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Germany ready to take in Russian deserters, ministers say

Voice Of EU



Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Scholz insisted Russia “cannot win this criminal war” in Ukraine and that Putin “with his most recent decisions makes everything much worse”.

The German leader said Putin had “from the start completely underestimated Ukrainians’ will to resist” as well as the “unity and determination” of Kyiv’s allies.

“Sham referendums” in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine would “of course never be accepted” by the international community, Scholz said, and would hence be “no justification” for Russia’s “intention, namely to conquer land of its neighbour with violence”.

“In the world in which we live, the law must win out over force and force can never be stronger than the law,” he said.

Germany’s vice chancellor Robert Habeck had earlier slammed the partial military mobilisation as a “bad and wrong step”.

“With the partial mobilisation (Russia) is further escalating this war of aggression that violates international law,” he tweeted.

“A bad and wrong step, which we strongly condemn… We continue to fully support Ukraine.”

Scholz believes the move signals that Russia’s campaign in Ukraine “is not going successfully”, his deputy spokesman Wolfgang Buechner told reporters.

Russia had to pull its troops back from Kyiv early in the war and also did not achieve the successes it hoped for in the east, where Ukraine has mounted a lightning counter-offensive, the spokesman noted.

Ukraine had been “very effective in defending its integrity and sovereignty not least because of the massive… support from countries of the world, especially Germany”, he added.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner told a press conference the mobilisation indicated the war will last for a long time, and “we must adjust politically and economically”.

In a pre-recorded address to the nation early on Wednesday, Putin announced the mobilisation and vowed to use “all available means” to protect Russian territory, after Moscow-held regions of Ukraine suddenly announced the annexation referendums.

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Nazi Germany: The horror of discovering that your grandfather was an SS officer who personally murdered Jews during the Holocaust | Culture

Voice Of EU



SS Major Otto Kraus, left, and his brother Hans.
SS Major Otto Kraus, left, and his brother Hans.

After a long conversation about horrors, the writer and filmmaker Chris Kraus finally breaks down. He is a lively and robust man who is accustomed to dealing with terrible things, but something inside him has broken. When he’s asked to explain his grandfather’s role in the Nazi regime and the mass murder of Jews, he turns pale and his blue eyes tear up. “My grandfather, Otto Kraus, was part of the Baltic German minority in Latvia. Reinhard Heydrich recruited him for the SD [Sicherheitsdienst], the SS agency that served as an intelligence service and was central to the Holocaust. In 1941, he participated in the invasion of the USSR as a member of Einsatzgruppen A, one of the roving execution squads that followed the troops and killed mainly Jews. He later became the head of the SD in Riga. He rose to the rank of Sturmbannführer, an SS major. He was personally involved in at least two mass executions.” In his novel The Bastard Factory, Chris Kraus recreates one of those horrific episodes. The main character is based heavily on Kraus’s grandfather, and the novel faithfully follows his journey as an SS major.

In the book, on a summer day on the outskirts of Riga, the SS and their Latvian henchmen give a group of Jews the “special treatment.” The scene closely resembles one of the massacres perpetrated in the Bikernieki (Bickern) forest, the main site of Latvia’s massacres (out of a population of 90,000 Jews, 70,000 were murdered). They are forced to undress next to a ditch and then shot in groups. Kraus writes: “Executing someone at point-blank range often means that the victims’ brain matter and blood splashes in all directions, and it did. Skull shards flew like shrapnel to where I was standing, 20 meters away. There was screaming, blood soaked the ground and the air smelled of wet iron mixed with cold sweat, excrement and urine.” The scene continues as the main character approaches to shoot a young woman and peers into the pit with his Luger in hand: “In the midst of that jumble of bodies I discerned some feet that kept shaking. It was a girl whose skull cap had been blown off and landed beside her. She was looking at me with wide eyes, still hugging her baby, who seemed intact, just asleep […] Before I couldn’t hold back the vomit any longer, I fired my pistol at them both.”

