Are white women “aesthetically superior” to other women? How do standards of femininity affect black women?

Actress Ellen Roche
Actress Ellen Roche

Note from BW of Brazil: Today we touch upon a discussion about standards of feminine beauty and popular opinions in the public imagination. Last week, a controversial page on a social network provoked outrage among black Brazilian women who came across the page. In a page that many deemed blatantly racist, “eu não mereço mulher preta” (I don’t deserve a black woman) was taken down by Facebook after numerous complaints about its content. The page blatantly exalted the beauty of white women while simultaneously demeaning black women. The author went on to state something that many black Brazilian women believe to be true also: black Brazilian men prefer white women. The issue is one that fires up any social network debate and is often divisive within black Brazilian social media circles. The debate is usually divided between black women who accuse black men of abandoning them and black men whose overwhelming opinion is that “love has no color” and that deny the accusation. 

The debate reminds me of two books written in English about the racial situation in Brazil several years ago. In John Burdick’s Blessed Anastacia, the author reported going to dances in Rio and seeing black girls all dancing together as none of the boys were asking them to dance. “The black funkeiras are always by themselves,” said Carlinha, a teenage preta (black girl), “dancing alone and with each other.” The pattern is not just visible at dances….”It’s hard to stand next to a uma menina mais clara (a lighter girl) at a party. A guy passes by, he looks at you, he looks at her, he says something to her.” Also in Rio, Donna Goldstein reports situations in which people seem to know that dark-skinned blacks are too dark to be considered “Cinderella types” or fashion models, even if no one verbally states this opinion. Here is the crux of the issue. In Brazil, as the media is dominated by the European standard of beauty, it’s not hard to tell that the European phenotype is considered more physically attractive by a majority of the population regardless of race, even if people don’t acknowledge this sentiment verbally. This is after all the same country where hardly anyone admits to being personally racist although they all seem to know persons who are racist. 

But is the European standard in fact proof of superiority or is this yet another example of a standard imposed by the media that has such a powerful influence on popular opinion? While you ponder this question, consider the popularity of cosmetic surgery among women of Asian descent who want to look more Caucasian and the skin bleaching phenomena in Nigeria, Jamaica and other countries. Also consider the upsurge in deaths resulting from illegal silicone butt injections or breast augmentation surgeries, which one of every three Brazilian women have considered. Which leads us to two more questions. 1) How do people form their ideals of beauty and an ongoing obsessive pursuit of physical perfection? And 2) Would preferences be different if the public were consistently bombarded with media images of another race of women, black or Asian for example?

Throughout the material below, be sure to note snapshots of Google searches using the words atrizes brasileiras (Brazilian actresses), propagandas cerveja (beer ads), apresentadoras brasileiras (Brazilian female hosts) and modelos brasileiras (Brazilian models) to get an idea of what (skin color) one sees in image searches. In the two pieces below, we present two sides of the debate. One from presumably a male in his defense of white women being “aesthetically superior” while the second approaches this standard according to its affects on black women. Just for clarity, both essays are authored COMPLETELY by the writers. 

Are white women aesthetically superior to others?

Os padrões de feminilidade e a mulher negra - Mulheres brancas são esteticamente superior as demais-Q
“Beautiful branquinha (little white woman), with flat stomach and toned thighs”

Courtesy of Pobre da Tommy Hilfiger

Undoubtedly white women have more sexual prominence to the male audience than the others. But this is denied due to the standard of the politically correct. It is a reality that is in the face all the time and nobody comments (on it). White women activate more sexual desire of men. Men have a violent thing for white women. The exhibitionist white woman attracts the eyes of many more men than other women of different races who are also exhibitionists. White women have a “price” much higher than the others on the sexual market. It is the white woman who has the greatest feminine power in the sexual market!

A white woman is who meets the standards “fitness” of contemporary society where the central existential goal of young people is to be the gostosão (hunk) or the gostosona (hottie). She is even more desired, loved, valued than any other to the male world. A white woman gets promoted in an absurd manner in society. Basically, all women know that an attractive white woman has sexual superiority over the others. The female superiority is perceived by women as a greater sexual power. Sexual power is everything for modern women. Therefore, the sexual superiority of the white woman annoys many!

