The Representation of the "Brazilian Woman" (1966-1985)

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Cléa LEITE, Departamento de Sociologia - PPGSOL/UnB, Brazil
The Brazilian Tourism Company (Embratur) was created in 1966, during the military regime. In this context, the Brazilian government, through Embratur, encouraged the development of a tourism infrastructure by systematizing Brazil´s participation in international events, organizing international events in the country and promoting Brazil as a tourist destination abroad and aimed to build a "Brazilian tourism industry". This institutional-policy was structured from a reductionist perspective of tourism as social phenomenon. Thus, this investigation aimed to reveal if Embratur sold the "Brazilian woman" as a "product of tourism". Our objective was to analyze the representation of the "Brazilian woman" contained in Brazil´s marketing materials as a touristic destination for foreigners, which were produced and promoted by Embratur between 1966 and 1985. Through a descriptive-interpretative approach, we have analyzed Embratur´s official documents, its related legislation and marketing materials. Brazil´s marketing materials for foreigners promoted mostly natural landscapes, historical-artistic heritage, religious festivals and rituals. However, the highlights stood in the “Carnaval” and the "Brazilian woman". White women were socially represented in beauty contests and fashion events. Non-white women were represented as: "mulatas", hypersexualized and worshiped during “Carnaval” or in the summer season advertisements, mostly portrayed half-naked in bikinis at beaches or natural landscapes; or as exotic black women related to religious rituals or gastronomy. The study investigated how the "Brazilian woman" was apprehended as a modern subject by Embratur, locating women´s identities in fixed categories of Latin-American/Brazilian, female and racialized, which consequently (re)produced the stereotypes of sexualized, exotic, submissive, sexually available and domesticated. Embratur turned the "Brazilian woman" subjectivity into an object, a touristic product, through representations of localized identities, and has offered it - body and beauty - to the foreign tourist / colonizer / oppressor, in a process of fixing the “Other´s” stereotype - (re)produced by Embratur.