Note from BW of Brazil: Lights, cameras, actions, joy, dancing and women…usually nearly naked. These are some of the things that come to mind when Brazilians and non-Brazilians alike think of when they imagine Brazil’s yearly Carnaval celebration. But for many years now, black women activists have been pointing out how these images also contribute to the maintenance of the black woman in the place in which she is thought to belong in the Brazilian imagination. On the one hand of this equation there will be those who argue that Carnaval is simply an opportunity for black women to earn exposure, fame and money and as such, these activists should stop “hatin'”.
From the very beginning here at BW of Brazil, we have argued that Carnaval is the only time of year in which black women are not completely ignored by the mainstream media. The argument here is not so much that black women shouldn’t have the right to be seen as beautiful or sensuous, but the fact that this is one of the only ways they are regularly presented in the media! Even within feminists circles (dominated by white women), white activists fail to see the contrast in how the sexuality of white women and black women are envisioned in different manners, which adds complexity to the exhibition of all women during Carnaval.
We all know what comes to the mind of millions of men outside of Brazil when they think of the country in general and particularly during the Carnaval season. And Brazilian businessmen, cultural specialists and even economic research organizations are quick to take advantage of this sexualized image. Which leads us to today’s feature.
Outraged, Olívia Santana criticizes the recruitment of women for Carnival
Courtesy of Revista Black Life Brazil.
The state secretary of Policies for Women, Olívia Santana, was outraged with the news that was circulated, as much as the criteria supposedly used by Mega Polo Models, for a selection process of women who wish to work in the Carnival of Bahia in a camarote (VIP cabin), produced by the company 2GB, with Ambev (1) being responsible for the space.
In a letter already sent to the Attorney General of the Public Ministry of Bahia (MP-BA), Márcio José Fahel, the incumbent minister calls for action of the agency in the investigation of alleged selection process of women to work in the camarote during Carnival in Bahia.
Regarding the statement of the companies, who deny the authorship of the contract, the secretary Olívia Santana points out that it is essential that prosecutors investigate the virtual space through the Center for Combating Cybercrime (NUCCIBER) of the agency, led by attorney Fabrício Rabelo Paturi, so that they know the real culprits and that they are punished, as this practice reveals an incitement to prostitution, since the notice defines values from bodily attributes, asking for photos of bikinis, lingerie and even naked, that they would have access to private parties and would be luxury escorts.
“The SPM (Secretaria de Políticas para as Mulheres or Secretariat of Policies for Women) is already preparing to make the campaign of violence against women during Carnival 2015 and is aware of other violence, beyond the physical, such as the symbolic and sexual exploitation. We understand that prostitution is not a crime, but the incitement of prostitution is,” Olívia Santana pointed out.
Note from BW of Brazil: In another story that is not directly connected to the report above, but no doubt indirectly connected, a man in Rio who works in the city’s cultural industry, sought to earn a pretty penny for his “talent” for picking out gifted “mulatas”. Get the background on this story here. The following articles are from mid-October of last year and, as such, the title in question has already been resolved.
Globeleza is in crisis: mulatólogo requests R$1 million to choose new muse
by Fabíola Reipert
The greatest confusion at Globo TV is the choice of a new Globeleza girl for 2015 Carnaval.
After Valéria Valenssa, the station hasn’t managed to find a girl to replace and please the public. Nayara Justino, last year’s Globeleza, was very criticized and removed because of the rejection of the public.
Now Globo has sought the mulatólogo (mulatologist) Júlio César, the greater discoverer of mulatas of Brazil, and given him the mission of getting a woman at Valenssa’s level. But as the title of Globeleza is nearly a failure, he knows he must work to find a mulata and redeem the prestige of the post. He said that won’t accept less than R$1 million to sign the contract and also associate his name to this failure of the Globo. In 2014, he warned the station that Nayara didn’t have the Globeleza profile, but they didn’t want to listen to him.
Note from BW of Brazil: The article below was written by an activist who questioned the very idea of a black man defining himself as a “mulatologist” and in doing so, attracted the menacing wrath of man in question.
Our bodies do not belong to us: “mulatologist” requests a million reais to find the new Globeleza
by Charô Nunes
Brancas para casar, mulatas para foder, negras para trabalhar
(White woman for marriage, mulata women to fuck, black women for work) (2)
Nayara Justino will not be the new Globeleza (a title that is problematic, but it is not the subject of this post) and we know why the beauty lost her post. We’re not dealing with a lack of dancing the samba or charisma, after all she was elected by a popular vote (a questionable process, but it is not this aspect in particular that I want to address). What removed her from the air was an abject combination of racism and sexism in which branquidade (whiteness) reacted to in social networks to the presence of the girl on the small screen. A black woman in a country where the gradation of skin decides if you are made to marry, fuck or work.