The passage offers a glimpse into the world in which Otto Kraus (in the novel, Konstantin Koja Solm) moved, and the legacy with which his descendants grapple. “Finding out my grandfather’s story was horrible, very disturbing,” a distraught Chris Kraus explains. “I loved my grandfather.” In 1985, as a student, he became interested in the stories Otto Kraus told him. “He talked about shootings, but he never said precise words; he used terms like ‘special treatment,’ and you could think that they did something else, like going into the forest to chop wood. But then I read a book about General Vlasov [the Russian defector who commanded Nazi troops], and it contained details about my grandfather and his connection to mass murder. It was horrifying. Nobody in my family knew about it. So, I went to the archives to look for information and to find out what had happened.”

A dark legacy

He uncovered the whole truth, but none of his family members wanted to believe him, except his cousin Sigrid Kraus, a publisher. “I wrote an essay, Das Kalte Blut [or, Cold Blood], based on my research; it was published in 2014 in a small print run and meant for my family and our circle. I recounted everything to show that I wasn’t making things up and to demonstrate how incompatible everything was with my family’s memory. It didn’t help…Throughout Germany, it’s like the Nazis came down from Mars: most people say that their grandparents were excellent people, anti-Nazis, and that Hitler, Himmler and four psychopaths were to blame for everything.”

The Kraus family’s dark heritage isn’t limited to Chris’s grandfather. “[Otto’s] two brothers also belonged to the SS and were part of the killing squads, it’s an extraordinary case…madness. The elder brother, Hans, was even more involved in the atrocities, while the younger one, Lorenz, was a wartime correspondent for the SS; he was a gifted artist and drew anti-Semitic pictures.”

The three Kraus brothers, Frank, Lorenz and Otto.
The three Kraus brothers, Frank, Lorenz and Otto.

How does Chris Kraus bear such a heavy burden? He thinks for a long time before answering. “It’s hard to explain. I try to understand, to investigate what really happened, it’s very difficult. I try to set things right with the truth. Of all of Otto’s children and grandchildren, it has fallen to me to do it. I don’t want to be a passive accomplice, I won’t accept silence, even if the process is unpleasant for me.” Did you ever confront your grandfather with the truth? “No, never; he died in 1989, and I didn’t know his real story until 10 years later.” Would you have liked to have talked to him about it? “Yes, but he commanded so much respect… I don’t know if I would have dared, and I was the one who got along best with my grandfather. The others reproach me and say that he can no longer defend himself. To them, he was a good man, period. The truth is that he died without having to account for his crimes, like so many other SS elites, because Germany didn’t dare to bring them to justice.” Where is he buried? In Latvia? “In Nuremberg; how ironic,” Chris Kraus laughs bitterly. “Although that city came to symbolize Nazi punishment after the war, it was once very anti-Semitic and quite fond of my grandfather, and of Hitler.”

The Bastard Factory turns Otto Kraus’s life into a nearly 1,000-page novel. He participated in secret SS missions, such as the Zeppelin operation to kill Russian leader Joseph Stalin (where he met Otto Skorzeny, famous for his daring military actions, including the rescue of Benito Mussolini). Then Otto became an agent for the CIA, the Federal Republic of Germany’s new intelligence service, Org-BND, and even the KGB and the Mossad. “It’s a fictionalization of his story, based on years of research and the essay I wrote for my family.” Chris recounts the origins of the Krauses (in the novel, the Solms), their life in Latvia and the increasing involvement of Koja and his older brother Hub in the Nazi apparatus. The novel opens in 1974 in a Munich hospital. Hospitalized with a bullet wound, the main character tells his life story to the person in the next bed, an innocent, well-meaning, Buddhist, stoner hippie who can’t believe what he’s hearing.

Otto Kraus informs more than one of the novel’s characters. “Both Koja and Hub reflect aspects of my grandfather. The older one is more brutal and the younger one is seemingly more sensitive and introspective, but you like him less and less. They both have evil in them. Hub at least has a coherent stance, but Koja has that personality of agents and spies who lack core convictions and navigate a universe of falsehood and lies like a fish in water. Ambiguity is the most disturbing element in the novel.”

Writer and filmmaker Chris Kraus.
Writer and filmmaker Chris Kraus.

Given its subject, The Bastard Factory has a surprising sense of humor – Koja’s irony; the Black lover who sings Horst Wessel; the ban on playing Monopoly because it’s “a Jewish game”; the harelipped SS officer; Himmler’s car stopping to let toads cross the road; the main character’s circumcision so he can go undercover in postwar Israel as a Hebrew teacher named Himmelreich. “I’ve been harshly criticized in Germany [because of the novel’s humor]. I knew that it would happen. Actually, I think the humor makes the story even more unbearable.”

