When racist stereotyping of black women descends into humiliation: The case of the Globeleza

Globeleza - capa

Note from BW of Brazil: Today’s topic is a bit depressing and difficult to discuss. Of course, if you live in Brazil, with Carnaval season long gone, this story is old. In reality, that’s part of the reason for the timing of the post. 1) One aim of this blog is feature thoughts, photos and stories of black Brazilian women beyond Carnaval season, a time laden with stereotypical images and the only time of year that their image is widely divulged in the Brazilian media. 2) The topic speaks to the position of black women in Brazilian society that goes far beyond only Carnaval season.  

To avoid re-hashing previous material, we would direct you to check out a few of these articles to follow the subject matter, particularly here, here and here. To get right to the point, as has been written on several posts on this blog, the image of black women in Brazil is often connected to either domestic service or Carnaval, images the media regularly presents, that is, when they are featured at all. As one book recently revealed a fact that previous studies had shown, some black women feel that domestic work and prostitution are the only areas of work that are open to them in Brazil. As such, it is little wonder that the subject of today’s post, Nayara Justino, revealed that winning a contest to be the new Globeleza girl, in which she would shake and jiggle her naked body in front of millions of viewers, was the fulfillment of a dream since she was a little girl. As the opening to Carnaval gets closer every year, this is an image shown on Brazil’s top TV network several times a day in 30-second commercial clips until Carnaval officially starts continuing throughout the week. (To get an idea, see the video below of the clip for the past 21 years featuring the two previous Globeleza women).

With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that there are thousands of Afro-Brazilian women who also compete for the stereotypical Carnaval dancer as it is one of the few areas where whiteness is not a prerequisite. Actress Juliana Alves recently expressed her thoughts on this image as she accepted a leading role in a Carnaval Samba School while proudly representing black women. In the case of Nayara Justino, many black women tuned into her crowning moment even as they as they often reject what the image of black women during Carnaval represents, simply because of the fact that this spotlight is so regularly denied to them. The connection of black women with nudity and Carnaval is already blatantly racist and sexist but as the image is so cemented in the public imagination, it becomes a sort of “bitter acceptance” for some while increasingly more women are rejecting it altogether (see here and here). But what happens when the image that is already racist and sexist becomes even more blatant and even humiliating? At what point does the racist smile of entertainment become depreciating, dehumanizing laughter and rejection? In the story below, the signs were not at all subtle…

Globeleza girl compared to Zé Pequeno from the Cidade de Deus (City of God) film

With rejection, word is that Globo has prohibited her from giving interviews

The truth is that the public did not like the girl. Nayara was harshly criticized. The level of rejection was so great that Globo TV does not know what to do with her. The girl is expressly forbidden to give interviews. The order is to hide her as much as possible.

Criticism of Nayara Justino on the internet compared her to the Zé Pequeno character immortalized in the 2002 film "Cidade de Deus (City of God)"
Criticism of Nayara Justino on the internet compared her to the Zé Pequeno character immortalized in the 2002 film “Cidade de Deus (City of God)”

Nayara Justino, besides criticism, she became a joke on the internet. They made a montage comparing her to Zé Pequeno, the character in the movie Cidade de Deus (City of God), saying that the two looked alike.

News report: New Globeleza is reclusive and depressed after Carnival

nayara justino, globeleza

Nayara Justino, the new Globeleza girl, went unnoticed in the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. According to the newspaper Extra, she returned to her hometown of Volta Redonda in Rio de Janeiro state, is reclusive and depressed.

She was saddened by the lack of impact that she had as she was barely seen during the parade in the Sapucaí Carnaval stadium. Nayara was elected in a popular contest on Globo’s TV’s  Fantástico Sunday evening program and will continue in the post until next year.

Public complains that the Globeleza girl disappeared

Where happened to the new Globeleza girl? A few days ago, the column received emails from readers saying that the symbol of Globo Carnival programming disappeared.

For at least two weeks that the dancer Nayara Justino, who currently holds the post immortalized by Valéria Valenssa, has hardly appeared in the Globo commercials. Samba muisician Arlindo Cruz, who is featured in the network’s Carnaval vignettes Carnival seems to have more prominence than the mulata.

Previous Globeleza girls: Valéria Valenssa (left) and Aline Prado
Previous Globeleza girls: Valéria Valenssa (left) and Aline Prado

Elected by the public in a Fantástico contest in late 2013, the dancer has been heavily criticized on social networks. There are those who claim that she is far from the turbocharged visual of current “rainhas de bateria (queens of the drumbeat). Others believe that the image of Globeleza, created in 1992 on the channel, is already outdated.

