Note from BW of Brazil: Yesterday, we brought you a story showing that journalist Maria Júlia Coutinho is featured on the cover of the women’s magazine Claudia. In the same post, it was also mentioned that actress Taís Araújo is featured on the current issue of Estilo magazine. We we consider the fact that this month’s Raça Brasil features actor Lázaro Ramos with his wife Araújo, Taís is actually on two covers this month! As we have seen in the past few months, this couple is on a roll!
When we consider what the covers of Brazil’s major magazines generally look like month after month, having three black women on the covers of three of these magazines at the same time can actually be considered diversity as unbelievable as it may seem (1). Not to say this cause for any celebration as next month it will most likely be back to all representatives of Europe in Brazil. But it is eye-catching!
Three major women’s magazines feature powerful black women on their covers
by Arthur Francischi
In September of this year, eight major American magazines featured powerful black women on their covers. Beyoncé made the cover of Vogue, Ciara on Shape, Queen Latifah on Variety, Amadla Stenberg on Dazed, Kerry Washington on SELF, Serena Williams on New York Magazine, Willow Smith on i-D and Misty Copeland appeared on Essence. It was rare, if not unique, in the US publishing market (1).
September issues are the most anticipated among the fashion publications and come with more pages and ads, sell more and present the Autumn/Winter collections straight from the catwalks to the newsstands. Not only that, in general, magazines bet on celebrities to be featured on the covers because they are people with whom the audience has a greater identification.
3 major women’s magazines feature powerful black women on their covers
It’s not like the diversity problems in the entertainment and fashion industries were resolved with the covers of the magazines, but it’s great to see black beauty being recognized and valued in the mainstream media.
A similar action – and that deserves mention – happened this month in the Brazilian female magazines. Estilo, Elle and Claudia, three major national publications, featured three black women on their covers: a actress Taís Araújo, model Mahany Pery and journalist Maria Júlia Coutinho, known as Maju on the Jornal Nacional news jornal.
In their pages, each publication brought forth important issues. Taís Araújo, who is on the air as Michele of the Globo TV series Mister Brau, covered Estilo (meaning ‘style’), and commented on the racist abuse she received on Facebook recently. “People are impressed when we say that Brazil is prejudiced. It is a very backward country in this regard, but we are here trying to change that. Each and every black is discriminated against in this country. Even after fame and upward ascension.”
The actress also said she feels privileged to be a reference for black girls. “I love being an icon for other black girls. When I was younger, there was a lack of icons. You only saw those blond, blue-eyed dolls in the market and this was an impossible standard of beauty to achieve. This is cruel. I feel proud to be a reference.”
Elle presented different covers for its December issue. On one of them is model Mahany Pery, who has earned her place in the fashion industry. American Vogue pointed to the young woman as a new generation of Brazilian models.
And the cover of Elle had repercussions on the internet because of its political tone. “Meu corpo, minhas regras” (my body, my rules) is written on Mahany. In the publication’s pages is a feminist manifesto written by Juliana Faria, Think Olga, Clara Averbuck, of Lugar de Mulher (woman’s place), the philosopher Djamila Ribeiro, Coletivo Blogueiras Negras (Collective of Black Women Bloggers), Sofia Soter, of Capitolina and Helena Dias, of AzMina. “It’s not a trend nor fad: the power of women over their own bodies is law,” read the posting on Facebook.
Also in the social network, Susana Barbosa, the magazine’s editorial director, issued a letter stating that it was necessary to close the year “thickening the chorus of a subject that touches us directly and has never been on the agenda: the consciousness of feminism.” She admits that fashion magazines are responsible for creating unattainable beauty standards, but the publication has “policed each issue, to maintain consistency between theory and practice.”
“If on the one hand, such as print media, we have always been accused of imposing standards – and for years we really had this power – on the other, it’s more than time to use the range we have in all of our platforms to contribute in some way to the dialogue about change.”
Finally, Claudia magazine features journalist Maria Júlia Coutinho, Maju of Globo TV’s Jornal Nacional on its cover. In 2015, she was also the target of racist abuse on social networks, and is the cover of an “manifesto issue in the name of tolerance and love,” according to the magazine’s posting on Facebook. The Globo Network weather girl remembered the first time she experienced racism in life. “A girl stared at me and said, ‘You have everything black in life; your hair, your car, your house.’ And, looking at other children, she declared: ‘Don’t play with her, because everything in her is black.’”
Maju told the publication that she wept because of the episode of racism she suffered this year, but they were tears of joy as well. “I closed the door and cried embraced with my husband [advertiser Agostinho Paulo Moura]. A cry for also feeling caressed by thousands of people in solidarity,” she says. “A lot of people thought that I would be crying through the halls […] I’ve dealt with this issue of prejudice as long as I can remember […] I am very angry, but I don’t falter, I don’t lose heart […] The militancy that I do is my work, with affection, dedication and competence.”
And the journalist also took the opportunity to say that she assumed her cabelo crespo (kinky/curly hair) after seeing a black woman on the cover of Raça Brasil (magazine) (2), during the 90s “A black woman with a decisive air, huge and beautiful African braids, and I said, ‘I want that’. It worked as a permission to be myself.’”
Source: Prosa Livre
- As we’ve pointed out in previous posts, we must make a note here as well. In general, Brazilians see the United States as the perhaps the most racist country in the world without looking at Brazil’s own record. Suffice it say, this writer can’t imagine the day when eight black women would be featured on Brazilian magazines all in the same month!
- Since 1996, Raça Brasil has been the only major Brazilian major specifically targeted at the Afro-Brazilian population.