The novel also tells a love story. “The terrible thing is that Nazis like my grandfather were people. I didn’t want to depict them as demons but rather as human beings in an inhuman regime. In Germany, people prefer to see the Nazis as monsters who were nothing like the rest of the population… humor and love are incompatible with demonizing them, which is why it’s so disturbing.” Can’t it be seen as a form of justification? “No, they are stylistic devices, to help people understand that the human abysses I’m describing are not fiction. The key theme is morality, the character’s amorality. He is despicable; humor and love draw him closer to us, but they do not excuse him. We cannot distance ourselves from evil, which is part of the human condition. My grandfather was capable of loving and being loved. How could a person I knew and loved be like that in another context? I wanted to make that experience accessible to readers. It could happen to all of us.”

Kraus also portrays the world of intelligence services in which his grandfather moved following the war. The novel includes the stories of General Gehlen, Otto John, Isser Harel, the hunt for Eichmann… “It’s all true, the events during the war and after. When I discovered that my grandfather was also a spy…how do you reconcile that with the importance that my family has always attached to honesty?”

Einsatzgruppen A officers. Otto Kraus is the fourth from left.
Einsatzgruppen A officers. Otto Kraus is the fourth from left.

The Bastard Factory has much in common with Jonathan Littell’s great novel The Kindly Ones. The latter is also narrated by a Nazi criminal, and it describes the atrocities in detail. “I consider the comparison a compliment. It’s an extraordinary book; I loved it. We did our research at the same time: during the 15 years that I was researching information about my grandfather, we visited the same archives and consulted the same documents, I saw his name. [Littell’s] perspective is also that of the executioner. His main character, Max Aue, is a member of the SD and part of the Einsatzgruppen. But Littell worked more on the eroticism than the horror. It’s a very literary book, with…all its homoerotic and perverse fantasies. It was an inspiration, but I take a different, harsher approach.”

In Kraus’s novel, the main characters’ relationship also includes many perverse and scatological elements: Koja and Ev, his adopted sister and romantic interest, are influenced by sharing a potty as children; there’s masturbation as well. “It’s true, but I do that seeking the primitive, the elemental. There’s also excrement, and blood, and the process of turning people into corpses in acts of mass murder. My grandfather saw all that. He smelled the excrement, the blood and the fear of the people who were murdered. What did he think then? How did he handle that experience? Some of my grandfather’s comrades confessed that they enjoyed killing. Others said something that I find grotesque: they participated in the killings, yes, but in a charitable way, to avoid the unnecessary suffering of the victims.”

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Britons in Europe: How have you been affected by the drop in the value of the pound?

Voice Of EU



Travelling without access to the internet is almost impossible these days. We use our phones for mapping applications, contacting the Airbnb, even scanning the QR code for the restaurant menu.

If you’re lucky enough to have a phone registered in an EU country then you don’t need to worry, thanks to the EU’s cap on charges for people travelling, but people visiting from non-EU countries – which of course now includes the UK – need to be careful with their phone use abroad.

First things first, if you are looking to avoid roaming charges, be sure to go into your settings and turn off “data roaming.” Do it right before your plane lands or your train arrives – you don’t want to risk the phone company in your home country starting the clock on ‘one day of roaming fees’ without knowing it.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Italy this summer

But these days travelling without internet access can be difficult and annoying, especially as a growing number of tourist attractions require booking in advance online, while restaurants often display their menus on a QR code.

So here are some techniques to keep the bills low.

Check your phone company’s roaming plan

Before leaving home, check to see what your phone plan offers for pre-paid roaming deals.

For Brits, if you have a phone plan with Three for example, you can ask about their “Go Roam” plan for add-on allowance. You can choose to pay monthly or as you go. Vodafone offers eight day and 15 day passes that are available for £1 a day.

For Americans, T-Mobile offers you to add an “international pass” which will charge you $5 per day. Verizon and AT&T’s roaming plans will charge you $10 per day. For AT&T, you are automatically opted into this as soon as your phone tries to access data abroad.

READ ALSO: Seven things to do in Italy in summer 2022

These all allow you to retain your normal phone number and plan.

