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February 09, 2010


Jim Shattuck

Talk about cultural ignorance. Americans can be so self righteous. I see nothing wrong with having a little girl get the chance of a lifetime to be the queen of the Bateria of her school in Carnaval. Although it's probably WAY more fun for her than it will be for the adults who were looking forward to another remarkably beautiful woman in the role.

Just one note: Viradouro is rather unique in that they really try to avoid using models or actresses in these lead muse roles. They pride themselves in placing women from the community in those positions.


Thank goodness someone else outside my house thinks the American media plays in ridiculous stereotypes about Brazil.


I think she should dance. It's definitely nepotism, and it could be perceived as unfair because a cute kid is being compared against an adult actress or model--but the schools don't get judged on the rainha alone. You make a great point about the kids' Carnaval, plus Beija Flor's rainha da bateria started 8 years ago, when she was 12; if it's such a 'sexual' thing, why would it be OK for the kids to even start the samba school from a young age? I kind of equate it to getting the "lead" in the play for a kid who does community theater every year. The samba is their art. I think foreigners who have never seen Carnaval and only see the thong-wearing dancers have no idea what it's really like. Even on the Presunic grocery store commercial (which I love) there are sambistas in thongs. I can't fully explain how a woman dressed this way doesn't convey any explicitly "sexy" image--as you know, you just have to be here a little while to understand.

Ernest Barteldes

I honestly would not make a big deal about this. It's opportunistic? Yes. Is it wrong? I would not say so. After all, it is something that is part of the country's culture. And as Rachel said, if the US media are going to point at Brazil, why not look at America's child beauty pageants?


I'm always annoyed by this type of news story, it just screams "holy crap we're too lazy to do actual research". And this isn't the US media alone, everywhere you look you see the press act the same way, it's an industry of misinformation that doesn't even have the decency to pretend that they're doing their jobs. Agh, enough with the rant.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian

I think your points regarding how the over makeuped, over sexed baby American beauty pageants should receive more heat than one child dancer taking on the role of an adult's role in Carnival.

How is having a child perform in an adult role (even if some of the moves are sexual) more harmful than having a 7 year old prance around the stage in a bikini with her hand on her hip singing Britney Spears?

I also agree with the above comment that when it comes down to it, samba is this child's art. She is learning moves that may be above her sexually, but I doubt that she is internalizing these moves in a sexual manner or destroying her innocence in learning these moves.

And if she was, should all children be banned from learning art forms that may have sexual connotations?

Great question Rachel...


couldn't agree with you more. unfortunately the international media sells everything overdramatized - especially american media - but i think it's a great idea!!! i went to a samba school practice recently and the school's attraction was the cute little 5 year old trying to be the rainha da bateria!!

i think if the child agrees and it isn't overbearing on her... porque não?!

after seeing the adorable samba princess at the practice, i'm definitely raising my kids in a samba school... lol

Rio Gringa

Agreed, all, and thanks for your comments!

Watching some of those highly creepy US pageant videos, the girls are dressed and made up to look like grown women, where as this little sambista does look like a little kid. Oh, moral relativism and blind stereotyping. :/


You should check out the film 'Little Miss Sunshine'


This is the first time since I knew this blog that I agree with you...


Ridiculous. Simply ridiculous to say "questionable moves" or to insinuate the girl is dress as a grown-up as you said " Viradouro samba school has put his seven year-old daughter in a role normally reserved for fully grown women wearing just enough to cover their private parts."

The text is excellent, Rachel, as most times. But, unfortunately, by saying this you are kind of contributing to the stereotype. I know that you did not mean the girl is dress as a grown-up but my first take was that. You wrote that to seem like she was. She is not. She is absolutely adorable and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as you very well pointed out in your post. There are kids every year dancing samba in the Sambodromo; and you seem to know this first-hand. From what I have seen (this video) the girl is not moving sexy at all. She is simply "sambando". I've seen (and I am sure you have seen as well) much worse on Brazilian TV. Young girls like her making real questionable moves (like "danca da garrafa" or "tchan" moves?). This is just samba and her clothes, as you know, are not out of extraordinary in hot Brazil. The malice is in the foreign Media mind -- fishing for these type of stories. It is not surprise the clip was found on BBC. The English are even crazier than Americans when it comes down to this. Absurd!

