Black Women of Brazil

The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent

Is there a double standard on beauty and “big hair”? Recent reactions to a black woman not being able to secure employment due to her hair seem to suggest yes


capa - big hair

Note from BW of Brazil: It’s quite obvious that Brazil doesn’t like natural, cabelo crespo (kinky/curly) hair. It should be quite obvious by now. Recently, a beautiful, dark-skinned woman appeared on the Globo TV morning show Encontro com Fátima Bernardes and shared the difficulties she’s encountered trying to get a job. After the show, racist memes went into high hear making racist jokes and comments about her hair, basically proving the very difficulties she spoke of.

meme comp

Meme compilation with Jasmim’s hair as the center attraction

Now here’s the thing. Plenty of people will comment something along the lines of,  “who’s gonna hire you with that hair?”, but many of those same people would compliment a white woman with volumous hair. We’ve already seen a good example of this. So, ask yourself, if people compliment white women on wearing “big hair”, why do they insult a black woman for doing the same thing?

meme1

Meme’s created making fun of Jasmim’s hair after her appearance on talk show

Obviously, one has “cabelo crespo” (kinky/curly hair) while the other has “cabelo liso” (straight hair). After all, no one is Brazil is gonna ask a white man or woman if there’s any way they can make their hair thicker, curlier or kinkier.

ruivas

But black people who have come to accept their kinks and curls as they are, surely will be told to “do something with that!”

contrast

(Photo – Contrast of opinions: For white women with “big hair”? “How beautiful”, “This lion’s mane exalts her beauty”, “what a woman”, “She’s full of personality”. For the black woman: “I have nothing against blacks, but this hair could cause the Third World War”, “I’m going to make a lot of memes making fun of this hair, yes!”, “Ridiculous!”, “No company is obligated to accept this!” “Playing the victim!”)

A few years back we saw an example of this in the difference of reaction to the March of women with cabelo crespo vs. the reactions of the encounter of the ruivas (red heads). We’ve also seen examples of black women and black men losing their jobs even when wearing afros or very neat, stylish braids (see here and here). Can we say double standard?

yasmim-stevam-no-encontro

Yasmim Stevam gets racist attacks because of her hair

Businesswoman went to the Encontro morning show to talk about prejudice and was a victim again

Courtesy of Revista Fórum

Yasmim Stevam used her Facebook profile on Thursday night, 22, to reveal that he was the victim of an avalanche of racist postings on social networks, after participating in the Encontro com Fátima Bernardes morning talk show on TV Globo.

And the worst. The owner of the brechó went to the morning show precisely to report the prejudice she experienced when trying to get a job because of her hair.

YASMIN -FB

In response to critics, Jasmim quoted excerpts from a speech by Malsolm X

Although she regretted it, she gave a superior class by commenting on the episode using an excerpt from a famous speech by Malcolm X – one of the greatest advocates of Black Nationalism in the United States.

“Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin in such a way that you bleach it to become like the white man? Who taught you to hate the shape of the nose and the shape of your lips? ‘[…] Finally, you see clearly that the problem is not in me, it’s not in my skin, it’s not in my hair, it’s not in my features. The problem comes from within you, being a limited human, full of pre-established standards about me, based solely on my appearance,” she began.

Yasmim also sent a message to the perpetrators of the attacks against her.

“[…] Finally, thank all those who have tried to diminish me and destabilize me. I have used racism as my fuel to fill the tanks of my projects, to use the lemons you gave me to make a great lemonade (Hail Beyoncé), to follow high paths that has taken me to high places, to continuing to see my works being divulged in magazines such as Vogue,” she added.

A few hours after the publication, the message of the businesswoman had almost two thousand curtidas (likes) and 800 compartilhamentos (shares).

“Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin in such a way that you pass…

ATTENTION: According to article 140 of paragraph 3 of the Brazilian Penal Code, offending the honor of any person with the use of elements related to race, color, ethnicity, religion or origin may result in criminal prosecution for racial offense. Learn how to act in case of racism in LINK.

