The Globo Network (Brazil) Presents: “The Strangler of Sluts”

Allied to these traditional visions of the role of women in society, the image of the Brazilian woman has been constructed over time as a sensual being, presenting nudity and lasciviousness as intrinsic characteristics. For many years, beaches and natural settings in Brazil were presenting as frames for the figure of the semi-naked Brazilian woman. Even today were find postcards and publications destined for foreign tourists in which feminine nudity is foregrounded as a portrait of Brazil. The combat against sexual tourism will inevitably touch upon changing this image of Brazil abroad and the image of the Brazilian woman we construct internally. —CPMI on Sexual Exploitation of Minors (Brazil, 2003)

Women: Down with sexism! Down with sexism!
Man 1: Look at all those feminists.
Man 2: Are you thinking what I’m thinking? [they both reach for bottles of beer, shake them up, and spray the foam on the protesters. This magically turns them into bikini-clad party animals.]
Both Men: Yeah! Yes! All right!
–Duff beer commercial, The Simpsons, February 1993 (Episode 9F14)

I am for obscenity and against pornography. Obscenity is a cleansing process, whereas pornography only adds to the murk. –Henry Miller, in George Plimpton, Writers at Work (1963)

The famous advertorial in Paris-Match, photographed by Jean Manzon and published to coincide with the state visit of the generalissimo in power at the time (the early 1970s — about the same time frame covered by The Battle of Algiers, I think), was a classic case of the “Brazilian chicks have gotta have it” meme. (That has got to be the hottest bikini-model photo ever, by the way. Sports Illustrated ought to take notes.)

As well as a classic case of fake news and stealth marketing.

I cannot find any images of this photoessay on the Web, but I have a book on the case and will try to show you the image that anchored the feature, which was basically a forerunner of a coverline I remember reading in a New York City-published “laddie” magazine once:

TV’s Biggest Stars in the World’s Smallest Bikinis!

Actually, to be honest, I was freelancing for the Fleet Street-descended magazine in question at the time, and can actually claim partial credit for writing that coverline.

The gratuitous contrast between “big” and “small” is what gives it a nice rhetorical oomph.

I mention it because of the following news, er, brief.

Aguinaldo Silva fala do Sufocador, novo personagem de ‘Duas caras’: O Globo‘s Revista da TV announces that the pole dance will not disappear from the prime-time soap opera Duas Caras just because the strip club in the mafia-run shantytown has been blown up by parties unknown.

See also

In the meantime, a new character will be introduced: The Jack the Ripper-like Sufocador de Piranhas (“the strangler of bitches”)

Piranha, according to the Houaiss dictionary of the New World Lusophone Sousaphone:

… mulher que freq. mantém relações sexuais por dinheiro; prostituta, meretriz, vagabunda

A woman, frequently one who maintains frequent sexual relations for money; prostitute, slut, tramp

Slut, from Roget’s Thesaurus II (1995)

A vulgar promiscuous woman who flouts propriety: baggage, hussy, jade, slattern, tart, tramp, wanton, wench, whore. Slang : floozy. See SEX.

The spelling has not been standardized, but the Urban Dictionary and other sociolinguistic projects tend to note biach or behatch (pronounced bee-YATCH or BEE-yatch, as far is I can tell) as a synonym for “whore.”

RIO – O autor de “Duas caras”, Aguinaldo Silva, já se recupera da explosão da uisqueria planejando um novo personagem: o Sufocador, que infernizará a vida das moças.

Scriptwriter Aguinaldo Silva is recovering from the explosion at the [strip-club in the mafia- or militia-controlled shantytown] with a new character: the Strangler, who will make the girls’ lives a living hell.

Original reports were that the cryptic message “strangler of bitches [sluts, whores, cunts, slits, tramps …] (piranhas)” would be found at the scene of the explosion.

A number of news reports confirm this: The message “strangler of bitches [sluts, whores, cunts, slits, tramps, rachas …] (piranhas)” was found at the scene.

For example:

Vesga (Laura Proença) será a primeira vítima do ‘Sufocador de Piranhas’ em Duas Caras. A atriz torce para que sua personagem não morra. “Estou amando, mas também estou tensa. Por que logo eu? Espero que ela não morra, ainda mais agora com a construção de um novo bar. Fiquei toda roxa naquele ferro e agora me matam”, protestou Laura.

Vesga will be the first victim of the “strangler of sluts” on Duas Caras. The actress is crossing her fingers that her character will not die. “I am loving it, but I am also tense. Why do I have to be the first? I hope she does not die, especially now, with the construction of the new [titty] bar. I get all bruised up on that [pole-dancing pole] and now they are going to kill me,” the actress protested.

Vesga means “cross-eyed.”