One thing you did not say was that Pedophilia is considered a very serious/heinous crime in Latin American countries (especially Brazil) punishable in prisons, for example. Here, not so much (as far as I know). In fact, most Americans and Europeans go to Brazil or Latin America to pay for sex with young children. And, that, my friend, is even more ridiculous.

Ayron Mathias

A newspaper in Sweden referred to Julia as the new sexy muse of Brazil. Really?? People are going crazy with this story all around the world while Brazilians like me have no idea of this case. I first heard about it here in Rachel's blog.

Rio Gringa

Ayron - Why do you think the Brazilian media hasn't done anything with this story? It's weird, no?

Simone, I think you misunderstood the part about her clothing. I meant that the women who usually have this role wear next to nothing, not that the little girl is (because she is wearing a skirt and top, as you can see). The women in this role (the rainhas da bateria) normally wear very little - this isn't really a stereotype, it's reality, though it unfortunately helps contribute to the oversexed Brazilian stereotype.

As for her dancing, some Americans (and Brazilians, for that matter) do find it questionable, hence the story blowing up the way it did.


Rachel, I think the way your phrased it gives the wrong impression. I understood what you said - but just because I read it a second time! If you read fast, as I usually do, you can misunderstand that sentence. So I get that you are not talking about the girls' clothes. The stereotype is that in this sentence you give the impression the little girl is dressing like a grown-up. I guess nobody else picked on that because, overall, your article does not see much wrong with the little girl dancing samba- and everyone (including me) seem to agree with it. Also, the dancing is not at all questionable (at least from the video you posted). If there are Brazilians who find it bizarre either they have seen more than what I have or they are the same B.S. puritans who criticized the blond lady for wearing a mini dress to school - they live in a different world. Really.

I don't think most Brazilians care about this little girl. If they did, they would say something at the outraging TV shows where girls like her DO look and act vulgar, and they clearly do not - since as far as I know these shows are more and more mainstream. If anything, this should be condemned.

Regarding Americans, I am sure some find it offensive. It's probably from the same group of people that condemn same sex marriage, sex education, etc. but that in their daily-life practice the opposite (like the pedophile priests and executives or even politicians who engage in sex scandals here and abroad)


=One thing you did not say was that Pedophilia is considered a very serious/heinous crime in Latin American countries (especially Brazil) punishable in prisons, for example. Here, not so much (as far as I know). ==

I don't think there are many countries in the world that have stricter laws against child sex offenders than the U.S. Its so extreme here that 18 year olds are routinely jailed for having consensual relations with their 16 year old girlfriends.

==In fact, most Americans and Europeans go to Brazil or Latin America to pay for sex with young children. And, that, my friend, is even more ridiculous.==

I doubt that Americans and Europeans pay for sex with young children in Brazil, more than the locals do, although they may gather more attention for it.


Tritone you might be right about US laws but I have no way to know that. I was referring on how tough prisoners were treated by other prisoners in LatAm as far as this crime. They get killed (tortured) rather quickly in prisons. It is not the law that is better. It is a form of "local" law, better knows as lynching.

As far as locals paying for this, I am pretty sure you that is not the case - due to perception this is terribly wrong, you won't see many of these crimes. At least, the perception seems to see this a very hideous crime. As far as Americans, I know many take advantage of extreme poverty in Northeast Brazil to engage in these activities - that yes, are many times, supported by the children's families, in desperate need for money. They do, however, pick foreigners for that. I know it sounds contradictory but it is what it is. If you know more about locals doing this, please share. As far as I know, the only locals who do this, is some parents to their own children. Which I agree is as bad as anybody else seeking for service.

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