Donald Trump began to build between the United States and Mexico. However, there are currently more than 60 border walls around the world, and, contrary to popular belief, Trump's is not the only one keeping Latin Americans out of a territory.

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A colorful LGBTQ protest taking place in Thailand, many people are gathered wearing colorful clothes and waving flags
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: U.S. Protects Same-Sex Marriage, Thailand’s Second Pride — And Other News

Welcome to our new exclusive weekly round up of LGBTQ+ news from around the world.

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

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Photo of participants at the The 15th edition of the Santiago Parade, March for Equality
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: World Cup Armband Mess, Russian Bans, Santiago Pride

Welcome to our new exclusive weekly round up of LGBTQ+ news from around the world.

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

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LGBTQ+ International: Israel’s Homophobia, Hyderabad Pride, Superman’s Bi Son — And Other Top News
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: Israel’s Homophobia, Hyderabad Pride, Superman’s Bi Son — And Other Top News

Welcome to our new exclusive weekly round up of LGBTQ+ news from around the world.

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

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Photo of participants flying a rainbow flag at the Buenos Aires Pride on Nov. 5
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: World Cup Pressure, Buenos Aires Pride — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

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Photo of to climbers next to a rainbow flag and a Ukrainian flag on Vladimir Putin Peak, Kyrgyzstan
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: Rainbow Flag On Putin Peak, Lula Relief — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

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