The perverse connection between the stereotype and racism: 14 reasons NOT to watch the “Sexo e as negas” series

"Sexo e as negas doesn't represent us!"
“Sexo e as negas doesn’t represent us!”

Note from BW of Brazil: Last night, the controversial new Globo TV series Sexo e as negas took its second episode on the air. The debate over this program has been all over the internet and in the streets even before it debuted last Tuesday night (16). But, as most English speakers don’t have access to the program and it is in Portuguese, many are probably in the dark as to what all of the fuss is about. With so many black women taking to the internet and the streets to voice their disgust with the program’s continuation of long held stereotypes about black women and sexuality, Globo TV has been pulling out of the stops to convince their viewers that there is nothing problematic about the program. More on that in an upcoming post. For now, Fabiola Oliveira and Charô Nunes run down 14 reasons why they reject this program. We are happy to re-produce this text for our readers. 

Sexo e as Nêga: The perverse connection between the stereotype and racism

By Fabiola Oliveira

Originally posted in Meninas Black Power

The women of the Globo TV series "Sexo e as negas"
The women of the Globo TV series “Sexo e as negas”

I have been following the scare that the black community took at the announcement of the release of the Sexo e as Nêga series by Miguel Falabella (that one of the blonde, tall, Nordic character who hates the poor!). Again we see the television playing their perverse and abject function of disqualifying and discrediting the very manifestations of our blackness. Again we see black protagonists without a leading role, although the “somos todos macacos” (we are all monkeys) crowd says we are overreacting…

But before thinking about the narrative of Sex a as Nêga itself, I got to thinking about the title of the plot. Among the many questions I asked, the one that most instigates me is: what is the relationship that exists between the words “sexo” e “nêgas”? I came to a few points:

1) Rape

Black women were raped by their tormentors (slaveholders), by their tormentors’ guests (plantation owners, when they received other slave masters on their property, offered their best black women to sexually to serve the visiting rapists) and by capitães do mato (“captains of the woods”, black men leased by whiteness for the purposes of brutalizing their peers) (1);

2) Hyper-sexualization of the black body

Scene from "Sexo e as negas"
Scene from “Sexo e as negas”

The meaning of the body of the black woman is fully related to animalization and sexual exploitation. Expressions such as “mulata tipo exportação” (mulata of the export type) sums up the social understanding of the body of the black woman: that body which is marketed to sexually satisfy customers worldwide. The term “mulata” itself is directly related to the mule animal, sterile, and only serves for work. The beastialization of that female and African body is an absurd violence: it reduces the First Womb of the Universe to a pile of meat that must be eaten, sucked of its energy and dispensed when almost dead;

3) Extermination of the chance of fragility

Compared to mules (animals destined for work loads), black women have become synonymous with strength. Another investee of the project of brutalization of our bodies and feelings. The myth that we are not sensitive, that our body was forged for heavy work, that we handle more pain than another (white) person was created. This animalization is proven statistics that report that black women, in public hospitals, are the least to receive anesthesia during childbirth. Black women are the statistically most affected by domestic violence. And the culture of rape follows the victimizing of more black women (rape within the city limits and also within the domestic environment, considering that many men commit violence against their partners);

"For a media without racism"
“For a media without racism”

4) Emotional health in decline

The people who think that black women are the most faithful definition of lust and sexual spontaneity. But no! We are the picture of loneliness. Despite the perverse data, it is known that there is a declared ascension of the young, university student, black woman. There are more black women in undergraduate and graduate programs. More black women undertaking and taking control of their financial independence. More black women in management positions. However, these same women, for various reasons that render most other texts, find themselves alone. It is a loneliness that is beyond the lack of company: is the soul of the black woman that is diseased and there is no medicine that takes account of the cure while the project of social embranquecimento (whitening) is well articulated and taking black women away from black men truly willing to form black families in love and in full political significance;

5) Disqualification and reduction of sex

The linking of sex to the body of the black woman is fleeting, fast, paid, superficial and with no amorous connection. Sex with a black woman is what allows violence, derision, insensitivity and the commodity relation. Black woman that complains of emotional attention is usually rejected and put in her place of a “mule”. Sex with a black woman almost never dialogues with the ancient beauty of this body. Never is the sex symbolic: it’s always that in the dark of the alleys, or in the silence of adultery. The black woman is always the other, the supporter – protagonist only in the physiological issues, with all her emotional and human apparatus disregarded.

Stereotyped, shallow and compromised relationships only with common sense and racism, these don’t concern me. But the subliminal lines, the covert relations and veiled pain, those are the relationships that I seek to think about. Trying to understand how this exposed perversity in the public square does not constrain the author (!), as he makes a mockery of more than half of the population on prime time and still receives a salary for this.

I want to understand, first of all, as this “objectification” delays our militancy. Where is the Movimento Negro (Black Movement) erring in communication with its own people, while the racist aims, strikes and paralyzes us.