Google image search with words "Brazilian female hosts"
Google image search with words “Brazilian female hosts”

White women with an incremented body, usually has a happier love life than the others. They are happier in the exercise of exhibitionist self-assertion. The white woman promotes “amorous” inequality precisely because she is the center of love and sexuality of men!

But as everything has exceptions, I will point out some examples in which the white woman is seen as trash for men.

1) Fat: Fat people are repulsive in a general context. Therefore, the fat white woman is not desired and loved. Or they are wanted and loved by poor men and those of insufficient beauty.

2) Short: Height is also critical in the female world although this is far more destructive for a man. If you are a white woman and you are short, 1.68m (5’7”) or shorter you will not be so exalted sexually equally to a taller woman. Tall and gostosa (hot/tasty) white women humiliate them!

3) Single Mother: It’s no good being very white, gym body gostosinha but are a single mother. A young woman with child is looked down upon genetically by men.

These are some exceptions that affect the white woman in the question of power of attraction.

"See the example of branquinha in the photo just above. This is still hotter and of higher genetic quality than the other photo!"
“See the example of branquinha in the photo just above. This is still hotter and of higher genetic quality than the other photo!”

White women usually meet the sexual/hormonal interest and the genetic interest of man much more efficiently than the others. Beautiful and tasty branquinhas (white girls) satisfy the hormonal and genetics demand of the man. Men overestimate the “monogamous” standard and the biological standard with white women.

Among other examples that white women are an obsession for most men:

During college, which is the girl who is most widely spoken of in the social circle of the boys? The WHITE girl.

In the favela (slum), when a WHITE girl appears, she is the most competed for among the thugs and drug dealers in the area. In university environments, which is the physical profile of the woman who is the center of attention of young scholars? The WHITE woman. When a man becomes rich or famous it’s the WHITE WOMAN with whom most of them seek to have a relationship.

Google image search with words "Brazilian actresses"
Google image search with words “Brazilian actresses”

The truth is wide open for all to see. The white woman is more valued, loved and desired by most men!!

The truth is that with the sexual revolution and the opening of female freedom it’s obvious the preference of men for white women. The white woman is always the first option of amorous choice of men. The attractive white woman represents sexual elitism for most men. The beautiful white woman possesses the primacy in the system! A white woman only descends from the top of the male sex drive when she is destroyed by aging!

The standards of femininity and the black woman

By Jarid Arraes

Although progress is slow, discussions about the standard of beauty in our culture have been increasingly frequent. There is increasing criticism of the increasing amount of plastic surgery and its relation to gordofobia (fat-phobia) and the unattainable fantasy of the female body without stretch marks and cellulite. However, certain troublesome points still need to be raised: it is necessary to discuss the depth of aesthetic racism and its consequences for black women.

Google image search with words "Brazilian models"
Google image search with words “Brazilian models”

Girls grow up inserted into a culture that teaches them to admire the Disney princesses, Barbie and other thin, white characters that wind up in happy endings of prosperity. Many fantasize that they are one of those princesses, wish to own related toys and products and, of course, aim to become physically similar. The problem is that the standard of beauty perpetuated by these figures starts a kind of indoctrination that from an early age teaches gender stereotypes based in sexism and racism.

As much the princesses of the past as the newer princesses have many things in common: big eyes, long eyelashes, pink lips, flushed cheeks, thin noses, silky hair flying in the wind in a mesmerizing way. Not coincidentally, this female representation is not limited to the infant universe, repeating itself also in adulthood, often present in fashion catalogs, television advertisements, movies and novelas (soap operas). Most actresses considered beautiful have long hair of a smooth texture, delicate facial features and behavior that varies from the sweet to the sensual, like many animated female characters of made for the children’s audience.

Google image search with words "beer ads"
Google image search with words “beer ads”

What may end up going unnoticed, however, is that the standard of beauty is not only bad for creating a form of the best physical appearance in which all women should fit. The culture of white and thin beauty also creates and disseminates gender standards full of clichés and sexist paradigms: women absorb that they need to be “feminine” and therefore must have a physical appearance that “exudes” this femininity. While for a white woman there are more possibilities of falling into some of the requirements, for a black woman, her social position will be summarily distinct.

