Guide to Brazilian Behavior for London Olympics

On O Globo, there’s an article (in PT) about a guide that the national tourism agency in Great Britian put out on how to deal with foreign visitors. Paraphrasing, here’s what they had to say about Brazilians…

“They don’t respect schedules and will easily kiss and hug as a sign of friendship. Don’t ask them personal questions and when it comes to Brazilian women, they almost always dress sensually.”

If you are Brazilian, don’t feel left out, because the guide runs the gammit of cultural stereotypes for many nationalities. The article goes on to mention that the guide was apparently written by people from the countries they are providing advice about. I wonder…

One commentor to the article says in all caps that the guide left out something about Brazilians, specifically to be weary of British police because they kill Brazilian nationals (Jean Charles) without a reason, while another commentor says the guide is unnecessary because British people deal with tourists all year long.

Olhar Estrangeiro – Documentary

There’s a Brazilian documentary called Olhar Estrangeiro (Foreign Look) about how foreigners see Brazil and since I’ve been bringing up this very subject here, I figured it would be beneficial to talk about the film. Before seeing the documentary, I couldn’t quite put my finger on the source of so many clichês about Brazil and Brazilians but I must say, Olhar Estrangeiro (cough) pretty much hits the nail on the head. The main culprit is cinema and down the list from there, perhaps journalism and music. As one of the American directors says in the film, cinema gives us information that we aren’t searching for, yet we leave the theater influenced by it.

As for one of the questions raised in the documentary that asked if a foreign film can portray Brazil realistically, I’ll hold onto the hope that it’s possible. Or perhaps it’s time I become a director and scriptwriter.

Rio for Partiers, Women for…sex?

The clip below deals with the image of the Brazilian woman and in this case, the carioca and how that image is presented in a sexual manner to foreigners. It reached the point where postcards and other images which were of a sexual nature were prohibited from being sold in Rio. I remember being in Rio and watching a debate on the matter on a news show and while I’m supportive of the right to express yourself how you want, there are limits, of course. To promote the women in Rio as sex fiends or anything of the sort is not right. I personally know many Brazilian women and none of them are hypersexual in the way they are portrayed to the rest of the world.

As for the tourist book they refer to in the news piece, I’ve seen it and took a look through it. There were corrections I would have made to the content and I do remember taking note of the page on Brazilian women. Secondly, I wouldn’t write a short colorful book explaining Brazilian culture to a foreigner as it is a complex subject to being with. When writing about where to go or what to do, that’s fine…as long as you aren’t saying “the women in this club are easier” (well, I suppose if you are talking about Help Discoteca, then it would be factual).

To sum it up, I think if you fall for some surface article or book that says certain women are easier than others, you are probably lacking more than a few brain cells. And if you are going to say “but look at what they wear (on the beach, on the street, etc)”, I will tell you that Brazil is a hot and humid country and if you lived in Alaska, I’m sure you’d do the opposite and wear sweaters and jackets.

That being said, I absolutely love the Brazilian woman, only my love is a reflection of the culture they grow up within, and not some false notion that I pulled out of thin air.

Who decided Brazil was cool?

As a bit of a continuation of the Rio Gringo post I did, I found an article from the BBC from 2004 called “Who decided Brazil was cool?” in which the author attempts to describe why there is (was) a run on all things Brazilian (at least in the UK). At one point, the author writes…

“Not only is the world looking to Brazil for inspiration, Brazil itself is growing in confidence to break free of its stereotype of football, carnivals and samba.”

…yet the entire article revolves around these very things, stereotypes, complete with photos of Carnival dancers, the Christ statue, a screen shot from City of God, etc. I would think that in writing such a statement, one would wish to show instead of just tell. In the comment field, Ana from Brazil who lives in the UK, says…

“I am really happy to see that Brazil is getting a reputation as a country that has more to offer than samba, football and coffee.”

Even though the article she presumably just read, relates to those exact things. I think what the author of the article meant when she chose a title is, “Brazil is very cool…especially when just skimming the surface.” 

Here is the BBC article.

I suggest that the author take a look through my site and realize that if one wants to decide if Brazil is cool or not, its simply a matter of taking a deeper look.