Which contest excluded black women this time? Oh, Miss Bumbum. Of course, there are no black women with shapely butts, right?

Competitors for Brazil’s “Miss Bumbum 2012” contest*

 Well, this certainly isn’t a surprise, but then, maybe it is. If you’ve followed any of the posts here at BW of Brazil, you know that the exclusion of Afro-Brazilians is nothing new; in reality, in Brazil, it’s the standard! But this annual contest to find the woman with the best butt in Brazil has to take the cake. It’s one thing that Brazil’s women’s magazinestelevision programsbeauty contestsmodeling runways and even men’s adult magazines are dominated by people who look as if they came straight from Europe, but how is it that a contest that awards the woman with the best “asset”, an “asset” that women of African descent have always been made the subject of disgust, objectification, eroticism and exoticism, excludes any women of visible African ancestry?!?** Not even a light-skinned “mulata“?

Contestants from the states of:
top, L to R: Acre, Alagoas, Amapá, Amazonas, Bahia
bottom, L to R: Ceará, Federal District, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão

 In some ways, one could argue that this is a double-edged sword. I mean, after all, isn’t this just another contest that simply objectifies a woman’s body? In this case, maybe it’s better that Afro-Brazilian women weren’t part of this contest anyway. Well, considering that this is Brazil, which has a worldwide image of beautiful women parading, and shaking what their mamas gave ’em on a national and international stage, this is a contradiction. Brazil’s yearly Carnaval is proof in itself that there are countless Afro-Brazilian women who have no problem with partial or near complete public nudity and self-exhibition. As we have discussed previously here on this blog, the stereotypical roles that Brazilian society has set aside for women of African descent are that of the maid, the cook, the sexual fantasy and the Carnaval dancer. Because of these stereotypes associating black women with gyrating hips and hyperactive sexuality, when black Brazilian women achieve prestigious honors that have nothing to do with their bodies, it is not rare that they are thought to be out of their element.

Contestants from the states of:
Top, L to R: Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba
Bottom, L to R: Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte

 But back to this question of the appreciation of the ass. One could argue that mainstream American society only recently began to express an admiration for a voluminousness backside since the rise of Puerto Rican bombshell Jennifer Lopez, whose advantageous bubble prominently highlighted her African ancestry. Yes, for those who don’t know, Puerto Rico also received African slaves starting in the 16th century. J-Lo made ass worship more acceptable for white-bred communities that didn’t accept or openly express admiration for derrieres that were a little too big or a little too brown. J-Lo fit into that racialized area where Americans knew she wasn’t white but they imagined her to not be black also.

Contestants from the states of:
Top, L to R: Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, São Paulo
Bottom, L and R: Sergipe, Tocantins

In the land of the infamous “one-drop rule”, the J-Lo exception also proves how ridiculous the concept of race is in itself. If persons living in the United States are defined as black due to the “one-drop” of African blood rule, how is it that persons from Latin America are seen in a different category when a large percentage of them also have African ancestry? The shape and size of J-Lo’s butt was one of the factors that marked her as non-white and thus “other”. As Magdalena Barrera saw it, “Race adds much to the discussion of what buttocks mean, and how they can act as shorthand for ‘non-whiteness.'” (1)

All 27 candidates representing 26 states and 1 Federal District

 The worship of “bundas” or “bumbums”, as they are called in Brazil, makes the invisibility of black Brazilian women in such a “bunda” worshipping contest all the more puzzling. Unlike the average white American male, white Brazilian males don’t try to hide their admiration for a shapely “bunda”, regardless of the color or package its wrapped in. In an essay from March of 2000, Brazilian journalist/writer Mário Prata expressed this difference between Americans and Brazilians by comparing the contents of the American and Brazilian editions of Playboy magazine:

Brazil Playboy, Feb.  2011, American Playboy, Oct. 2006

Is the main difference between the American Playboy and Brazilian Playboy (magazine) the language? Wrong. It’s ass. In the American (edition), we have breasts, udders and real tits that barely fit in the double pages. In ours (Brazilian edition), we have butts; soft-haired blonde butts, curvaceous brown butts and even pink butts. Americans don’t like ass? I would say that Americans don’t know the ass. In fact, worldwide, there are no butts like ours. The butt is a gross domestic product and typically Brazilian. Sometimes, the American magazine makes special editions about breasts. Here, we do real textbooks about butts. Narcissistically, Brazilians love their own ass.

