In a gesture that is becoming as regular as the main event itself, black models organized a protest against under-representation at Fashion Rio’s Winter edition. As with similar protests staged in Brasília, São Paulo and previous fashion shows in Rio, the objective is to raise public awareness of the fact that non-whites make up 51% of Brazil’s population although one would never know this judging from the whiteness of models on runways. A report four years ago showed that São Paulo Fashion Week in January of 2008 featured 344 models with only 8, or 2.3% being black.
Arm in arm and bare-chested, a group of protesters from the NGO Educafro movement walked the aisles of the 22nd edition of Fashion Rio on Wednesday (7) to protest the lack of blacks on Brazilian catwalks.
42-year old lawyer Creuzimar Gomes, a member of Educafro, came to the protest with her breasts exposed and said that this is the seventh time that the NGO has appeared at the event. See video of her comments below and in the video:
“This event never has black participants. Women, men. Blacks don’t parade, blacks don’t participate, blacks are not invited. We are here, a large part of the Brazilian population is black. Brazil is a mixed country, mainly black, we are part of this country and we have rights here.”
Speaking on her exposed breasts, she continued:
“We came here like this, we are like this. Africa is nude. We come into the world like this. We are free.We have to call attention to the lack of representation of blacks. Unfortunately we had to strip naked. I’m a 42-year old black woman with 3 degrees and I am here. Prejudice is huge, prejudice affects us. We are fighting, we are battling. We have to protest. There are black women that are pretty, beautiful…Are we parading, our profile is not European. There should be a runway that is at least mixed. Where is it?”
According Moisés Alcunã, one of the coordinators of Educafro, the idea is to cover the minimum 10% representation of black models in each modeling parade. “We already have an agreement of this representation with the public ministry. Brazil is as rich and miscegenated as it is misrepresented.”
“It seems that we are a Nordic country!,” complained actor Marco Rocha, who walked beside Alcunã. “If we have attention out here, why not there inside?”, he asked. Along with the parade, the models, with their faces and bodies painted, did performances, calling attention of the public. “Art is the best way to protest, it creates reflection, makes people rethink their place,” said Alcunã.
Educafro is a national organization that promotes the inclusion of black people in public and private universities, in addition to fighting for the state to fulfill its obligations to the black population for the end of ethnic discrimination.
The curious thing about Creuzimar’s participation is that yesterday, having seen a few black models parade the runways with their breasts exposed while seeing no white models doing the same, Carlos Roberto Silva asked if the event’s organizers thought of black women as “natives” or only sex objects, revisiting a question we posed only a few weeks ago. Concluding, he lamented what he saw because “the black woman doesn’t deserve this.”
What do you think? Is the exposure of breasts a connection to sexual objectification? Is it a form of women’s liberation? Is it a way of normalizing the human body? Are exposed breasts viewed differently if the woman is black or white? Should this even be an issue?
Feel free to leave a comment.