An excerpt from one of Malcolm X’s most famous speeches, words that make sense to me, words that I hadn’t understood for a long time, but which I can understand today.

Malcolm quote (SM)

Malcolm X quote: “Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin…the shape of your nose and lips?”

I am more than what you see, I am the result of the resistance and the struggle of many. I am the fruit of the blood, the cry and the sweat of my ancestors. I am the one who causes discomfort to your eyes by being in places that in theory would be yours.

The cruelty of racism is wide open, it is so cruel to the point of making their own brothers reproduce racist acts, it makes a black person think it’s funny to share words and pictures with prejudiced content. Has racism poisoned you so much, IRMÃOS PRETOS (BLACK BROTHERS), to the point that you don’t realize that by condoning rude speech, you are attacking yourselves? Should it not be the time when we would all be together?

I also thank for the support received by my brothers who have defended me heroically, by all of you who in one way or another have protected me from so much negative charge. You have been a base of support, have been family, have been brothers! I keep fighting for you, we will always be for us.

Why is one’s hair ridiculed and the other not?

Yasmin Stevam and Camila Queiroz both wear long hair, but only Yasmin was discriminated against.

By Aline Ramos

Yasmin Stevam participated in the Encontro com Fátima morning talk show on Monday, 19th, to talk about racism in the labor market.

1

“That’s right, Yasmin! Love yourself first, you are beautiful! #Encontro”

 

In the program, Fatima led a discussion on all types of discrimination that occur during a job interview.

She said that when she wore braids, she had a hard time finding a job because of her hair and skin color. Because of this, she created her own business, Brechó no Fundinho.

braids

Upon becoming her own boss, Yasmin started to leave her hair natural, without braids, as it is in the photo.

However, Yasmin’s current hair became a source of all sorts of jokes, and publications such as this one that went viral in social networks:

laugh

“IF IT’S CRIME TO LAUGH I COULD ALREADY HAVE TO PAY A FINE. Go back to TV Colosso”

 

Many people justified the discrimination that Yasmin suffered.

2

Comment 1: “Speaking seriously, whoever wants to really work follows the rules, in a country where employment is scarce, it’s no sacrifice no cut your hair in exchange for a job, so this is mimimi (whining) indeed”

Comment 2: “Companies have rules, safety standards and clothes, (it’s) not a stage or circus! This is called appearance not racism”

Comment 3: “If I had hair like that, I would not cut it. (I’d) put it in fire….Dumb ass ugly as fuck”

Then, Carol Fazon asked an important question: “Is your ‘opinion’ an opinion or prejudice?” And compared the reactions to Yasmin’s hair with that of actress Camila Queiroz, who during the soap opera Verdades Secretas had long hair.

3

Carol Fazon: “Is your “opinion” an opinion or a prejudice? Yasmin is (now) a model and businesswoman, sports a hair of 50-55cm, Camila is an actress, with a hair of about 70cm. Yasmin said she could not get a job because employers did not “like” her hair. Camila has hair that at the time of this series became a symbol of women’s desire all over Brazil. People have claimed that hair like Yasmin’s is “grande demais” (too big). Camila’s is not. People have claimed that hair “as big” as Yasmin’s must be dirty. Camila’s is not. People claimed that hair like Yasmin would impede her from being a professor, for example. Of the hundreds of female teachers with “Camila” hair I’ve seen teaching, no. Hair like Yasmin’s should be cut, where have we have we already seen this? An exaggeration! Hair like Camilla’s, no. It’s beautiful, a dream! Neither Yasmin, nor Camila, have studied to be doctors, lab technicians, or cooks, professions in which hair should stay tied up for hygiene reasons. So why do you think it normal for a hair like Yasmin to exclude her from a common job “because it’s too big” and hair like Camilla’s, not? Is the problem really (hair) being big? It’s not the big hair that you don’t like, it’s cabelo crespo (kinky/curly hair). So, is it prejudice or opinion?”

