Monday, February 23, 2009

Brazil - Only Newsworthy During Carnaval When Some Women Might Be Topless!!

Though I often put news stories and commentary up on Brazil, it's really hard to find many stories that are available in multiple mainstream media sources in the U.S. Usually, my posts will involve one link because that's all you can find usually find.

Apparently that "Brazil isn't interesting enough for mainstream media" rule flies right out the window during Carnaval, though, as several other journals (and those three are just a small sampling) are picking up the AP's report on a dancer who has allegedly set the record for "smallest genital covering ever." Nor is it limited to this - all of a sudden, a quick Google news search on Carnaval in Rio (ending this week) brings up numerous stories selling sex and dancers and little else. Nevermind that, as I've said before, Carnaval is a complex social event that involves enormous planning and preparation, detailed floats, parades, competing social clubs, celebration, somber topics, and societal issues. I haven't seen Brazil covered in the news this much since Bush traveled to Brazil back in 2007.

And yet, now that Brazil is back in the news, what do a majority of the stories focus on? The near-nakedness of some of the women. Does Carnaval include topless women? Yes. Yes, it does. But to say that that is the single thing that characterizes Carnaval is like saying that the Detroit Lions' football game is the single thing that characterizes Thanksgiving. There is so much that is going on in terms of complex societal relations, politics, and culture, all of which is worth celebrating and discussing and which goes well above and beyond a handful of scantily-clad women in a nation of well over 180 million people. And the U.S. decides to report on some good old-fashioned T&A.

Hey, American media - way to perpetuate steroetypes of the "exotic other" in Brazil.