O ‘Sufocador‘ vai atacar as mulheres da uisqueria, mas não sexualmente. “O que ele quer é, de um modo quase obsessivo, castigá-las por serem mulheres, jovens, bonitas”, antecipa Aguinaldo Silva.

The “strangler” will attack the women of the [titty bar], but not sexually. “What he wants is, in an almost obsessive way, to punish them for being women, young, lovely,” the screenwriter previews.

He? In the G-rated inducement to watch the R-rated program, which omits to mention the reference to “sluts, whores, bitches, biaches, cunts, slits” and so on, Silva does not commit to the gender of the “strangler of bitches”:

– Pode ser um homem, pode ser uma mulher. Eu já sei quem é, mas não digo! – diverte-se Aguinaldo, ao contar que, na bolsa de apostas dos leitores do seu blog, a campeã é a beata Edivânia (Susana Ribeiro).

“It could be a woman. It could be a man. I know who it is, but I am not telling!” Agnaldo quips, saying that betting by readers of his blog is running heavily in favor of the saintly Edivânia, played by Susana Ribeiro.

Mas a pole dance não sumirá da novela. Alzira (Flávia Alessandra) dará aulas em uma academia, e uma de suas alunas será Maria Eva (Letícia Spiller).

But the pole dance will not disappear from the soap. Alzira will give pole-dancing classes at a gym, and one of her students will be Maria Eva.

It was very interesting to watch this plot development — the Sodom and Gomorrah-like destruction of the titty-bar — occurring in parallel with the “Débora shows her golden Globos” subplot.

Background:

A 2004 Congressional commission on sexual exploitation of minors — its vice-president was PSDB president and political slush-fund and embezzlement defendant Senator Azeredo — made some pretty strong policy statements about the relationship of these sorts of displays to criminal behavior, with respect to the social responsibility of the mass media:

Alguns aspectos da cultura modificam-se mais rapidamente, outros mantêm-se tão entranhados na vida cotidiana que são apresentados como se fossem dados ou características naturais nas relações sociais. Tratando da exploração sexual de crianças e de adolescentes, temos de necessariamente falar da persistência de uma cultura tradicional, permeada de estigmas sobre os sujeitos sociais, que mantém tabus sobre os papéis do feminino e do masculino, da criança e do adulto, valorizando e conferindo superioridade aos pólos masculino e adulto.

Some aspects of culture change rapidly, others persist, embedded in the daily life in which they are presented as natural facts or natural features of social relations. Dealing with the sexual exploitation of adolescents and children, we must necessarily speak of the persistence of a tradtional culture, permeated with stigmas regarding social topics, that maintains taboos about the roles of masculine and feminine, child and adult, valuing and conferring superiority on the masculine and the adult.

Estes são discursos que sustentam relações de poder autoritárias que submetem mulheres, crianças e adolescentes a uma condição de inferioridade social. No mesmo rol, elencamos os preconceitos étnicos, raciais e de classe que se mesclam aos estigmas acima referidos na ações de subordinação dos sujeitos sociais. Dessa forma, “a exclusão que atinge a mulher se dá, às vezes, simultaneamente, pelas vias do trabalho, da classe, da cultura, da etnia, da idade, da raça, e, assim sendo, torna-se difícil atribuí-la a um aspecto específico desse fenômeno, em vista de ela combinar vários elementos da exclusão social.”

These are discourses that support authoritarian power relations, which submit women, children and adolescents to a condition of social inferiority. By the same token, we find ethnic, racial and class prejudice mixing with the above-mentioned stigmas in acts of social subordination. In this way, “the exclusion that affects women often expresses itself, at the sae time, through work, class, culture, ethnicity, race, or age, and it therefore becomes difficult to attribute it to a single aspect of the phenomenon, given that it combines various aspects of social exclusion.

Na construção social da desigualdade, a mídia tem um papel fundamental, na medida em que reproduz e dissemina esses valores, atingindo toda a sociedade pelo seu poder de penetração, especialmente, no mundo contemporâneo, com a força da televisão. Os papéis femininos apresentados na mídia tendem a perpetuar os esteriótipos de submissão e fraqueza da mulher em face da figura masculina.

In the social construction of inequality, the media plays a fundamentale role, to the extent that it reproduces and disseminates these values, affecting society as a whole through its power of penetratio [so to speak], especially in the contemporary world, with the power of TV. Feminine roles presented in the media tend to perpetuate stereotypes of the submission and weakness before the masculine figure.

Um estudo sobre a revista Capricho, destinada ao público adolescente, ilustra bem a força de um veículo de comunicação na perpetuação de uma cultura sexista:

A study of Capricho magazine, designed for teen readers, illustrates well the power of a publication to perpetuate a sexist culture:

From the Editora Abril, eternal font of all that is good, holy, freedom-loving and true.