4

Yasmim and actress Camila Queiroz

And she pointed out that only Yasmin’s hair is considered dirty and exaggerated.

In a quick search, you find posts like this, reinforcing how beautiful Camila’s hair is.

 

5

“Camila Queiroz’s hair is too beautiful, just like her.”

About Yasmin, this is what we see:

 

6

“Yasmin could not get a job but actually wanted to impose her tastes on the contractor’s rules. Yasmin, open your own business and ‘your company, your rules'”

She used Facebook to publish a text saying that she learned over time that the problem is not in her appearance, but in the “limited” people who judge her due to these factors.

Note from BW of Brazil: There are a few other things about this whole topic that I wanted to point out. First, people seemed to be blasting Yasmim on her current hairstyle when she initially pointed out that even when wearing braids she was not able to find a job. She would later open her own business and decide to “let her hair down”. As such, it would seem that she was aware that wearing her in a bigger style would inhibit her success in finding employment. But people just took her current appearance and ran with it, losing her initial point altogether.

Another point about Yasmim was something I hadn’t even noted. It came to my attention in a social network. A few days after Yasmim appeared on the talk show, someone posted a photo of a black woman kissing a white man with the comment: “Black women don’t like black men, this is a fact. Just to leave it clear, I’m not prejudiced…I just want to know whether or not to proceed.”

beijo

When I saw the photo I didn’t even recognize who it was. But after doing a little research on Jasmim for this article, I came across the same photo in an image search. It’s indeed Jasmine. Now let me just say, I have no idea who the man is that Jasmim is kissing. It could be just a publicity shot for her business. Maybe a friend. Maybe the man is in fact more than a friend. I’m not mentioning this to come across as someone monitoring the personal lives of others. Whoever the man in the photo with Jasmim is is indeed her business. But the fact that she has no problem endorsing the narrative in a Brazil that continuously promotes interracial unions as its “solution” for the black population makes the question of whether the photo depicts her personal relationship or not irrelevant. I point this out for two reasons.

One, as I’ve shown in numerous articles, black women have long taken shots at black men for an apparent preference for white women. Many black men have countered that black women also have an adoration for white skin. The fact is that, for whatever reason, in Brazil, as with prominent and/or famous and/or rich black men, you find numerous black Brazilian women married, dating or having children with white men.

Another interesting thing I find among black Brazilians who present themselves or come across as having “black consciousness” or standing for black politics also don’t seem to see any apparent contradiction in marrying, having children with the very group they accuse of racism and thus contributing to the extermination of the black race by means of miscegenation, precisely as Brazilian elites openly hoped for in the late 19th century.

Over the years, I’ve lost count of how many black Brazilians cite Malcolm X as a principal personality that inspire them to have pride in being black and being able to stand up against European aesthetic standards that countries such as Brazil and several other countries in Latin America have imposed on their non-white populations.

Malcolm X himself spoke about dating white women in his days as a mentally lost street hustler making a living off of the vices of others. But after making a life changing transition into black consciousness/nationalism, he made very clear statements on integrationalist negroes and interracial couples.

In a 1963 interview with journalist Louis Lomax, Malcolm asked, “Now how can any Negro, man or woman, who sleeps with a white person speak for me? No black person married to a white person can speak for me!” Lomax then asked “Why?”, to which Malcolm replied “Because only a man who is ashamed of what he is will marry out of his race. There has to be something wrong when a man or a woman leaves his own people and marries somebody of another kind. Men who are proud of being black marry black women; women who are proud of being black marry black men.”

It’s one thing for a lost soul who is still mentally sleeping to openly seek relationships with the dominant social group. It’s another to claim that one is “woke” and “conscious” and doing the same thing. Knowing his politics, I think Malcolm himself, were he still alive, would have asked, “What part of the game is that?”

Source: Revista Fórum, Buzzfeed

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