It was worse than we imagined or 10 (obvious) reasons NOT to watch Sexo e as negas 

By Charô Nunes

Originally posted in Indigestivos Oneirophanta

The truth is that I broke the code and watched the first chapter.

For never more for motives of which I’m not obligated.

But I will comment.

1) Place of commentary

Sexo e as negas wounds a basic principle that is in respect to the place of speech. And now a sad fact, because everything is MUCH worse than we imagined. The narrator is the author himself. It is he who looks through the keyhole to watch us and tell te story. All his commentary  contaminated  with interests and twitches of branquitude (whiteness), as much as he thinks of himself like Spike Lee allied in the struggle against racism. Incidentally, Miguel Falabella left from being so (if he ever was one day, plop!!!) from the moment that he stole our right to speak for ourselves.

Creator of the series Miguel Falabella discusses his new series and the controversy
Creator of the series Miguel Falabella discusses his new series and the controversy

What credibility can have a series that aims to create visibility for the black population but does not allow any of us to be the main character? Or still, the authors, the narrators of our own plot? Why this necessity to shut up what we say about ourselves apart from the need to maintain privileges and naturalization of racism? This same racism that is still so present on television transforms us into nothing more than mucamas (2) and Globelezas.

2) Protagonism

No more talking about “protagonist” but ABOUT “protagonists” of Sexo e as negas. All conversation pra boi dormir (is deceiving) because, in practice, the emphasis is given to Claudia Jimenez, a suffering white woman in search of love while the black women are leading their lives fucking. It is she who appears in first place among the characters, both in the story (the story of the community is told through her parents who reproduced themselves as “pintos” (3), and look, I’m not kidding) as in the official flier with the actors.

3) Cisheteronormativity, sexism

The series so far is based completely on cis-hetero-normativity. There doesn’t appear to be any place possible to place for the both trans* black woman, much less a black lesbian or bisexual. Or still, for a trans* and lesbian or bisexual black woman. Another “detail” is the blatant sexism. Big (a black man who has this nickname because of his penis!!!) (4) said in one of his few lines that a woman wants is to be bankrolled by a man. Sorry for so much chatter, but the dialect of the author really goes along that line. And all of this setting to get a man, my god.

Rafael Machado as the character known as "Big"
Rafael Machado as the character known as “Big”

4) Stereotype

All the characters occupy the same place in Sexo e as negas. There is no diversity in their professional duties (they are all in positions of servitude in relation to white people), much less in their emotional goals. Why is it so difficult to think that in Cordovil there are doctors, architects or lawyers? Or women who have an objective to “get” (in those terms) a partner? Is there no women in the neighborhood who simply are not concerned about having sex? Not being too ugly, the second chapter will show Adriana Lessa outside of this stereotype, at least professionally.

5) Reduction of the social role

The stereotype stems from the reduction of the social role. Just like what happens in Brazilian society, racist and sexist, the only possible place for us black women is work or sex. So much so that the show is intended to be revolutionary for simply making room in order that the “lives” of black women happen. In this universe, even urban mobility is intertwined with sex. Urban transport is just another place to flirt and buying a car means being able to leave the neighborhood and find new sexual possibilities. Why simply go from one place to another for work and study?

scene from Sexo e as negas

Incidentally, how does one really buy a car? Working? Not in Sexo e as negas, my friends! The characters, although all workers, decide to bet on the numbers game to maybe be lucky enough to buy a car later. They’ll bet 500 bucks. And when they are in the store quoting the price of automobiles, they are still humiliated by the seller, also black. Imagine thinking that a black man can be more than a malandro (hustler/trickster) or badly educated, sexist seller. This is already vandalism.

6) Fetishization and Hyper-sexualization

There is no attempt to humanize, since the characters are in a situation of a zoo where the white narrator observes and reflects the reality for the thirsty white audience for knowledge and fun. It is as if whiteness sent a spy to satisfy their morbid curiosity that has nothing to do with visibility or changing the way we are portrayed in novelas and serials. Any resemblance to Saartjie Baartman or with spectacles (sic) of Sargentelli.

Scene from "Sexo e as negas"
Scene from “Sexo e as negas”

Portrayed as the faithful mucama housekeeper of a distressed boss or Globeleza mulata, depending on time of the day, the negas don’t have diverse life goals. The white woman doesn’t, she’s looking for love and eventually find it’s (and more) in the skin (literally) of Big, the one with the big dick. In the completely monogamous context of Sexo e as negas, the message is clear – negras para foder (black women for fucking) (anytime, anywhere, anytime), brancas pra casar (white women for marrying) (5). No advanced forewarning, the product is ready for consumption. As the Meninas Black Power said so well (in piece above):

Scene from "Sexo e as negas"
Scene from “Sexo e as negas”

The linking of sex to the body of the black woman is fleeting, fast, paid, superficial and with no amorous connection. Sex with a black woman is what allows violence, derision, insensitivity and the commodity relation. Black woman that complains of emotional attention is usually rejected and put in her place of a “mule”. Sex with a black woman almost never dialogues with the ancient beauty of this body. Never is the sex symbolic: it’s always that in the dark of the alleys, or in the silence of adultery. The black woman is always the other, the supporter – protagonist only in the physiological issues, with all her emotional and human apparatus disregarded.

