The most common image of Brazilian women is a stereotype, most of the time, a negative stereotype. To confirm that, we did a survey in our English class at UFRGS with academic mobility students that came to Brazil to learn Portuguese. They have been living here, in average, since the beginning of the year and they have been studying Portuguese and Brazilian culture, in average, for two years. According to them, Brazilian women have a sexy body, dark skin, wear few clothes, have parties and dance samba all the time. In general the image of Brazilian women is always connected with beaches and Carnival.
The documentary “Olhar estrangeiro” showed us how those negative stereotypes were broadcasted around the world through the media, in special by the movies made by people who didn’t know the Brazilian culture and hadn’t been to our country.
Unfortunately this image is reinforced by Brazilian people themselves who value this kind of women selling the image of women wearing bikinis on the beach. This is the favorite image of the tourism market that wants to attract foreigners to our country.
The pessimism of many of the Brazilian people who give more merit to the imported things than to the native things also contributes to create this kind of myth. Since people say bad things about their own country, foreigners, who don’t know Brazil, believe these things are true. These myths or negative stereotypes are reinforced by the ignorance about our country and this is just one side of the many sides of our story. That can be changed when you deconstruct your pre-concepts and ideas about the Brazilian women, knowing other true stories.
First, the Brazilian woman, as all population of Brazil, is a mix of different kinds of people. That is because in the 19th century, Brazil received a lot of immigrants that saw the change to work here and have a better life. Our country received Asian and European immigrants from countless countries. So, our people and women can be similar to people and women from anywhere of the world, with various types of faces.
The Brazilian woman, in general, works a lot and doesn’t have so much time to stay on the beach. There are beautiful beaches in Brazil, it is true, and women wear bikinis there, but in the rest of the territory there is not a coast - as we can see in this map:
Samba, for example, is admired usually in Rio de Janeiro and by near places and it’s exhibited a lot in Carnival (a four-day party). But we have here in Brazil a lot of typical dances, which are not similar to samba. We have here in Rio Grande do Sul a typical dance called “dança gauchesca” witch is danced in pairs, and in Bahia a famous dance called Axé, that people can dance alone. But these are just some examples! Even in Rio Grande do Sul and in Bahia we can see people that don’t like or can’t dance those rhythms, because there are other kinds of music and people who may like music from other places too.
So, people, cultures and tastes in Brazil are really diverse, actually, like in all the other places. It’s possible to find many kinds of people, women, cultures, foods, dances, music here, in our country, because Brazil is an interesting mix. People need to be open if they want to see the real Brazil, that is different from what the media shows.