Levantamento da Controle da Concorrência, the company that tracks commercial inserts on the market, shows that from January 26 to February 24, Globo showed clips 297 times for Carnival in São Paulo. In 2012, in which Carnival was on Feb. 21, the network exhibited them 342 times.

Globo TV says that from February 7 to the 25th, Globeleza appeared 36 times. And this volume of apparitions increased in relation to previous years. The broadcaster did not provide comparative data.

The Globeleza and representation of the black Brazilian woman

By Mirt’s Sants – Coletivo Negrada

Nayara 2

Nayara Justino is a gorgeous 25 year old woman, model and resident of Volta Redonda (state of Rio de Janeiro), and in late 2013 she won the title of Globeleza Musa of Carnival 2014 in a contest sponsored by (Globo TV’s) Fantástico “theoretically” chosen by the public.

But what’s wrong with that?

For now, nothing! Coming from a young black woman, who came from the periphery, who has samba as culture at the “tip of her toe”, but on the other hand, one only sees represented in the Brazilian media as a “escrava da casa grande (slave of the big house)” and, even in the world of Samba as “mulatas” of Carnival, ie, the so-called “soft areas”. Soft areas? Yes! Areas or spaces where being black doesn’t prevent and may even be a facilitating prerogative for access, status and social prestige, like being: a maid, a gari, a passista (dancer) in a Samba School, soccer player, among other tasks already known to all of us, these when occupied by blacks doesn’t cause fear or dispute, even considering that in such spaces blacks may also suffer racism.

But this young woman, Nayara Justino is the victim of a structured, cruel, silent racism that is  Institutional Racism, which constitutes in the public or private system articulating itself to deny and/or restrict the presence and existence of a certain group or person because of their physical, ethnic or cultural characteristics. In the case of the media, racism emerged at the institutional level and is also reflected in the public.

As muse Carnaval 2014, her image should have be widely publicized in Globo TV Carnaval programming, however, it was reduced, her performance in the vignette between the intervals of the program almost omitted. Record TV, Globo TV’s competitor, spoke of “rejection of the public” and therefore, Globo was “hiding” the girl, forbidding her to give interviews.

Before making any judgment as to the veracity of the news, I questioned Nayara Justino herself in a private message in her Facebook page to know if this report had any foundation. She replied  only that “No, it’s not true.” From this, I realized that the matter had a certain foundation, but also that someone was asking for help saying: Stop it! I don’t wanna talk about it! I can’t! I’m happy here in this place that they permitted me to be.

Photo shared by Nayara shows man wearing in blackface imitating her
Photo shared by Nayara shows man wearing in blackface imitating her (1)

In this context I realize that, as a black woman, the evil there is in being Globeleza in these conditions. Well, one of the great struggles of black Brazilian woman is the disassociation of her image as sexual object, the cheapest commodity in the market, of sexist dominion and exploitation and sexual tourism, increasingly sold abroad by the Brazilian media for the “gringo ver (foreignor to see)”. Therefore, I reaffirm that “Globeleza in the way that it is reproduced, does not represent us!” as black women because this “permitted” place is not uniquely exclusive in the media and in the society that we want to be. It’s not the space that we want to occupy, it’s not the way we want to be represented and that would be representation for our daughters and granddaughters.

We want to be in the “hard areas”, social spaces that blacks still are not “permitted” to be in, or where few are represented and when they bother and destabilize the social location made ​​for us, as in universities, offices of public services, politics, in positions of power or in management. For example, in the management of our own home, where we are often mistaken for “maids”, with all the due respect I have for this working class, being “obliged” to call the “boss (lady of the house)” as we wouldn’t have the (financial) conditions to get an apartment or home of our own!?! We want to be represented in the media with roles that respect us as women, that preserves our dignity, not by degrading stereotypes, such as that seen in the new Globo novela (soap opera) entitled Em Família, where the only role “permitted” to a black woman, with highlight in the novela, is a victim of a gang rape. Roles like this reinforce the sexist, racist and discriminatory practices against women and against blacks in this country.

However, I emphasize here comrades, that in spite of also not being pleased at all with the idea of ​​being represented by naked bodies in a media that uses them as commodities in their way, we must defend this young, and beautiful black woman, indeed, from this wave of racism that she is going through, because she is also a social subject who was denied conditions for her survival, the same one that claims a majority of our people, appearing to be a “dead end”. And still she thinks that she’s experiencing “the best moment of her career,” she is in an artistic career that allows you to be naked on stage or screen, and therefore she needs all our support because this is the place in which she chose to be.