7) Symbolic Violence

In a series, written by a white man, we accompany the symbolically raped. It is he who speaks for us, that binds and untie the knots of the existence of black characters who are nothing more than his puppets. Their bodies are exploited for the enjoyment and fun of the audience, more than ever convinced of how Globeleza mulatas are wonderful, fiery and hot in bed. The sex scenes are an aspect aside. The lights of Sexo e as negas give focus to booties, to the curves for whites to surf. Incidentally, speaking of bodies, they are all slim.

8) Silencing

The silencing of black women pervades the show. This became even more evident when the author of the series, given the criticism of his work, made ​​light of coming so far as to say that those who opposed him were like capitães do mato (captains of the woods) (1). As someone who intends to be an ally, someone concerned with the pain of his black colleagues, might he deserve some credit if he can’t handle criticism?

It was evident that he expected thanks for writing Sex e as negas. It didn’t happen, it won’t happen. When a white racism fights against racism, he does not deserve medals. He is only repairing 500 years of privilege. It is something that is due us, it doesn’t deserve medals or a Nobel Prize. And if you did wrong we are in all our right to complain. We always fight and write our own history. We do not need a white man to do it for us, even with such carelessness.

9) Racism

The series is premised on the dehumanization of the individual black person. It doesn’t create visibility, quite to the contrary. It reduces us, steals our protagonism, silences and animalizes us. It is therefore of racist character, yes. This is evident in the way the characters are handled by the white characters. In one scene one “boss” says no one will think that an entire bracelet studded with diamonds could be real, since it’s being worn by a black woman. And still they will say that this is how you combat racism, showing it on TV. I know.

10) Now it’s your turn.

Tell me what you think and say why you won’t give IBOPE (ratings) to this bosta (crap) series.

Source: Meninas Black PowerIndigestivos Oneirophanta, Labirinto Brasil

Notes

1) In Brazil’s slavery era, the main task of the black capitão do mato was to hunt down, capture and return fugitive slaves.

2) In Brazil’s slavery era, a mucama was the slave woman who cleaned and took care of the house and served the daughter of her master.

3) Favela do Pinto was a slum in Rio de Janeiro that was extinguished by a 1969 fire the cause of which is still unknown today. Afterward the entire slum was evacuated and in the location today is a middle class housing project known as “Selva De Pedra”. The vast majority of slum dwellers relocated to the Cidade Alta (Rio), a residential housing complex that opened in 1969.The setting of Sexo e as negas takes place in these Cidade Alta region. Source

4) Stereotypes concerning black male sexuality is also quite widespread in Brazil in the image of the “negão”, meaning “big, black man” and connected to sexual connotations. For more see here.

5) A very well known saying in Brazilian society that has been referenced in several articles on this blog. The original saying is “branca (white woman) for marriage, mulata for sex, negra for work”.

About Marques Travae 3169 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

1 Comment

  1. And what about the aspects of the show that go against stereotype? These women are not being depicted as sad, poor, lonely women who are there only to screw and serve white people. Their professions take a back seat to the vibrancy of their actual lives! I do not see slaves being silenced and raped in the show. I see 4 carefree Black women wearing their hair in its huge afros and braids, laughing, talking, and having the mischevous lives that we so rarely see Black women have in Brazilian novelas. Again, I think it is EXTREMELY important that these women are being depicted as women in charge of their lives and sexuality. It is important that we get to see them living in good homes, and that the neighborhoods are depicted as vibrant places full of music and laughter (which is true too), rather than JUST gang violence. I do not see these women being reduced AT ALL. I see them having the same fun that other races are permitted to have (and YES! that includes sex), wearing their hair naturally, which is still gaining ground in Brazil, and wearing clothes that reflect their vibrant personalities. I see women taking care of their hair and nails and enjoying the deep emotional lives that come with female friendships. The one demensional characters seem to be the WHITE women in the show. Like rich Brazilian women in real life, they seem to be bored with everything. Their money and fancy clothes does not make them happy. They are hollow. In contrast, the stars of this show get to display their witty banter, a sexuality that THEY – not the men they choose to sleep with – own, and a powerful friendship that takes them on adventures – some of which include sexual daliances.The sex scenes are hardly gratuitous and rapey. They are tasteful and sexy as hell! I see a LOT in this show that goes against stereotype. Their hair is being celebrated, not mocked. Their culture is being celebrated, not mocked. Their sexuality is theirs to own, not someone else’s. They are the queens of the street, not the people they may work form. when they walk into the room, we see only THEM.

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