Beware that these prices are only available if you sign up in advance, otherwise you will likely be facing a much bigger bill for using mobile data in Italy. 

Buy a pre-paid SIM card

However, if you are travelling for a longer period of time it might work out cheaper to turn off your phone data and buy a pre-paid SIM card in Italy.

In order to get a pre-paid SIM card, you will need your passport or proof of identity (drivers’ licences do not count).

READ ALSO: TRAVEL: Why now’s the best time to discover Italy’s secret lakes and mountains

Keep in mind that you will not be able to use your normal phone number with the new SIM card in, but will be able to access your internet enabled messaging services, like WhatsApp, Facebook and iMessage. Your phone will need to be ‘unlocked’ (ask your carrier about whether yours is) in order to put a new SIM card in.

Here are some of the plans you can choose from:


WindTre, the result of a 2020 merger between the Italian company Wind and the UK network provider Three, currently offers a “Tourist Pass” SIM card for foreign nationals. For €24.99 (it’s sneakily marketed as €14.99, but read the small print and you’ll see you need to fork out an additional €10), you’ll have access to 20GB of data for up to 30 days.

The offer includes 100 minutes of calls within Italy plus an additional 100 minutes to 55 foreign countries listed on the WindTre website. Up to 13.7GB can be used for roaming within the EU. The card is automatically deactivated after 30 days, so there’s no need to worry about surprise charges after you return from your holiday. To get this SIM card, you can go into any WindTre store and request it.

A tourist protects herself from the sun with a paper umbrella as she walks at Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome.
A tourist protects herself from the sun with a paper umbrella as she walks at Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome.


Vodafone has had better deals in the past, but lately appears to have downgraded its plan for tourists, now called “Vodafone Holiday” (formerly “Dolce Vita”), to a paltry 2GB for €30. You get a total of 300 minutes of calls and 300 texts to Italian numbers or to your home country; EU roaming costs €3 per day.

Existing Vodafone customers can access the offer by paying €19 – the charge will be made to your Vodafone SIM within 72 hours of activating the deal. 

READ ALSO: MAP: The best Italian villages to visit this year

The Vodafone Holiday offer automatically renews every four weeks for €29 – in order to cancel you’ll need to call a toll-free number. The Vodafone website says that the €30 includes the first renewal, suggesting the payment will cover the first four weeks plus an additional four after that, but you’ll want to double check before buying. You’ll need to go to a store in person to get the card.


TIM is one of Italy’s longest-standing and most well-established network providers, having been founded in 1994 following a merger between several state-owned companies.

The “Tim Tourist” SIM card costs €20 for 15GB of data and 200 minutes of calls within Italy and to 58 foreign countries, and promises “no surprises” when it comes to charges.

You can use the full 15GB when roaming within the EU at no extra charge, and in the EU can use your minutes to call Italian numbers. The deal is non-renewable, so at the end of the 30 days you won’t be charged any additional fees.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

To access the offer, you can either buy it directly from a TIM store in Italy, or pre-order using an online form and pay with your bank card. Once you’ve done this, you’ll receive a PIN which you should be able to present at any TIM store on arrival in Italy (along with your ID) to collect your pre-paid card. The card won’t be activated until you pick it up.


Iliad is the newest and one of the most competitive of the four major phone companies operating in Italy, and currently has an offer of 120GBP of €9.99 a month. For this reason, some travel blogs recommend Iliad as the best choice for foreigners – but unfortunately all of their plans appear to require an Italian tax ID, which rules it out as an option for tourists.


Though buying a pre-paid SIM card is a very useful option for visitors spending a decent amount of time in Italy, as mentioned above, there’s a significant different difference between buying a one-time pre-paid SIM versus a monthly plan that auto-renews.

Make sure you know which one you’re signing up for, and that if you choose a plan that will continue charging you after your vacation has ended, you remember to cancel it.

UK contracts

If you have a UK-registered mobile phone, check your plan carefully before travelling. Before Brexit, Brits benefited from the EU cap on roaming charges, but this no longer applies.

Some phone companies have announced the return of roaming charges, while others have not, or only apply roaming charges only on certain contracts.

In short, check before you set off and don’t assume that because you have never been charged extra before, you won’t be this time.

