Note from BW of Brazil: The recent controversy over a Globo TV series that recently ended a three-month run that was marred by protests, criticisms and a battle over the image of black women in Brazil’s mass media. Although there were those who applauded the effort of a well-known white, TV actor/writer to create a show that featured four black women in prominent roles, the bigger question for critics of the series was the images of the characters and what the images said about black women.
The argument of this blog throughout the Sexo e as negas series was if it broke from the Brazilian media’s standard representation of black women as sensuous ‘mulatas’ or maids and the answer was a resounding ‘no’ as two of the women were servants, another went through bouts of unemployment and the women were portrayed in graphic sex scenes in most, if not indeed all, episodes of the program. The debate is not new. The idea of black women being ‘hot’ has been used to sell beer. The idea that black women have ‘bad hair’ has been used to sell hair products. And the mulata/maid image is used in most novelas. These and others were just a few of the reasons there was a recent hearing to discuss this very issue.
Public hearing questions the image of black women in the media
By Dennis Oliveira
On 11 December, a public hearing at the ALESP (Legislative Assembly of São Paulo) was held to question the image (distorted and negative) of the black woman constructed by the mass media. The event’s initiative came from two entities of the Movimento Negro (black movement), the Coletivo Quilombação (Quilombação Collective) and União de Negros pela Igualdade de São Paulo (Unegro/SP or Union of Blacks for Equality of São Paulo) along with SOS-Racismo and the cabinet of state representative Leci Brandão (PC do B), also with support of Samba Autêntico (Authentic Samba) and UBM (União Brasileira de Mulheres or Brazilian Union of Women).
The hearing was intended to build a support network for action to be taken against the constant attacks on the image of black women made by the hegemonic media, better that the latest case was the TV series Sexo e as negas. The president of the UNEGRO/SP, Rose Anacleto, took the initiative to seek the Comissão de Combate ao Racismo da OAB/SP (Commission to Combat Racism of Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil or Order of Attorneys of Brazil/São Paulo) in order to enable a lawsuit against Globo because of the show. Having in view the need for such action needs political support, she proposed holding a public hearing in the Legislative Assembly, which was approved by the Commission on Human Rights of this Parliament.
Participating was blogger Charô Nunes of the Comunicadoras Negras (Black Women Communicators) that led several actions against the Globo TV program; Ana Flávia, of the Centro Barão of Itararé, who spoke about the campaign for the approval of Projeto de Lei Iniciativa Popular da Democratização da Mídia (Popular Initiative of Media Democratization Bill); Mara Vidal, of the Agência Patrícia Galvão (Patrícia Galvão Agency), who spoke about the history of media action in the construction of negative stereotypes against black women and Tatiana Oliveira, holder of a Master’s Degree from USP (University of São Paulo) and policy committee of the Coletivo Quilombação, also a member of the Comunicadoras Negras network, commented on her research on media, racism and sexism.
After comments, it was opened to public comments that reaffirmed the critical position against the media. A highlight was the video presented by Levante Popular da Juventude (Popular Youth Uprising) of an action done on Globo’s headquarters in São Paulo to protest the show Sexo e as negas. In the end, the following proposals were presented by this blogger:
– The participation of the Movimento Negro in the campaign for the approval of the Popular Initiative of the Democratization of the Media bill;
– Launch of the campaign of the Movimento Negro in the Legislative Assembly in a session next year;
– Denouncement campaign of racist postures of Globo TV next year when the station turns 50. “50 anos de Globo, 50 anos de racism e machismo” (50 years of Globo, 50 years of racism and sexism).
– Constitution under SOS Racism of a service of media monitoring in the same mold of the campaign “Quem financia a baixaria, é contra a cidadania (Whoever funds the fall is against citizenship).
– Propose a public hearing in the Câmara dos Deputados (House of Representatives) to discuss this theme and renovations of concession of television and radio channels.
The state representative Leci Brandão who chaired the public hearing considered that the problem is serious and that the proposals were “strong, but necessary due to the severity of the situation.”
Source: Portal Fórum