Note from BBT: So, as I’ve been saying for a few weeks now, the question of feminism in Brazil is a topic I’ve been wanting to dive into for a minute and I have good reason. For those of you who have followed me over to YouTube and followed my blog up to about three years ago, you know that the original name of the blog was Black Women of Brazil. Today, the blog as well as this youtube channel is called black brazil today and there numerous reasons of which I felt the need to change the name.
The first reason was because so many people online thought that black women of brazil was actually run by a group of black women from Brazil, which it never was. One thing I’ve known for some time is that, no matter the topic, even if you’re on the same side as your colleagues in the struggle, you’re not going to agree on everything and one of many topics that demonstrated this was the docuseries entitled Surviving R. Kelly. Anyone who knows my opinion on that whole topic and the documentary know that I have never condoned Kelly’s behavior underage girls.
In fact, I regularly maintained that if Kelly, in fact, committed the crimes he was accused of, he should do the time. But what I also pointed out along the way was that there were several of uncomfortable details about that whole scandal that no one seemed to want to acknowledge. Because I pointed these things out, people regularly accused me of defending R.Kelly, which I never did. at that point, I had already been considering changing the name of the blog and after all of the accusations being hurled my way, I decided it was time make the change.
Even though there was a page on my blog that clearly showed who I was, I understood that, because of the name, people continued to believe that the material on the blog was posted by a group of black Brazilian women and thus may have believed that I spoke for black women of brazil in relation to the R.Kelly situation. Again, I never did that and even if I were, the situation proved that many movements don’t allow other points of view that may go against the narrative of that particular movement.
Anyway, somewhere along the way, I began to question some of the goals of Brazil’s feminist movement and specifically the black feminist movement when I began to participate in a few black Brazilian men’s social network groups as well as follow an online magazine by a group of Afro-Brazilian men and women who took issue with many aspects of the feminist movement. Along with my own political development over the past few decades, I’ve come to believe that when there is big money behind leftist movements, they usually don’t have the best interest on issues affecting the black community.
Of course, I could be wrong, but as I always ask those who reject anything I say, what if I’m right? In my own analysis of numerous leftist movements involving the black community, I’ve come to discover that, in many ways, our people and community were and continue to be exploited, manipulated and used for a larger agenda that had nothing to do with advancing the condition of the black community. To this end, I’ve had to analyze movements for civil and black rights, including the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panthers, organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League as well as a recent example in Black Lives Matter, which has taken hold in Brazil as well with an exact translation of the phrase in Portuguese, Vidas Negras Importam.
My conclusion is that these movements were not what they were reported to be, thus, as funding and support of many women’s groups also comes from the some of the same social engineers, feminism must also be analyzed under this microscope. For years, many activists have questioned the influence of the feminist movement and its affect on the black community. With the rise of black feminism in Brazil, I’ve wondered what the effect would be on Brazil, so in an ongoing analysis, I wanted to consider what was going on with black feminism in Brazil.
Furthermore, I need to point out, that social movements don’t always have 100% support of the groups in which they claim to represent because people have varying opinions on whatever issue. So, just as all black people didn’t support the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, all members of the LGBT community don’t support that movement, and everyone clearly didn’t support Black Lives Matter, the movement, many women also doesn’t support feminism.
In fact, if you search online, you will find many women who were once feminists but have since left the movement.
A quick search on YouTube and you will find Brazilian women making videos entitled
Porque não sou FEMINISTA! (Why I am not a FEMINIST)
Ex-feminista explica por que abandonou o feminismo (Ex-feminist explains why she abandoned feminism)
O mundo não precisa do feminismo? | Isabella Trevisani … (Does the world not need feminism?)
PQ O FEMINISMO NÃO ME REPRESENTA? (WHY DOESN’T FEMINISM REPRESENT ME?)
Some might argue, “Those women are a minority.” That may or may not be true. Of course, a previous study reported that 51% of Brazilian women define themselves as feminists, but this survey didn’t actually interview every woman in Brazil, but rather a very small number of women when considering there are tens of milions of women in a country with 215 million people.
But even if non-feminists are actually the minority in Brazil, these voices must all be heard because we all have the right to our opinions and the right to change our minds without the threat of shaming, violence or cancellation. For years, when I considered myself a leftist, there were certain points that black conservatives would make that I simply couldn’t dismiss because I knew deep down that sometimes they were right. This is the same way I approach the issue of feminism.