One could say that all black women have painful memories of childhood and adolescence. Black girls and young women assimilate that they are “different” and suffer from not feeling beautiful – often to the point of not even managing to identify with the experience of “being a woman”. It turns out that because of cabelo crespo (kinky/curly hair), a broad nose and dark skin, society doesn’t expect from black women any expression of tenderness or weakness, traits considered typically female. People watch – as much on television as in real life – that the body of the black woman is reduced to sexual exploitation and physical labor and these are the values ​​that they reproduce.

Effectively, the fantasies of Western femininity correspond only to white women. The myths of beauty and feminine fragility, for example, are internalized in our minds from the media vehicles. The media bombards audiences of all ages with the idea of ​​the passionate female figure that, with her irresistible beauty, is saved by a gentleman with acts of heroism. Even the most subtle aspects influence our perception of gender roles, including not only the physical type or dress so recurrent in the female characters, but also the personality and how it is expressed; how the eyes blink, swinging hair in the wind or wiggling and put the hand on the waist re-enforces an extremely macho frame of femininity, which in most cases is also racist and excludes black women in its representation.

It is not that gentle or delicate women are outside of the scope of reality, or even that white women also don’t suffer from the standard of beauty. But it is necessary to deepen our gender analysis more. Few people expect a black woman who works as a maid will correspond to a role of gender fragility – on the contrary, what is considered “normal” is that she has rough hands, even being an individual of the female sex. Although the concept of femininity is limiting and sexist, we must ask: why is the expected standard of gender of a black woman different from that of a white woman?

Femininity is still a confusing stereotype and its roots remain strong and influential. The truth is that any attempt to divide the world into male and female social roles is sexist; to expect that men and women have certain behaviors because of their gender corresponds to an immobilization of human autonomy. The solution is not to multiply the forms for all women, but to deconstruct the concepts of femininity and female beauty – always remembering that it is essential to focus attention on racism in the inquiries about aesthetic standards.

Source: Pobre do Tommy Hilfiger, Revista Fórum, Burdick, John. Blessed Anastacia: Women, Race and Popular Christianity in Brazil. Routledge, 1998. Goldstein, Donna. Laughter Out of Place: Race, Class, Violence, and Sexuality in a Rio Shantytown. University of California Press, 2003

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. You guys need to lay off this type of statements. It is a sign of low self esteem. There are a lot of very beautiful Black women out there that even white women envy. You have to love yourself before anyone can love you. If Black Brazilian women cannot find spouses, them they should be willing to marry foreigners. The world is global now, you cannot sit in one place and moan about your problems. White women (in America) are the ones who inject silicone into their buttocks, see Iggy Azalea because that is what ALL MEN want. I remember visiting a club in Rio that had mostly white women, when my friend and I turned around to leave, the doorman asked why, we told him we wanted to be around some Black women and his mouth just dropped. Respect yourself and see the world as your oyster. STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF.

    • Thank you Charles…i completely agree with you. This post is silly female ish (not to sound sexist)…I can not believe how often I come across this topic on this blog rearticulating tired complaints from black women not supposedly getting attention from black male or other males.

      1) Your sense of self worth and beauty should be discovered within (you don’t need the world to tell you your beautiful) and it’s sad the people who write and agree with such post feel otherwise that they need men to give them attention to feel beautiful

      2) You don’t see the black men in Brazil (or elsewhere)l complain how their black sisters would give any average looking white guy the same amount of attention a brother would give a white girl just because he is perceived as having more money/wealth/power due to his white skin

      It’s time to put these redundant and shallow arguments to rest. Just because an article is well written doesn’t mean the main concept is correct. Learn to play with the cards your dealt and find happiness within.

      • Is the guy who created the facebook page a racist a-hole who looks like a deformed merecat …FACT, is he nothing more than cerveja drinking Brazilian trailer park lixo who is to ignorant to realize the rap freestyles he does on his youtube page was created by the same people who he claims to hate…FACT, is his opinions representative of every member of society or should they affect how beautiful black women see themselves… SUPER FALSE!

        I wish all these scholarly articles or books like Virou Regra would say it is important that women especially black women develop a sense of self worth w/o relying on male attention. For the highly intelligent women (some even with PhDs) who spend so much time writing scholarly works about this topic, it is very sad I have never seen one say how a black woman shouldn’t need to rely on male attention or a racist society to develop self worth

  2. Djibril exactly what valid points this blog post raised? This is yet another in a series of post that highlight the issues of low self-esteem in the global Black Community.