Recently, still in February, Brazilian society fought vehemently and rigorously the explicit racism suffered by soccer player Tinga, in Peru, and against the “mistake” of the arrest of the young actor Vinicius Romão, a “standard suspicious element” of the Brazilian prison system. But this same society, daily, reproduces numerous forms of discrimination and prejudices of all kinds, whether through racism, homophobia, xenofonia, sexism, ableism…Thus, as the culture of the oppressor over the oppressed.

Until when are we “accomplices” of this racist society? Until when do we permit/accept or collaborate with the occurrence of these practices of racism? Even when do we cease to speak out against veiled racism, fearing that it will become explicit and public?

Racism exists in Brazil! Is it real, it’s there, it’s constructed and reproduced by society and always will be fed if society itself doesn’t repudiate the racist practices in their daily lives. The responsibility of uprooting it from our country is the whole society and not just the black population. And we feel that racism up close daily, it’s fitting that we don’t falter, don’t suffer alone, but rather “get on top” of racism and denounce the racists, as did the young mother Thayná Trindade, who denounced employees of the Ponto Frio store in Rio de Janeiro a few weeks ago.

The cases and racist comments on this and other matters are already “blowing up” on the web, comrades, and this is when we should unite to combat the repeated practices of the Crime of Racism and on duty racists, being in any sphere of public, private or particular administration.

Finally, I direct to all those who wish to build a more just and equal society for all, contributing to the anti-racist struggle, to inform on the ways to denounce the Crime of Racism, which can be made in person at a local precinct (take a witness), or looking for the Prosecutor of Justice of the MP, or MPF of your city/state.

Source: Paraíba, TerraElivaldo Ramos, Negro Belchior/Carta Capital

Notes

1. The usage of blackface (called “rosto pintado de preto” in Brazil) is still very common in Brazil. Although it was deemed racist on American television decades ago, in Brazil one still sees the types of “entertainment” on television, as “jokes” in Brazil or even in even in promotional ads. Although there is a segment of the population that finds this type of humor/imitation offensive, as the the continued usage in the media and the presence of the young black male in the photo above shows, it clearly doesn’t provoke widespread outrage among the general black population.

About Marques Travae 3332 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

5 Comments

  1. Again, asking your oppressors for leniency is not wise and won’t work. You need an economic advantage. Frankly Afro-Brazilian football players are falling into the same slave/master relationship that African-American sports players fall into. They will not denounce obvious hot button social/political issues. Nor will they threaten work stoppage over racial inequality.

    If Afro-Brazilian women find it degrading to participate in the Globeleza contest THEN DON’T PARTICIPATE. That is signaling that the contest is okay and socially acceptable.

    Don’t come to blogs butt-hurt and complain later.

  2. This contest is degrading and these ladies should be ashamed of themselves. Dancing naked for white people is nowhere close to sucess.
    The first time I saw Nayara’s vignette I was in a lancharia, I was the only black woman in the room. All men started to stare at me with that nasty lustful look in their eyes. I felt like I was being raped.

  3. Even though it is disheartening for Nayara, I still think her win is VERY important in the movement toward equality. The fear and rejection of her reminds me of the first black students to attend University in North America, and even the white hatred of our current American president. Progress takes time! What’s interesting to me, as well, is that “white” Brazilians, when they try to escape Brazil and go to places in Europe and USA, are often treated in the same ways that they try to treat Brazilians they perceive as Black. They go chasing the white, blond haired, blue -eyed dream in other countries, and end up second and third class citizens. They are often surprised to learn that they are white ONLY in Brazil. I think that Nayara is an important symbol that shows that a majority of people can vote for her and love here, but that these are not always the people who control the media or have consistant internet access to share their love. The race debate has been opened in Brazil, and the “elites” must become uncomfortable. They lash out by being racist, but underneath all of these ugly things, progress is being made.

  4. This is my comment on her YouTube video. “This slave act is totally disgusting. I am ashamed for her to think this exploitation by racist whites in Brazil is an improvement over the rape of African women on the plantation. The only difference is this an electronic rape to promote sexual tourism which is low pay rape by racists whites.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Carnaval Brazil: Image of black woman is racist, pure sexual | udumakalu
  2. Why are American women so bothered by the Globeleza commercial? For the same reasons many Brazilian women are. But exactly what does this image say about black women? | Black Women of Brazil

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