It would seem that Prata doesn’t know that there is a difference between white America and the black communities within the country where booty worship has always been sort of a black man’s initiation into the world of sexuality. I would also point out that not only are the “curvaceous brown butts” that Prata speaks of absent from the 2012 edition of the “Miss Bumbum” competition, they are nearly invisible on the covers of the very same Brazilian edition of Playboy that Prata critiqued. One could even argue that southern states like Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, that are 70-90% white, are fairly represented given the racial composition of the states. But how do you explain the invisibility of brown-skinned women from heavily Afro-Brazilian northeastern states such as Bahia, Alagoas and Maranhão which are 78%, 66% and 74% Afro-Brazilian? Bahia, which is considered the African center of the country both culturally and racially, even has a Miss Bumbum representative, Amanda Sampaio, that is not only white, but also a transsexual. 

In the land that once proclaimed itself a “racial democracy”, hailed the “mulata” as a national sex symbol and even used the “mulata’s” existence as proof of racial mixture and thus a supposed lack of racism, how do you explain the complete absence of brown-skinned women?

What’s your take? Feel free to leave a comment.

* – There are 27 contestants in the “Miss Bumbum” contest, one for of Brazil’s 26 states and 1 representing the country’s Federal District.

** – Of course, this question of blackness is always up for debate. Of the 27 contestants, one could detect that a few of these women are not really white. And because these women are Brazilian, it is possible that many of them actually have some African ancestry. There are also a few whose slightly brownish skin and facial features hint at the possibility of racial admixture. But as in the Jennifer Lopez example, these women would most likely get a pass as “Latinas” in the US. We know black Brazilians who consider Jennifer Lopez to be black and would surely count a few of these women as black also. But in a country where you have beautiful, brown-skinned women like Cris ViannaThalma de Freitas and Aline Barbosa, there’s no excuse to exclude browner women from these competitions.

Source: Miss Bumbum BrasilLuis Nassif Online, Black Women of Brazil, Barrera, Huffington Post, Magdalena. “Hottentot 2000: Jennifer Lopez and Her Butt” in Sexualities in History: A Reader. Edited by Kim M. Phillips and Barry Reay, Routledge, 2001.

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. Basically, white people are always looking for a great white hope which is someone who copies what black people do, but has a white face, you find this in mainly in music and dance but has been happening since the begining of time, white people don't like to be excluded but are happy to exclude black people.I recently read an article on Brazil and in the article it said alot of Europeans went to the south of Brazil, blacks are in the North, then near the end of the article it said you find th emost beautiful women in the south of Brazil, I couldn't believe what I was reading. I'm pretty sure men looking for Brazilian women aren't going there looking for European looking women.It annoys me when they mention big asses in the media and only show J-Lo and Kim K when their asses can't even compare to black women's asses.White men as a whole don't like big asses, they like breasts, I'm a black man who grew up in a white neighbourhood so I know this for a fact. I have always liked women with big asses and the white guys I was friends with never understood it.I remember once when I was in school there was a white girl there who had a big ass, she only dated black guys because the white guys weren't into her. I remember one guy saying to me look at her ass that's disgusting and I was thinking damn.The reason why Brazilians like big asses is because just like in the US with black people and latinos in places like Puerto Rico, it's the African in them, back in the day it used to be bad to have a big ass in the white communities, women used to say does my butt look big in this and were offended if people said yes, now thanks to the influence of black people the big ass is being more and more accepted amongst white people, and you even have white women chasing black men getting ass implants, wearing booty pads it's crazy, but still even with J-Lo and Kim K being pushed in their face white men still prefer breasts.I hate it when they mention big asses and never show black women who have the best asses in the world, I was looking at the picture you posted of the women and me being an ass man wasn't impressed at all, the women don't have asses they are just wearing thongs.I am actually in shock that you can do an ass competition in Brazil and not have a black or mulata in the competition it's crazy.

