I’m well aware that I was born in a country that is at the forefront of women’s rights and equality in general. So I suppose I shouldn’t expect to find the same kind of climate everywhere else. But I cannot help but to be appalled and shocked at some of the things I’ve seen here. For example – a few weeks ago I went with a few friends to Augusto Corrêa, a small neighbouring village to Bragança, where a religious festival (Círio de Nazaré) was taking place. It was very nice, like travelling back 50 years, with ancient carousels and caramelized apples. One of the main attractions was a plastic house with the entrance through the mouth of a gorilla. To the left of it was an enormous painting of two women in sexually provoking postures, wearing nothing more than teeny tiny bikinis and pouting lips. One could almost hear them moan with pleasure. Inside the house one encounters one of these alluring creatures, but after a minute or two they are transformed into (you guessed it) a female gorilla. I couldn’t help but becoming an indignant old spinster – what kind of message does this give to young girls and boys? That a woman is merely an object, there to please the male eye; but at the same time a she-devil, not to be trusted?
Not to mention the TV… My Lord! I happened to watch a bit of a popular show the other day, and the host had a typical radio face, without even a hint of a smile and shouting into the microphone; constantly interrupting his doll-like female guests (who’s only role seemed to be looking pretty) with a paternal pat on the head. There was a group of dancers as well – about 15 grinning girls wearing dresses fit for striptease clubs performing a girly choreography that would have been out-dated even 20 years ago. It was very difficult to keep looking without throwing things at the screen. At the same time the Brazilian women I’ve met are pretty strong-minded, so I’m probably overreacting as usual. Or maybe it’s time for some bra-burning?