    Without direct control of media outlets, you cannot complain that White women are put on a pedestal because White owned media put them there. Sure they throw you a bone every so often as not to appear racist, but like I said they own the media at the end of the day and can show you whatever image they want to show you.

    No amount of b*tching and moaning is going to change that.

    The part of the post of what White men value in White women is consistent around the world. You must be thin, tall, attractive and without children before marriage.

    In America, Black women, especially dark skin Black women suffer from acute self-esteem problems that lead them to make questionable decisions especially around sex and reproductive health.

    As a man who dates White women, I don’t put a higher value on them. Otherwise I would accept things I wouldn’t accept from a Black woman, IE the majority of BW have out of wedlock children.

    I don’t accept obesity either. Now having said that, I have experienced all the above and come to the conclusion it’s totally unacceptable.

    With any woman, I don’t accept bad behavior, coming from single parent households, poor education, poverty, short in stature and out of wedlock children.

    I also don’t accept divorced women either. If women believe divorced men are damaged good, I don’t believe women are any better since in America 70% are brought about by women.

    My life is not one of the average Black person so what I do and say should not have any impact on the wider community, as their life experiences on average are 180 to mine.

    • @Thomas, Djibril was addressing what I wrote and not the blog. Also if you were raised by proud Black parents like I was you will understand that not all Black women suffer from a low self esteem. I have been to Brazil and it seems the Brazilian Blacks themselves are complicit in their own condition.Instead of complaining about not having men to marry nothing stops them from marrying foreigners. However I noticed on a trip to Bahia that even the lighter skinned Blacks look down on their darker skinned counterparts. Brazilians need to look inward.BTW learn to be humble, your post comes across as infantile. What do you mean you are not an average Black person, are you worth more than 5 Million dollars, do you own a private jet? Come off that crap brother, you are better than that!

      • Which foreigners do you suggest black women to marry? The vast majority of foreigners that come to Brazil are white. Or do you suggest the low income Brazilians (most of them Black) go to the US and find love in Harlem?

      • How in the world does my post sound like a child speaking?

        What factor does being a millionaire have to do with anything? I do not need to explain by background other than to say both parents are college educated, graduated from well known universities.

        I’ve lived 95% of my life around non-Black people. The only Blacks I kept in regular contact with are direct relatives, who are also highly educated and don’t live in Black enclaves either.

        So as I said my perspective is one that is removed from mostly negative situation that most Blacks find themselves in.

        If you have read my other post on this blog, I have suggested regularly that instead of complaining about Black men in Brazil not marrying them or making them their first choice, to seek men from other countries, which they do anyway but to expand on it.

  3. Dear Sisters of BW don’t believe for one minute that the white female will ever be superior to you,as it was stated earlier whites own the media. I am a Afro-American male there is no woman in the world more desire than the Afro-Brazilian Women trust and believe if Afro-American Men could have a Sistas to have and to hold you would be our choice .Why do you think they say Brazil has the most beautiful women in world? Because of you in every shade and hue. When it’s Carnaval time it is you that they show. We Love you.

  4. @Which, the world is now global, the last time I was in Brazil, I saw a lot of Haitians, Africans, Angolans and others. If a Brazilian man will not marry you then marry one of these men except you also have your own hang ups about marrying others.Secondly, I am sure most Brazilian women even poor ones have access to the internet, why don’t you have someone translate for you and join dating sites, I am sure many men from all over the world will come calling. Thirdly, even if you are poor and Black, there are countries that will grant you visas to work as Nannies and au pairs, even if the visa is for one year, it gives you an opportunity to see the world. I am 45 years old, till today the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on in my life was a Black nanny I saw in a restaurant in Bahia. If that woman got the same job in Dubai, she would never ever return to Brazil. Black Brazilians also need to look inward, I have 5 Black Brazilian friends here in LA and they are all married to white women. It seems they suffer from a deep sense of low self esteem.