  2. The funny thing is it is obviously that most if not all of the white and near white women in the contest had cheek implants, hence; making their non symmetrical bodies symmetrical! Lol

  3. Thanks for bring this up. I didn't want to be the first to point out the utter fakeness of a lot of those asses.And the ones that aren't faking surgically fake with positions. Notice the natural ones won't stand up straight. They have to bend and pose in a certain way.

  4. That's fine but I'm sorry you feel this way. Of course there is plenty on the blog about racial discrimination and police assassinations but that's because we feel these are important topics to discuss about Brazil. There are plenty of sites online that discuss Brazilian food, Brazilian music, the Portuguese language, Brazilian architecture, Brazilian History, etc…If you prefer to read something else, that's your choice. There don't seem to be many sites in English discussing the things we discuss on this blog so we feel we are offering something missing. And also, there are plenty of articles on this blog about self-esteem, hair, achievements of black Brazilian women, interviews, reports on the middle class, profiles, biographies, etc. And also, we spend half of each year in another country besides Brazil, so don't make assumptions. Thank you for your comments!

  5. "One could argue that mainstream American society only recently began to express an admiration for a voluminousness backside since the rise of Puerto Rican bombshell Jennifer Lopez, whose advantageous bubble prominently highlighted her African ancestry."Thanks for mentioning the relevance of Jennifer Lopez and how her “advantageous bubble prominently highlighted her African ancestry.” I think many, if not most, people are aware of it, but are either too reluctant or shy (fear of controversy, perhaps) to acknowledge it.

  6. That's what we need, more people who sees the ass as another feature of a beautiful figure. To me, they are like breasts that are visible from the back. Big, round, squeezable. And when it comes to sex, you can have actual intercourse while using the ass for pressure.

  7. I think it's important to have those who are willing to show the side of real life that others tend to ignore. If what (s)he said is true that your blogs are mostly negative, well, at the end of the day, you can find positivity and optimism everywhere, but the negativity is never really expressed enough. I say keep doing it if you wish. There's more to life than what we want there to be.

  8. Anonymous you were quiet rude. I would like to say the commodification of the feminine body is terrible! one of the most serious struggles we have been facing.

    In fact that is why patriarchal society has been physical and emotional abuse of feminine bodies since this repression against our reproductive bodies created fear in the male body who can never be sure of his kids.

    I do share some of your perspective how unbelievable disrespectful to a feminine body is any beauty contest. It is nothing against the contest in itself but in the portrayed a feminine body as thing only. Which should be there to please the male gaze.

    I must agree with the author the no representation of non white no black no indigenous people show a racial construction.

    Please don’t tell me you believe they won because they had the “mist beautiful butts”….

  9. Yeah its the same in Brazil but they don’t want to admit it because they don’t want to be compared to White Americans and Europeans who were all involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade and funny it was Brazil who was one of the last countries to abolish Slavery, after the US Civil War no less.

    So when it engages in racist behavior, it goes “Oh gosh, not us…” We are a country of color and a people of color. But when you see media images of Brazil, you see White skin, maybe Brown skin.

    A Black person will pop up now and again just to sort of balance things out, but we know the truth.

    I do find it amazing that several contest around Latin America they like to show off the assets as it were like the Reef bikini contest, Black women are noticeably absent.

    Judging by the racist reaction to our newest Ms America, we have a LONG WAY TO GO IN Western society…

    That said I did watch the 2012 Bum Bum contest on YouTube and enjoyed it because frankly I like women period, color doesn’t matter that much.

  10. Have any of your thought about that maybe its not only about the womens ass in this contest…..they choose women with a nice body and facial features too…,in general most people in the whole world are attracted to women that have a ‘light golden or tanned skin tone’ and soft facial features… It comes down to peoples preferences and I think its safe to say that MOST people in the world like finer features on a face and generally soft glossy hair… ask even the Japanese or Chinese and these are the traits they like… This is a butt contest but these traits are taken into account…..of course there are attractive black women with nice butts butt the other traits are taken into account….only saying that black women are good for only a nice ass isn’t much of a compliment.

    • Black women are the most beautiful women in the world. White women age in dog years. My wife at 40 will make most 30 year old white women feel like they are grandmas. I’ve been to event with women her age. I can go in depth but this time I feel like being shallow.

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