Beauty and Brazil

What do you think you know about Brazilian women?

When Racialicious blogger Wendi Muse lived in Brazil she found that the first question her American friends would ask was, "Are the girls hot?"

It turns out, the answer is a little more complicated than you might think. Understanding beauty in Brazil means understanding how the concept intersects with gender, race, and class…in ways that are often very different from how the system works here.

…what we would consider "high maintenance" in the United States is the accepted norm for women's appearance. A woman must always be "bem arrumada." This means that even when one goes grocery shopping, heels, nice clothes, and styled hair is the norm. One of my students once told me that she felt absolutely dirty when her nails were not done, and another informed me she would never leave the house with wet hair because that was super "pobre" ("ghetto").

All three issues affect Brazilian's women's concept of themselves and our concept of them from the outside. Very interesting stuff and worth a read. Check out the posts on Gender, Class, and Race.