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From Tom Selleck to Joaquin Phoenix: a brief history of man’s love affair with the mustache: A sexual, social and political history of the mustache: “Joaquin Phoenix couldn’t have had a beard in ‘Her’: it had to be a mustache” | Culture

Voice Of EU



In a scene from Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar’s 1993 movie Kika, Verónica Forqué encourages her home-help, Rossy de Palma, to shave her top lip, on the basis it will make her more feminine and attractive. Rossy replies: “Mustaches are not the exclusive patrimony of men. In fact, men with mustaches are either gay or fugitives, or both at the same time.” Even in the context of gross comedy, the observation is not entirely without basis. The history of the mustache, at least in Spain, was embedded in that myth for years. On a global scale, mustaches have been associated with war: Greeks and Romans considered a luxurious beard a symbol of manhood, but found that a mustache was better for the battlefield to prevent their enemies from grabbing them in battle. They have also been associated with love: in the 19th century, British men sported a mustache to announce that they were single and of good social standing.

Some marketing theories posit that men with carefully groomed beards and mustaches inspire confidence and help advertisers to sell more products. Others still link a mustache with the darkest side of 20th century militarism and names like Hitler, Franco and Mussolini, who have quite the opposite effect.

In the US, mustaches remain important enough the American Mustache Institute was founded in 1965 and takes its work very seriously. The institute carries out surveys, which do not always work in its best interest: in 2013, one poll revealed that 73% of respondents associated mustaches with alcoholism and only 30% believed a man in a managerial position should wear one. The institute’s president, Aaron Perlut, told The Atlantic in an interview that they had saved the job of a waiter in Georgia who was threatened with being fired if he did not shave and had a student called Sebastian Pham reinstated at his high school in 2006 after he had been expelled for refusing to remove his mustache. Facial hair is politics. In fact, a mustache represents a man’s entry into politics. If a five o’clock shadow is the first outward sign of adolescence being left behind, it also represents a rite of passage toward becoming a voter and taxpayer.

The most famous mustache of the 1980s belonged to Queen front man Freddie Mercury, who wore it as a symbol of sexual freedom.
The most famous mustache of the 1980s belonged to Queen front man Freddie Mercury, who wore it as a symbol of sexual freedom. Keystone (Getty Images)

Today, the American Mustache Institute only exists on Twitter and Instagram, and it does not have a vast following: the mustache is no longer conflictive. Justin Bieber has one, and Zak Efron sports one for his latest movie, The Greatest Beer Run Ever. The pandemic lockdowns did a lot to normalize mustache relations: an opportunity to experiment led many people to realize the look suited them and they retained it when the streets reopened. In any case, the mustache renaissance has been underway for years.

The mustache of the future

Sergio Lopez, a Goya-nominated make-up artist, believes the current trend for top lip adornment is “an inheritance of the hipsters, a natural evolution of that bushy beard [which ruled supreme in the 2000s until it became almost a parody in the 2010s].” Spike Jonze, a totem of hipsterism, gave Joaquin Phoenix a mustache in his 2013 hit movie Her. It was such a groundbreaking move that review website Gizmondo noted: “Her looks so good that you won’t care about Joaquin Phoenix’s mustache.” The review also wondered: “I’m not sure which is the scifi part, though: that a man could fall in love with his computer, or that an intelligent being of any sort would date a dude with that mustache.” James Franco in Milk (2008) and Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds (2009) had sported mustaches before that but both were period pieces and the facial hair part of the actors’ characterization. Her was set in the future, and the mustache was simply there.

Many people agree that it was Phoenix who paved the way for the return of the mustache in Her (2013).
Many people agree that it was Phoenix who paved the way for the return of the mustache in Her (2013). Moviestore Collection/face to fa (0070056 / Cordon Press)

“That was the turning point for the return of the mustache: a cool dude, well-dressed… and with a ‘tache,” says Blanca Lacasa, a journalist, writer and firm defender of masculine facial hair. “Furthermore, being set in the future, the movie left a prophecy: the modern and interesting man of tomorrow will wear a mustache. It wasn’t random or coincidental. Joaquin Phoenix couldn’t have had a beard in Her: it had to be a mustache.”

Lacasa is a keen classifier of the mustache. “I didn’t like those of the 1930s and 1940s very much, like Errol Flynn and Clark Gable [pencil thin and very profiled efforts]. The best mustache is the 1970s mustache. Full, bushy, not scruffy, but also not perfect. My love for them began with Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). I also liked Elliot Gould, Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds, who had fantastic mustaches. But my favorite is Sam Elliot’s, a mustache so sexy you want to bite it off.”

