The corporate world and the export of the objectification of Brazilian women
You, executive in a global or Brazilian company, who hosts many foreign people dealing with business in Brazil. My question goes to you. How many times did you offer trips to brothels or encouraged “gringos” to hit on Brazilian women “because they are easy”, “they like aggressive approach” or "they wear small clothes so they won't mind"? How many times did you teach this guys “bunda” (ass in Portuguese) before teaching any other word in the native language? How many times did you help to reinforce stereotypes that sexualizes and objectifies the Brazilian women and Brazilian culture?
I’ve worked with many global companies, dealt with many people from all over the world. And, unfortunately, in almost all of the situations I observed Brazilian business man talking to foreign guys about Brazilian women in a very sexist way, taking this "gringos" to bars and clubs to “help them to experience Brazilian women”. We are not drinks, we are not THINGS “to be tried”. This behavior stimulated very objectifying and degrading comments by outsiders targeting me or other women in the corporate environment. As soon as we shown our annoyance with the approach, most of them got aggressive, stating that they were trying to “compliment” us. But, for real, they were treating us as a peace of meat. And the colleagues from Brazil told us we needed to accept the “compliment” to help the business and use the opportunity to “catch a gringo and live as a rich person” (?????). And sometimes our business partners ask us, girls, to dress in a certain way to “help negotiations” or “decorate” the meeting! What??? It’s so offensive that makes me sick!
All the situations described above where witnessed by me. In some of them, I was the target and felt like trash, others happened with friends and coworkers. With this in mind, it’s easy to see that the corporate world is often toxic to women and helps to increase the rape culture, to normalize the sexual harassment.
Today, living in US, I see that the business environment, besides the entertainment industry, has a decisive role in the export of the rape culture of Brazil. The rape culture is, sadly, a global phenomenon, but as Brazilians themselves spread the image of an objectified and sexualized Brazilian women, many “gringos” go back home thinking that we are sluts, that is natural to touch our bodies or say absurd things about our shape, things they wouldn’t do to women in their own countries.
Do you want more exemples?
1) Women artists: “Please, use this costume. It’s revealing but you are Brazilian, you must used to show your body and dance naked, right?”
2) “I’ve been to Brazil and I can’t even comment what I’ve done there. My friends took me to some places to meet great women. Good to have you, Brazilian, here, we can have fun, your relationship status should not be a problem, right?”. (What?)
3) “I know it’s hot, but use pants in this event and not skirts, you must cover yourself”
4) “Come with me to this meeting with international executives, you can distract them and help me to close some deals”
5) “Are you from Brazil? Do you walk around with monkeys and dance samba all day?”
6) “Your Brazilian friend is cool but I can’t have relashionships with Brazilian girls. They are just for one night stands and not to get married”
7) “You are from Brazil and you dance. So you came here to be a stripper”
8) “Use smaller clothes to help in the motivation around here. You must be used to that”
9) “I hired a Brazilian to work in my house and it’s good. I can touch here and she doesn’t bother. I have her passport with me, just in case… she cannot leave me. I am good to her and her kids” (What?)
I have friends who work as nannies, house cleaners, ballerinas, hairdressers, sales person, in corporate jobs or are here only to study. All of them have stories about harassment, when guys believe they had the right to touch them or engage in sexual conversations only because they are from Brazil. And when they show dissatisfaction about that, they threaten them saying they can denounce them to the Homeland Security or hold their passport, or they can even go forward with physical sexual violence. There are also many cases of domestic abuse in Brazilian community (committed by Brazilian or foreigner partners). This victims (with or without documents) are often afraid to denounce and have problems with immigration.
You, entrepreneur who deals with people form all over the world, have an important role on the fight against this sexist culture. We need to stop with this over sexualization of Brazilian women (and women in general, of course). STOP ENCOURAGING YOUR BUSINESS PARTNERS TO TREAT BRAZILIAN WOMEN AS OBJECTS. STOP OPPRESSING YOUR FEMALE EMPLOYEES, DON’T ALLOW ANY HARASSMENT IN YOUR COMPANY. STOP TEACHING EXECUTIVES TO TALK “BUTT” IN PORTUGUESE BEFORE TEACHING THEM TO SAY “THANK YOU” IN OUR NATIVE LANGUAGE. STOP THINKING IT’S NORMAL TO GO TO BRAZIL, VISIT BROTHELS AND SEE BRAZILIAN WOMEN AS THINGS AND NOT HUMANS WHO DESERVE RESPECT.