2 thoughts on “Flawed Beauty – Dateline Australia

  1. Instead of sounding nega – tive, I’d like to start on a positive note. The seeds have been planted and Brazil is changing. Ever so little at a time. When I used the word diversity, let me explain what I mean. Diversity is a mixture of ideas, not just simply a mixture of colors. For example, in the ’60’s most architectural firms in the south of the US were 99.99% white men, from the south. They ate the same food, went to the same churches, schools, wore the same clothes, basically had the same ideas. A very homogenized way of living and thinking. And their architecture or designs reflected those cookie cutter views.

    Fast forward 25 years and at those same architectural firms you now have architects with backgrounds from India, Kuwait, Mexico, and other parts of the world. Not only that, but you also have women of diverse backgrounds also. After time the firms have developed a wealth, an explosion of ideas and designs to draw from, with many different cultural ideas. Once the principles of those firms got past the idea of quotas and started to think in terms of dollars and cents (or the color of money – green) they realized that the wealth of ideas are more abundant the more you can combine different cultural ways of thinking or ‘thinking outside the box’ as it were. If one has all the proper educational tools and experience – the firms started hiring these individuals because they knew they could make money with these talented peoples ideas, not just because of some quota system that had been implemented to foster these new ideas in the first place. A principle of an architectural firm once told me when I was in my early 20’s that he hires architects for their ideas.

    Know this perceived assumption (idea) that, ‘and it’s the perceived extra wealth of white consumers that’s seen as the driving force behind the divide’. Is just a cop out. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the bulk of fashion industries product is bought in the more affordable off the rack markets. That’s where the mostof the fashion dollars or Reis are spent and not in the couture markets of Paris or São Paulo.

    Don’t believe me, take any city in Brazil and just look at the beautiful women of Brazil going about their daily lives and what do you see? You see women who cannot afford the name brand clothes but the more affordable off the rack versions, and they look ever so beautiful in them. And a lot of these woman are not affluent but also ‘mulattas’, and have a wonderful fashion sense. I’ve seen many a fashion idea come from and out of the favelas that are stunningly beautiful. Has any body ever heard of carnaval?

    The saddest part to me about racism is to be racist against one’s own kind, or what I call interracial racism. How many times have I heard from black and white in Brazil about ‘how slow people are from Bahia’? Or that ‘the people of favelas don’t want to aspire to be or do anything to better them selves’. Which is far from the truth. In fact, I’ve never seen a more entrepreneurial minded group of people. Once the Brazilian ethos comes to realize that hiring someone on the basis of their qualifications and not because of the color of their skin has so many profitable ideas that are there for the choosing.

    Something’s happening in Brazil, more and more are starting to speak out and finally are getting some teeth into those ideas through laws being passed even if it’s ever so subtle.

  2. While I agree with jazztech that ideally black and darker-skinned brazilians would be hired in the fashion industry because the industry realizes the potential for growth, I think that is a very idealistic point of view. It seems to me that these quotas are necessary to at least get into motion a group of models that is more representative of the country. Despite what some people say, racism is alive and well in Brazil, it is just a more subtle form. The fashion industry directly reflects the subtle racism and the unfortunately common idea that lighter is better. I don’t know anything about how the quotas will be implemented or about the reactions from both the general public and the fashion industry, but I would be really interested to hear more about it. I imagine the the quotas might create a lot of resentment in the industry, but hopefully that will pass over time.

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