Robert Redford in a promotional image for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
Robert Redford in a promotional image for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Michael Ochs Archives (Getty Images)

Alberto Mira, a student of cinema and a professor at Oxford Brookes University, is not a huge fan of the mustache himself, but he makes a compelling point about the sociopolitical connotations where they are involved. “It’s interesting that it was only in Spanish cinema that a mustache implied fascism. Elsewhere, such as in Hollywood, it implied respectability.” Lacasa agrees: “In Spain we associate it with Franco, with [former Prime Minister José María] Aznar, of right-wing men, with a certain military order. But overseas this wasn’t the case. Think about France, of Jean Rochefort, who had a very cool ‘tache, or Dennis Hopper in the US, a symbol of libertarianism. That scruffy mustache was not only sexy, it was left-wing.”

Mira also highlights the sociosexual connotations of mustaches: “We cannot ignore the mustache’s association with gay men, which is an evolution of the dapper mustache of the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century and which in turn leads to the brimming mustache of the 1970s,” an exaggeration of the hyper-masculine esthetic that reigned during that decade and that gay men ended up appropriating. “I think from that moment, when the mustache became associated with gay men, heterosexual men started to avoid it,” Mira concludes.

There is of course a gay icon of the 1970s and 1980s who wore a mustache and converted it into a symbol: Queen front man Freddie Mercury, who wore his as a symbol of sexual freedom. During that era, it could be said that the mustache was both an image of American masculinity (actors like the aforementioned Reynolds and Selleck, whose heterosexuality was so overt and overwhelming that a simple mustache could not call it into question) and of European ambiguity.

Clean-shaven for MTV

“At a cultural level, the mustache has always been used to masculinize men,” says López, “and in some cases it has been used as an association with a profile of power. In fiction, it also marks an era: depending on the period and the type of mustache in question, it can pinpoint a character from the 1920s to the 1970s.” This all changed in the 1990s. “Then, a cleaner, more natural esthetic was being sought.” For evidence we need look no further than Calvin Klein advertisements, MTV and the popularity of teem shows that invaded prime time and turned facial hair into a throwback. Beards became the symbol of men who didn’t pay attention to their appearance (Homer Simpson and his ever-present five o’clock shadow) or to differentiate between a clean-cut matinee idol and a darker characterization, as when Brad Pitt sported one in Seven and Legends of the Fall to portray a tough guy type overwhelmed by tragedy.

A fine line between classicism and irony: John Waters’ mustache in 1990.
A fine line between classicism and irony: John Waters’ mustache in 1990. Nancy R. Schiff (Getty Images)

In the 1990s, a mustache was the exclusive preserve of the extravagant homosexual (John Waters), the comedian (Eddie Murphy) or the androgynous superstar (Prince). The fact that a mustache was not for everybody was framed in a famous episode of Friends, when Chandler decided to grow one to look more like Monica’s boyfriend, who was played by Tom Selleck. The results inspired the mirth of the rest of the group: during that time, only Selleck could keep his mustache and his dignity.

But a review of the history of the mustache would not be complete if it did not end at the face where it is most combative and militant: that of women. Where previously we spoke of the emergence of a mustache as a point of pride for young men on the path to maturity, in women it is seen as the first sign of a body rebelling against the supposed norm. “Few women in the public eye have had the courage to retain their upper lip hair. So few that the two who did, Frida Kahlo and Pattie Smith, are constantly remembered because of it,” wrote Raquel Peláez in an article for S Moda.

In the 2000s, with the mustache still banished from the ideal of masculine beauty, it is striking to remember that the most famous mustache in pop was sported by a woman: JD Samson, of US electroclash band Le Tigre. “”Something I recommend to everyone is to try to turn that thing that makes them feel most uncomfortable about themselves into a celebration,” Samson said in a video in which she explained her decision not to wax her upper lip. “Ever since I did it, it has changed my life.” Let’s follow her advice. Let’s free the mustache.

JD Samson of Le Tigre, pictured in New York in 2013.
JD Samson of Le Tigre, pictured in New York in 2013. Matthew Eisman (WireImage)

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