Note from BW of Brazil: The word protagonism is defined as “the state, character, or activity of a protagonist” or “the leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work”. Yet regardless of which context you use it, Afro-Brazilian women have long been denied this leading role in Brazil. This is quite obvious in areas such as TV and film, but even in the home, where they are often the heads of the household while they are not usually envisioned as the prototype of what a woman and mother is supposed to be. Even in her role as a maid, cook or caregiver of her employer’s family, well-known stereotypes, she is never seen as the “lady of the house”. But in recent years, more and more Afro-Brazilian women have been stepping forward to demand their rightful place and a recent debate, a number of women featured in past posts, presented yet another example of this activism.
‘Protagonism is not ceded, it is conquered’, says Taís Araújo in a debate about black women
Courtesy of Portal do Zacarias
Actress Taís Araújo, singer Iza, YouTuber Nathalia Santos, former French consul Alexandra Loras and Minister Luislinda Dias de Valois participated in one of the most anticipated talks of “Elas por Elas (women by women)”. In a panel mediated by the O Globo columnist Flávia Oliveira, they discussed the various challenges that black women face in Brazilian society.
Despite mentioning advances in the entertainment world, the actress Taís Araújo recalled that the struggle for gender equity and the end of racial prejudice depends on constant activism and positioning.
“Protagonism is not ceded, it is conquered; no one wants to share the leading role, men don’t want to. And we mulheres negras (black women) have more barriers ahead,” said the actress, who said she refused to represent all the black women in the country. “While only I am doing the magazine covers, it’s a unique story. And it doesn’t get you anywhere. We have already seen that everyone is enriched with diversity: the contents are richer, the people become more creative.”
Alexandra Loras made a point of remembering the barriers that black women find in the labor market.
“We suffer from the impostor syndrome. An homem branco (white man) with 30% of the competence for the position comes thinking he’s incredible. A mulher negra with 95 percent of the competence arrives thinking she can’t “said the speaker, who said she had been through it when she studied at SciencePo, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions.
“Prejudice in double dose: women and black”: actress participated in the table
YouTuber Nathalia Santos, who writes about the challenges of being black and blind, recalled that the internet can be an important tool for transformation.
“I think it’s very important that we consume our peers. We have mechanisms to search our history, meet people like us, so that we can speak properly. We need to feel represented and know for whom to represent.”
In the same tone, singer Iza recalled how the internet was important for her own consciousness:
“I’ve always been very insecure about my talent. I just decided to be a singer at age 24 because I felt alone. I didn’t see myself in the toys I bought, in the novelas (soap operas) I watched. We have to hug ourselves today. It was on the internet that I decided to stop straightening my hair, because I saw other girls going through the same process. That’s where I saw that I should sing even if I didn’t have a stage for myself,” she confessed.
Source: Portal do Zacarias