Note from BW of Brazil: Yes it’s that time of year again. Carnaval is coming! Of c0urse if you live in Brazil, you’ve already seen or heard some of the typical signals. The loud drumming rehearsals, the behind the scenes news coverage and perhaps the most obvious signal of all, the continuous showing of the Globeleza commercials featuring the near naked black woman gyrating and sambaing to the sound of a bateria rhythm. Of course we’ve covered the topic of the so-called mulata in numerous posts and this post continues the debate but this time with a little something extra. Past posts on the topic have featured numerous black Brazilian women expressing why they are increasingly rejecting this image of black female sexuality and the reasons why. Today, in the first part, we see how American women, seeing the image for the first time, react to the images while another Brazilian woman closes the discussion with her analysis of what the image of the black Globeleza woman teaches us.
Why are foreign women so angry about the Globeleza video?
For Brazilians, it is common to see the Globeleza dancing naked, only with a painted body on television. But what do women from other countries think about it? The magazine Azmina – para mulheres de A a Z (Azmina – for women from A to Z), went to New Orleans in the United States, which has one of the most famous Carnivals in the world, to get opinions.
Courtesy of Bolsa de Mulher
A video with the Brazilian muse, Érika Moura, was shown to several women in the streets of the city and their reactions were diverse. Some laughed, while others were shocked and criticized the sexualization of the female body, especially because she is a black woman.
Views on the Globeleza
One of the interviewees said that what caught her attention was the fact that they use sex to sell Carnival. Another said that the Brazilian should feel offended by this commercial. “Women should not appear nude dancing on television.”
Racism was also highlighted by one of those consulted: “It’s always a black woman who has to portray her body that way. It’s not right.” Since her friend said that for a long time only the white beauty was valued and she thinks it’s important to celebrate black beauty. “But I still think there should be a male in the advertisement. It is extremely sexist,” she added.
There were also those who thought it would be okay if there were a version with a man doing it would solve a lot of the problem or if they were doing it together. “You just never see a naked man dancing with his body painted on TV,” she said. Watch the video and see the reactions.
What do the women of New Orleans think of the Globeleza?
Black Women: What does the Globeleza Mulata have to teach us?
By Lorena Monique, black woman and youtuber activist, responsible for Neggata channel
“Don’t let them make you think that our role in the homeland is attracting gringo tourists interpreting the mulata” – Yzalú
The promotional vignettes that hypersexualize the body of black women has begun.
And this time, what I wonder is when the day will come that when we talk about media representation or references of black women, the given response will not be: the Globeleza Mulata?
Yeah, that’s the answer we’ve gotten since 1993, the launch of personality promoted by Rede Globo during Carnival.
No need to make much effort to realize that the image of this character contributes greatly to the hyper-sexualization of the body of black women and intensifies the stereotypes that this group carries. This anyone with a minimum of critical sense should already know.
The Globo, rebolativa (hip gyrating) mulata that invites you to samba, who later would become a hit and mess with the imagination of millions of Brazilians, was created by Hans Donner, a German designer, who, coincidentally, is married to Valeria Valenssa, who interpreted the first Globeleza for more than a decade.
After her pregnancy she still continued for a while embodying the character, but in 2005 Giane Carvalho took over the post of the symbol of Carnival. Thereafter three other actresses have interpreted the role: Aline Prado, Nayara Justino and Érika Moura. I would love to believe that we live in new times; times of the empowerment of black women and of resistance to hegemonic culture.
The year 2015 was very special for black women, as we witnessed the realization of the Marcha das Mulheres Negras (March of Black Women), an act that configures the daily struggle against racism, sexism and Eurocentrism, and a strong role of black women in various areas.
But unfortunately, the Brazilian media still can surprise us in presenting the same old images of black women in the same old positions. And Carnival remains the apex of this phenomenon.
Amid all the eloquence of Carnival, the Globeleza insists on representing black women as mere sex objects. And when we think of the reality of the Brazilian population, we realize how perverse this is.
Black women are the majority of the maids, the majority of the prison population, suffer the greatest obstetric violence, they are a minority in public universities, a minority in Parliament, and what’s more, suffering the dreaded solitude of black women.
What does Globo and Mulata Globeleza still insist on showing us?
1) That the Globeleza carries a ton of stereotypes.
What is the Globeleza if she’s not a naked black woman dancing sensually with no words, no connection with the viewer, besides her image? It is impossible to watch one of her vignettes and not realize that it is not the woman Valéria Valenssa, but only of her body, her sexuality and her sexual power. The Globeleza is only a body that sambas, has sex and nothing else. Oh, of course, is also a very clear message of what the role of black women in Brazilian society is.
2) That it is OK to be called “Globeleza Mulata”.
The term “mulata” is extremely violent. Its origin comes from mula (mule), which is the donkey crossing with the mare, or a hybrid, sterile animal. At the time of slavery, around the sixteenth century, the word was used to call the children of white Portuguese men with black enslaved women. As much as these days many people don’t feel uncomfortable with the use of this term, I believe that considering the condition of black people, particularly black women, pejorative terms like this do not cooperate at all with the improvement of living conditions of these people.
3) That the Globeleza is not a popular demonstration, but a product of Rede Globo.
Brazilian popular culture is very rich. There are various manifestations that have a strong cultural background and could easily be part of the Carnival imagination. But the Globeleza Mulata does not originate in popular culture. To the contrary; it is the brainchild of a German designer, a naturalized Brazilian: Hans Donner. It is easy to see that this is the image that many foreigners have of Brazil. The problem is we passively accept this image.
4) that the naked body of black women is always available for the pleasures of men.
A black woman, naked, with only a little paint covering her sexual parts, always smiling and dancing. This is closer to a sexual desire removed from the head of a European white man than a sincere expression of happiness during the Carnival. The image constructed by Hans Donner is well rooted in the history of colonial Brazil. Just stop to think: in colonial Brazil black women were separated from their families, taken to work in the Casas Grandes (Big Houses) and overnight ended up being forced to have sexual relations with the masters of the Big Houses. The Globeleza ends up being a symbolic character of everything that happened in Brazilian history and continues happening today.
5) That the beauty of black women only has space in Carnival.
It is a fact … During Carnival time, everyone wants to be like her, know how to samba, have the body and the bearing of a true passista (Carnaval dancer). In February, the black woman is taken as a reference, a true model to be followed. But the rest of the year, one doesn’t see the same thing. In the spaces of the novelas (soap operas) are always subordinate roles, never leading roles. They have no space in the movies, they have no place in the auditorium programs. When they appear in comedies such as Zorra Total, they are made to look ridiculous. What I mean is, according to the logic of Brazilian TV, black women are beautiful only during Carnival; on other days of the year as if by magic, they cease to be beautiful.
6) That the Globeleza Mulata sets the standard of the acceptable black woman.
Thin, tall, slender, big breasts, big ass, curly hair and with some blonde highlights and principally black with light skin. This is the standard of the accepted black women (as a sexual object, but accepted). The problem is that the vast majority of black women don’t fit this standard. Black women of dark skin, fat, with thick lips, strong features and not knowing how samba or not wishing to be seen only as sex objects. These don’t have their turn.
This point is connected to the previous one. In 2014, actress Nayara Justin was elected Globeleza by popular vote. But the public did not receive her well, mainly due to the fact that she is darker than previous Globelezas. When it was reported that Globo TV would replace her, many Internet users made racist attacks had as the primary target her skin color. Because of these events, she ended up falling into a deep depression. This disease also befell Valéria Valenssa when she learned she would be replaced in 2005. After her pregnancy, her body changed a lot, and she believed her replacement was due to the change.