The response to the controversy ~ came in a veiled and cruel manner, when Globo decided not broadcast the vinheta (propaganda clip) with the girl. Justino was aired only 36 times between February 7th and 25th, 2014. You do the math, this works out to exactly 2 appearances a day. Those who follow Carnival coverage, you know that this is nothing, absolutely nothing for a Globeleza (3). If she had appeared twice this total, it would still be nothing. Besides having vetoed her image, Justino was also prevented from even giving interviews. It’s enough that branquidade (the mentality of whiteness) demonstrated the least discontent at the station promptly abiding by the complaints, however misplaced it may be. Quite different from what has happened with Sexo e as Negas. The black woman having an opinion about herself is a lot of vandalism to endure.
All that could be wrong, is. A million times.
Apparently, now Globo decided to “change” its strategy. According to the self-proclaimed ~ greatest mulatólogo (mulatologist) (yes friends, this still exists) of the country, Júlio César, the station would have sought to find the new Globeleza. And if you’re already rolling in hate, you know that everything horrendous may get worse. And much worse. The person requested a cache of a million reais (US$381,000) to accomplish the task. All that could be wrong, is. A million times. We follow along as pieces, bodies for sale to the delight, enjoyment and profit others. As Djamila Ribeiro said, our bodies don’t belong to us: everyone has the privilege of an opinion, touching, violating, using and selling a carne mais barata do mercado (selling the cheap meat on the market).
Let us not forget who this “professional” is. Last year Júlio César, a black man, threatened to sue a black woman because she reacted to his livelihood. He accused her of racism because of the comments that she left on his blog!!! When I wrote about it saying that mulatólogo is not a profession, I also had to “deal” with the person and I only don’t publicize more than that, because I did not have the foresight to actually print it. This year, the mulatólogo made money selling mulatas during the World Cup. And now, he could happen to profit a million to find a new Globeleza. My stomach turns just thinking(about it).
How did I learn about this?
I received the message by email of the person’s press office – that moment of a completely blue screen!!!
Very exaggerated emotionalism
Of course they will say that this is dealing (with the question of) visibility; that this only happens because the dancers allow it, because they make their bodies available. That it has nothing to do with racism or sexism. Or still, it’s dealing with Brazilian popular culture, racial democracy. That any criticism is Puritanism or fanaticism. We are never happy. And now there’s a new one bingo, fighting for a human representation of the black woman is very exaggerated emotionalism (4), after all who is the black woman to think about herself? These feminists, all a bunch of capitães do mato (captains of the woods) (5)!!!
And just to enegrecer (blacken/make it clear) (6), no one here is questioning the girls who are dancers. Nobody wants to throw stones at them (yes, there’s this accusation also), much less want push rules over their lives. I’m talking about the absurdity of a man gaining rivers of money to literally ~ broker black women, from the secular alliance between racism and sexism that makes us goods in cultural product packaging without any major consequences, of being objeto tipo exportação (objects for exportation) for branquidade to splurge, as what happened recently at the IPEA.
Source: Revista Black Life Brasil, Oneirophanta, R7
1. Ambev, formally Companhia de Bebidas das Américas (official English translation: “Americas’ Beverage Company”, hence the name “Ambev”, formerly styled as “AmBev”) is a Brazilian brewing company. It is the biggest brewery in Latin America and the fifth in the world.
2. This is a well known Brazilian saying that has been referred to numerous times on this blog.
3. I have never sat and counted how many times a day the commercial airs, but in the week before Carnaval, the clip seems to air between 20-30 times per day!
4. A reference to the quote of the director of Brazil’s only primarily black college when asked how he saw black women protesting against the controversial TV program Sexo e as negas. See the interview and controversy here.
5. Captains of the woods, loosely meaning “house negroes”. In Brazil’s slavery era, the main task of the black capitão do mato was to hunt down, capture and return fugitive slaves to captivity.
6. The term enegrecer actually means “to blacken”. The proper term here would be esclarecer, meaning “to lighten” or “clarify”. As the terms negro/black and branco/white often have negative or positive meanings, the author here seeks to use the term negrecer in a more positive manner rather than the negative meaning usually associated with blackening/darkening.