Lacuna. I do not feeling like wading through that much more academic prose today. Too much like work.

Os estudos sobre revistas para adolescentes revisados aqui sugerem que as mensagens promovem a subordinação da identidade feminina em favor da dominação masculina. Desta forma, esses textos contribuem para o controle patriarcal das vidas femininas. Quanto às relações de gênero, a mídia reforça as condições que legitimam as estruturas de poder existentes. A construção do papel feminino através das revistas coloca as adolescentes em uma posição contraditória na medida em que elas precisam encantar os homens e, ao mesmo tempo, assumem a culpa se elas fracassam na manutenção desta construção patriarcal. Esta contradição tem conseqüências negativas para as meninas que tentam viver através destes valores.

Studies of teen magazines reviewed here suggest that the message promotes the subordination of feminine identity in favor of masculine domination. In this way, these articles contribute to patriarchal control of feminine lives.

Just a minute while I yell down for Mrs. NMM to make a fresh pot of coffee.

In terms of gender relations, the media reinforces the conditions that legitimate existing power structures. The construction of the feminine role through magazines places teen girls in a contradictory position to the extent that they must enchant and attract men and, at the same time, assume the blame if they fail to maintain this patriarchal construct.

I think that Simpsons ad parody says all of this with a great deal more economy of expression, but what the hell: This is academic prose. It has its jeitos.

This contradiction has negative consequences for girls who have to try to live out these values.

Para o fenômeno da exploração sexual de crianças e adolescentes, que atinge principalmente as pessoas do sexo feminino, essa cultura sexista concorre para a visão da mulher e da criança como algo a serviço do homem. Assim, (…) a oferta do corpo feminino para a realização dos desejos masculinos é vista com naturalidade e sua aceitação pelo homem é esperada, ainda que caiba à mulher o papel de se “preservar”. A “pureza” sexual feminina é mitificada, enquanto que o apetite sexual masculino é estimulado.

In terms of the sexual exploitation of children and teens, which principally affect persons of the feminine gender, this sexist culture promotes a vision of the woman and child as something at the service of the man. Thus … the offering of the female body for the realization of masculine desires is seen as natural, and its acceptance by the man is expected, but the role of “preserving” is reserved for the woman. Feminine sexual “purity” is mythified, while masculine sexual appetites are stimulated.

I had friend in my San Francisco days who made a decent living doing that. Doing it for a living, she said, kind of tended to take the fun out of it.

Aliado a essas visões tradicionais sobre o papel da mulher na sociedade, a imagem da mulher brasileira foi-se construindo no País, ao longo da história, como sensual, apresentando a nudez e a lascívia como características intrínsecas a estas. Durante muitos anos, as praias e a natureza encontradas no território nacional foram apresentadas ao mundo emolduradas pela figura da mulher brasileira seminua. Ainda hoje encontramos cartões postais e publicações destinadas ao turista estrangeiro nas quais aparece, em primeiro plano, a nudez feminina como retrato do Brasil. O combate ao turismo sexual passa pela mudança da imagem do País no exterior e da imagem da mulher brasileira que construímos internamente.

Allied to these traditional visions of the role of women in society, the image of the Brazilian woman has been constructed over time as a sensual being, presenting nudit and lasciviousness as intrinsic characteristics. For many years, beaches and natural settings in Brazil were presenting as frames for the figure of the semi-naked Brazilian woman. Even today were find postcards and publications destined for foreign tourists in which feminine nudit is foregrounded as a portrait of Brazil. The combat against sexual tourism will inevitably touch upon changing this image of Brazil abroad and the image of the Brazilian woman we construct internally.

Para a superação dos valores e normas que inferiorizam a mulher, a criança e o adolescente, é fundamental que os meios de comunicação assumam o compromisso com a difusão de valores de proteção integral da infância e da adolescência. A mídia não pode fazer simplesmente uma reprodução mecânica dos valores e normas de uma sociedade, mas, como formador de opinião, pode intervir e contribuir para as mudanças necessárias no âmbito cultural.

In order to overcome values and norms that promote a view of women, children, and the adolescent as inferior, it is fundamental for the media to commit to spreading values of complete protection for childhood and adolescence. The media cannot simply mechanically reproduce the values and norms of a society. As a former of opinion, it has the power to intervene and contribute for the necesary changes in the cultural environment.

That point of view is makes me somewhat uncomfortable. I have a reasonably strong knee-jerk reaction to the unlibertarian. I do.

As a viewer of Brazilian TV, I would settle for just seeing the boob tube give equal time to contrasting viewpoints.

Brilliant example of this: Abujamra’s interview on TV Cultura with Oscar Maroni, presented in the same program alongside his interview with the president of a prostitute’s union in small-town Sergipe.

Just let the two of them speak for themselves. They speak volumes on these subjects. Volumes.

See

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