Sunday, 25 May 2014

Heineken. Sexism. Brazil.

I'm a woman, and I'm Brazilian. Today, I want to tell you a bit about being woman in Brazil. 

Being woman in Brazil means conforming to a set of rules that are often times contradictory in nature. You are expected to be sexy at all times, even when you're sleeping. Seriously, I've seen tutorials on how to wake up in 'good conditions' near a husband/boyfriend/any man. For the record, I still haven't figured what they mean by 'good conditions'. 

Notwithstanding the obligation towards 'sexy', a Brazilian woman is expected to be a 'good girl'. Good as in marriageable. She's a god-fearing creature who will do ANYTHING to keep her man (reads as: forget about her own personality, have no trace of identity, smiiiiiile, in other words, the doormat thing). 

At the same time, the Brazilian woman is expected to be open minded and extremely sexualized. 'Whore in bed, holy in the living room' is a mantra I got accustomed to repeating from a very early age. You have to please, you need to please, otherwise another woman will steal your man from you. You know. It's all about the competition. 

A Brazilian woman is taught that she can't have good female friends. There is no real sense of camaraderie among women, they say. At the same time, you should avoid being friends with guys, as there is no such thing as 'real' friendship between men and women, they think. 

She is also taught that she has to have a good career. But the career, they say, should never come before her man. They put the word 'family' to make it look nicer, though. And the Brazilian woman believes it's normal that she will make all sorts of sacrifice after she's married, for the sake of husband and kids. She's expected to have a male spouse and children even when she's lesbian. The reasoning goes: if she's a lesbian, that's obviously because she hasn't found her man yet. They say. 

The Brazilian woman is told that she has to be extremely kind and exceedingly available if she wants to get married. Yet, people frown upon women who decide not to get married. Something is wrong with them, they say. So, as I mentioned earlier, she has to do anything to keep her man. She shouldn't get slutty, though. Slutty is bad, and it will throw you right in the spinster limbo. Marriage is an asset, and Brazilian women who do get married are somehow perceived as achievers. Whatever.that.means. 

Brazilian women are expected not to smoke: if she smokes she's a whore. She shouldn't drink, either. Good girls just don't. She shouldn't sweat, gain weight, have curly hair, have pubic hair, or hair on the "wrong places". Yellowish teeth? God forbid! Also, she should wear makeup but not too much. She should spend hours trying to achieve a 'natural' look. She should also occupy as little space as possible, and overweight girls suffer with all sorts of fatophobic abuse. She shouldn't bother too much about soccer, either. Soccer is male business, they say. 

Brazilian Slut Walk (neither saints, nor whores, WOMEN!) 

I could go on. The point I wanted to make, though, is that it came as no surprise to me that Heineken decided to advertise its beer on sexist terms. In such a misogynistic scenario, I wouldn't expect a beer brand to tell women to go drinking. Since the Brazilian woman is required to be the null individual I've just described above, Heineken has decided to tell them to go shopping. Apparently, it's the win-win solution for all Brazilian men: send their women to a shoe shop and get rid of all the drama. Just don't ask me what drama they are talking about. I've no idea and I'm afraid no Brazilian woman will precisely know what they mean. 

Heineken and the sexist media in Brazil haven't realized a couple of things, though. The first is that we are changing. Slowly, but steadily. A revolution is taking place in my country at this very moment. We are, in our own good time, raising our voices to speak up against injustice. We are taking ownership over our bodies. We are gathering, sharing, caring for each other. We're telling the media, the bigots, the whole conservative sect of our society that we've had enough. We.won't.stop.


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