In its 35 years in Brazil, Playboy magazine has put out more than 430 issues, and featured some of the most beautiful Brazilian women to grace its pages, yet and still, as in other areas of Brazilian society, Afro-Brazilians are extremely underrepresented on the covers of the prestigious men’s magazine. How underrepresented? Since the introduction of Playboy’s Brazilian edition, only 2% of its 400 plus covers have featured a black woman. The most recent was Jacqueline Faria, a Carnaval dancer that participated in the reality series Big Brother Brazil 11, and was tagged with the title of “the most aphrodisiatic curves of BBB” by the editors of Playboy Brasil.
Dancer/model Rosiane Pinheiro was one of the black women featured on the cover of Playboy after being chosen by the Brazilian soccer team as the “Muse of the World Cup” back in June of 1998. For her, this isn’t a thing of prejudice. “I think, in fact, black women who are successful don’t wish to appear naked. Some advocate for being politicized and other principles”, reflects Rosiane, who says she was welcomed by the staff of the magazine. Pinheiro didn’t reveal how much she was paid for being on the cover, but she said it was enough make a big change in the life of her whole family. “I could buy a house, a car, open a business and even re-build my mother’s house”, said the dancer.
So, here once again, we have a situation where those responsible for a product and making decisions of who can best represent that product blaming its lack of diversity on Brazilian society. In Brazil, it is common to hear business people say that they can’t use black people to sell their product because if consumers see black faces they will assume the product is for and targeted to persons of lower class status. This despite the fact that more and more Afro-Brazilians are becoming a part of Brazil’s expanded middle class and actresses like Taís Araújo and Camila Pitanga are trailblazing paths of success never before experienced by Afro-Brazilian actresses.
a. Branca é branca preta é preta. Mas a mulata é a tal
(A white woman is a white woman, a black woman is a black woman, but the mulata is the best).
b. Branca para casar, mulata para foder, negra para trabalhar
(White woman for marriage, mulata woman for fucking, black woman for work).
c. Porque és mulata na cor. Mas como a cor não pega mulata. Mulata eu quero o teu amor
(Because you are mulata in color. But since I can’t catch your color. Mulata I want your love).
In the lyrics to song “a”, the mulata woman is worshiped as the best choice. In “b”, the mulata is good enough to have sexual relations but not marriage. In song “c”, as long as the mulata’s color doesn’t rub off on the author, he wants her love. Thus, if we relate these ideals to the absence of black (mulata) women in Playboy Brasil magazine, we can say that although certain black women (mulatas) are very attractive, they are only good enough for sexual relations without a respectable relationship (or in the case of the magazine, public acknowledgement of her beauty). And since no one wants the burden that comes with this color (as such, it can’t sell magazines), only a sexual relationship is possible. Is there any wonder there are so few Afro-Brazilian women on the covers?
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.
1. At the time of the interview, only five black women had appeared on the cover of Playboy Brasil, one of which was the African-American woman Darine Stern. Since the time of the interview, actress Juliana Alves and dancer Jaqueline Faria also appeared on covers bringing the total to seven. In the top photo, the Brazilian women featured on the covers are: From left to right, top: Jaqueline Faria (May 2011) (black & white covers), Isabel Fillardis (November 1996), Sônia Lima (February 1996). From left to right, bottom: Janaína Santos (October 2002), Jéssica Maia (February 2010), Rosiane Pinheiro (June 1998) and Juliana Alves (October 2010).
Article incorporates an article found in Jornal Massa