Note from BW of Brazil: When you look up the term “muse”, which is “musa” in Portuguese, the following definitions appear: 1) a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. 2) In Greek and Roman mythology, each of nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences. The term “musa” is often used in Brazilian media sponsored contests in which various women compete for this title for whoever sponsors the event. As all eyes will be focused on Brazil as the countdown to the 2014 World Cup (which will be played in several cities all over the country) continues, what message does it send when all of the “musas” of one of the country’s top men’s magazines features all European looking women in a contest connected to the country’s top sport in anticipation of the world’s most popular championship? What does say about the country’s long touted “racial democracy” where everyone is “mixed” and “race” is not an issue? Considering VIP magazine’s own statistics this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The truth is, while the country continues to hide behind the facade of a racially democratic country, in most areas of prominence, the country continues portray itself as a European country in the tropics. Historically, as elites have always wished to rid itself of its huge African descendant population through the process of embranquecimento (whitening), this also shouldn’t come as a surprise. But how about simply admitting it: in Brazil, according to those who make the important decisions, whiteness is the preference, even as more and more Brazilians have noticed that this representation does not accurately portray the country’s reality. Oh well, this is the very reason why the Black Women of Brazil blog is necessary! Anyway, this is how the black women’s organization Geledés reported this latest example of black exclusion.
“Goddess of Brazil” contest: black women out of the competition
While the Confederations Cup was put on a show displaying their talented muses of diverse ethnicities, Brazil decided to appeal to what is completely unfashionable and politically incorrect.
The RLC site is announcing an open competition – popular vote – to elect the muse of Brazil in soccer. According to the site, “eleven breathtaking gatas (“cats”, meaning “hot/pretty women”) compete for the title of the Musa do Brazil (Muse or Goddess of Brazil), organized by the magazine VIP (published by Abril), which will give the public the power to decide which beauty will reign over the country of the World Cup.”
Voting is open and can be made until December 8th in the Musa do Brasil application in the VIP page on Facebook or on the site of the contest itself.
“In the application, you can check out photos in which each of the beauties of this team exudes charm and seduction to win your vote,” says the website. The winner will be announced during the prêmio Bola de Prata (Silver Ball award) ceremony, of Placar magazine (1), which chooses the highlights of the Brazilian Championship of soccer.
Besides the popular vote, the choices will be computed by the jury of VIP magazine, sponsors and soccer guests at the event. The winner will star in a full photo layout in the pages of VIP magazine in February 2014.
Everything is fine until you enter the address and come across the photo of the candidates, all (and only) white skinned, long straight hair, brunette or blonde, which sounds strange in a country where miscegenation and multiculturalism is a characteristic of the population.
And in an environment where most men – the main stars of an industry that generates billions of dollars – and are black or mixed – Estudos da Fundação Getúlio Vargas (Studies of the Getulio Vargas Foundation) on the impact of soccer on the national economy show that the revenue generated by the sport in Brazil can reach 1.1% of Produto Interno Bruto (PIB or GDP, Gross Domestic Product), or R$62 billion.
The RLC site reports that the Musa do Brasil contest received entries from all over Brazil; in July, the magazine pre-selected the 100 candidates and, in September, by popular vote, elected the 11 finalists.
Note from BW of Brazil: The key information in the selection process of the contest would be this: “the magazine pre-selected the 100 candidates” and then later the 11 finalists were chosen by popular vote. The question is, what did those 100 women “pre-selected” by the magazine look like? Were they a true representation of Brazil’s racial diversity or did they all or nearly all approximate the look of the 11 finalists? Considering the precedence established over the past century plus, this blog is inclined to accept the latter conclusion!
Source: VIP Musa do Brasil, Geledés,
1. Placar (meaning “score”) is a monthly Brazilian sports magazine. Its first edition was issued on March 20, 1970, and since then the it has become the most successful sports publication in Brazil, even though it focuses fully on football (soccer). It is published by Grupo Abril. Source