    @Anthony Thomas, read your post carefully again. If you do not see anything wrong with what you wrote then God help you. You also have a terrible low self esteem which you attempt to disguise as a superiority complex. No educated proud Black man will post the rubbish you wrote below. “The only Blacks I kept in regular contact with are direct relatives, who are also highly educated and don’t live in Black enclaves either.” In other words you kept in contact of people of other races. Please Go with them, WE CERTAINLY DO NOT WANT YOU!

    • @Charles: In reality, there are a number of black women here who are taking the initiative to open dialogue with black men in other countries. There are foreign black men coming here and I’ve seen a surge in black Brazilian women and black African and/or Haitian men over the past few years. But as can be expected, along with this comes the rejection of some of their families who reproduce the same anti-African rhetoric that has been passed down through the nation for centuries. Some are connecting with black American men as well. It will be interesting to see what happens although I don’t see this is as overall addressing the basic issue. Black women see the problem whereas black men either ignore it, refuse to have an open dialogue about it or let their actions speak for themselves. What we see is the necessity of a re-structuring of black identity here as a whole, which is an issue that no amount of trans-cultural dating will fix. And certainly there aren’t enough foreign black men who have interest in Brazil to adequately address the issue.

      I also agree with your point here: “Black Brazilians also need to look inward, I have 5 Black Brazilian friends here in LA and they are all married to white women. It seems they suffer from a deep sense of low self esteem.”

      In fact, this is the point of covering this issue. In the US, I’ve seen numerous black Brazilians, both connected to the racial struggle and not almost exclusively married to white women. The same in Capoeira circles. When I meet a black Brazilian man in the racial struggle and married to a black woman I tend to take him more seriously. In my circles of SP and Rio it amazes me how many black men who consider themselves to be part of the racial struggle don’t see or ignore their partner selections and don’t a deep problem there. Too many stories to tell here!

      Thanks for your comment on this and also for you comment to Anthony which went as follows: “@Anthony Thomas, read your post carefully again. If you do not see anything wrong with what you wrote then God help you. You also have a terrible low self esteem which you attempt to disguise as a superiority complex. No educated proud Black man will post the rubbish you wrote below. “The only Blacks I kept in regular contact with are direct relatives, who are also highly educated and don’t live in Black enclaves either.” In other words you kept in contact of people of other races. Please Go with them, WE CERTAINLY DO NOT WANT YOU!”

      @Anthony Thomas: To be honest, because of the comments you’ve posted over the past several months I’ve long wondered what your angle was and where you’re coming from. I had an idea but I wasn’t certain. I will say that your revelations confirmed something I thought for a while.

      “I’ve lived 95% of my life around non-Black people. The only Blacks I kept in regular contact with are direct relatives, who are also highly educated and don’t live in Black enclaves either.” – “As a man who dates White women…”

      All of the things you have previously written make total sense now. This is not to say one cannot have little contact with the black community and also date non-black women and not have a serious commitment to “the struggle” but in my experiences I ALWAYS find that people within this profile often come up short of “getting it”. Your comments come across as the “educated”, “I’m above you regular negroes” type of posture, which may or may not be true, but this is how it comes across. This leads to pointing out “the majority of BW have out of wedlock children” without addressing the social factors that contribute to such a factor. The same is true when we make statements about “Without direct control of media outlets, you cannot complain that White women are put on a pedestal” or “No amount of b*tching and moaning is going to change that”.

      Your attitudes towards the posts on interracial marriage are true to the profile I usually notice among those who have this posture. As you don;t deal with 95% of black people and also date non-black women it makes your vision almost synonymous with “those people”. A sort of, “I’m successful; what’s wrong with the rest of you” which in my view is symbolic of black elite who often look out for themselves as individuals and then look down upon the group. Again, I don’t know you so I can’t any assumptions but in my experience this is often the profile.

      The blog is not about “bitching and moaning” as you call it. The objective is to report issues and conversations of race and what people are saying. And as the society is incredibly influenced by a racial hierarchy and discrimination, often among the oppressed themselves, this comes across often. White people often see this as “bitching and moaning” and it’s very revealing when black folks also assume this attitude. But very well. At least we know where you stand and a few of the reasons for those stances.