So to introduce the topic, I wanted to continue to report on the growth of feminism in Brazil as I did with a previous report that showed that feminism in Brazil grew from 39 percent of Brazilian women identifying themselves as feminists in 2019, to 51 percent in 2022, with a large parcel of that support coming from the black community. Consider the report below courtesy of Gênero e Número. As the piece below is courtesy of Gênero e Número, I need to point out that the piece doesn’t represent my own views but simply a report that shows the growth of feminism within Brazil’s black community. With that said, let’s check it out.
Black men and women are closer to feminism than white people in Brazil, survey finds
Datafolha also shows that almost half of evangelical men support the movement
By Vitória Régia da Silva of Gênero e Número
Black women are the Brazilians who most consider themselves feminists, among the women who declared adherence to the political cause. Among men, almost half of the practitioners of evangelical religions declare support for the movement. These are some of the results of the first Datafolha survey directed at the theme, released in April of 2019.
The women who declared themselves to be feminists represent 47% of the black women, 37% of the brown women and 36% of the white women surveyed in the study. Overall, 38% of Brazilians consider themselves feminists, while 52% of men say they support feminism.
“If on the one hand we live in a more conservative and reactionary moment, the survey shows that we had transformations in the perception and identification with feminism. The number of black women who identify themselves as feminists shows that, at the least, feminism is not rejected within this group,” Flávia Mateus Rios, researcher and doctor in sociology at the University of São Paulo (USP), tells Gênero e Número.
Datafolha surveyed 2,086 Brazilians with a minimum age of 16. There were 1,095 women and 991 men in 130 cities all over the country, on April 2nd and 3rd of 2019. The margin of error is two percentage points higher or lower.
For Rios, the growth and expansion of black feminism [a strand of feminism that discusses gender and racial issues] is due to affirmative action that has allowed black women to reach universities, have more access to information, and group together in mobilization collectives.
“Black feminists have appropriated technology and communication tools, such as social networks, which also enables a greater diffusion of the discussions most taking place within the periferies of cities and in the black population. It is also important to highlight collectivities such as slams, hip hop and funk culture, which have been asserting themselves in terms of gender and affect mainly black women, who are mostly part of this social stratum,” she highlights.
Another survey conducted on International Women’s Day, March 8, in 2017, and released exclusively by Gênero e Número, meaning Gender and Number, already revealed that most protesters saw the cause of black women as a priority for the feminist movement.
Among evangelical men, support for feminism is significant and reaches 45%. Among the Neopentecostals (from churches such as Universal of the Kingdom of God and Assembly of God), this rate rises to an astonishing 48%. Some leaders of these segments are notorious detractors of the movement, such as Silas Malafaia, pastor of the Assembly of God, and Marcos Feliciano (Podemos/SP), congressman and member of the same church.
Also among the men who declared support for the feminist movement, the proportion of black and brown people is higher (55% and 54%, respectively) than that of white people (50%).
According to the researcher, there is a significant difference in how black feminism deals with black men and how feminism in general deals with men, which could explain the difference in support. “Black feminism has never been radicalized towards the figure of men, precisely because of the experience of oppression common to the racial group, although it has strong critiques, is autonomous, and tackles the gender problem within the black community.”
She further points out that black women have fought for a greater politicization of black men with regard to gender hierarchies and domestic violence. Gradually, this has generated greater awareness and the construction of more recent autonomous debates, such as the discussion of black masculinity.
Violence against women
According to Datafolha, nine out of ten Brazilians totally or partially agree that violence against women has increased in the last year. Black people are the ones who most disagree that the laws in Brazil are adequate to protect women: 61%, against 57% of whites and 55% of browns.
“If public policies on the one hand generate more debate and protective resources regarding violence, they will not necessarily objectively reduce the aggressions to which these women are subjected,” says Rios. “The black population, women in particular, feel very vulnerable in relation to the State due to institutional racism. The different treatment between blacks and whites makes black women feel these differences and all these dimensions of discrimination,” she adds.
Over a decade, between 2007 and 2016, the homicide rate for black women grew by 23%, in the face of a 3% increase in the rate for non-black women, according to information from Datasus’ Mortality Information System.
Source: Gênero e Número