  5. Post from a beautiful sista:

    A Goddess is a woman worshiped for her inspiring strength, power, and beauty. The White Goddess has been placed high upon a pedestal, marked for praise and worship due to her beauty and femininity. But I’ve got news for you. The White Goddess is just a myth. Ultimately the White Goddess has no real power. Her authority reigns over only the weak who see her as a pure beauty, and obey because they have been told to do so, by those in society who have crowned her as the Goddess. When contested by the strength of a real woman, she is powerless. Helpless in the presence of a Queen. She will show her weaknesses and then claim them to be femininity. But a Goddess is not weak. She is strong, and powerful, and beautiful, which is why the White Goddess is a false Goddess. Her femininity and beauty have been fabricated from the weak, as the ideal for all women. This is a straight lie in attempt to gain power. Since she has no real power, her only gain can be through deception and the use of sexual provocation. If you believe the beauty of a White Goddess is real, than you have allowed her to take control over you.

    I for one will not let this happen. I am a beautiful Queen. I am a strong and powerful black woman who enjoys every opportunity to remove the White Goddess from her pedestal, and let her know her rightful place. It is not she, that should be worshiped, for it is the Queen.

    The White Goddess expects her way to be the law of the land, and when she does not get her way, she will unleash her wrath. Her fury. This is simply out of fear. She is afraid she will lose her control over the weak and must attempt to act with strength. But it is in this that she will ultimately fail, for she has no power over the strong. The White Goddess is docile by nature. When confronted by real strength she becomes submissive and obedient to the true authority. This is not Goddess like, but subservient. A woman so high and mighty should not be so weak. We must not allow the continuation of this perpetuated myth to keep going. We must confront it and end the reign of the White Goddess, so she will one day learn where she belongs, and it is worshiping at the feet of the true Queen. 🙂

  6. A WHITE WOMAN WILL NEVER BE More better looking..Sure some are nice looking women but there’s a reason plain ass Giselle Bunchen is chosen over the honey chocolate dipped women over there//it’s called WHITE SUPREMECY

  7. There is beauty in all races BUT unfortunately, Black women have seldom received the admiration that they should.
    It’s not about white women being “better” or “prettier”…it is the lie of white supremacist conditioning that tells us this, and ignores/denies the beauty in other types of women.
    It attacks Black womanhood in a very hurtful and destructive way.

    It is easy for some people to tell a Black woman to simply get some self-esteem but first, we need to look at the root of the problem. It often starts early.

    1. Parents/authority figures who fail to uplift, support and affirm young Black girls. All girls need this, but Black girls need it the most in a cruel world. It is important to give them tools to deal with what is out there.

    2. Black girls growing up without loving fathers in their lives…the importance of this can’t be denied. When a girl has a caring and kind father, she is more likely to have a more positive self-image and make better choices in life. On the other hand, if she has an absent father or an abusive/neglectful father figure, her self-esteem is likely to be low.

    3. Black girls who are mocked or bullied for not fitting certain beauty standards will often internalize what people say about their features, hair and complexion…this applies to light-skinned Black girls as well as their darker sisters.
    It is vital to start teaching our daughters that they are beautiful from the time they are little so they won’t grow up with a complex of self-hate. We need to affirm the beauty of their skin no matter what shade it is, their hair, all of them. Some might say this breeds conceit but I think that when a young Black girl is repeatedly told she is pretty and has other positive qualities, it helps to raise self-confidence. We need to take care of them and help them to practice self-care as part of their skills for life. Don’t let them feel ugly or “less than”…build them up as much as you can.

    4. To the grown and sexy…my brothers, part of the reason some Black women have such low self-esteem is because of what they deal with; racism AND sexism. When a Black woman hears you praising the hair or the looks of a non-black woman but making derogatory comments about *her* features and women like her, it cuts deep.
    It is fine to think white women are pretty if that’s what you like, but putting down sisters reveals your own issues. Black women have their own unique beauty and it should be cherished…not disrespected. And you might say that white women get butt injections but there is more to a Black woman’s appeal than her booty; what about complimenting her hair, her pretty smile, her overall presentation?

    5. Another issue is when certain people stereotype even the most feminine, soft-spoken Black woman as being “angry” or having attitude. This also does harm to the image and self-image of Black women because it is another attack on their femininity.

    When Black women have their beauty affirmed, it allows them to see that they are not inferior to white women or any other type of woman out there. In fact, when a Black woman is encouraged to feel beautiful and see herself as worthy, the less likely she will be to internalize the crap people throw at her in life.

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