By Carol Mendes | Translation by Sarah Bella Mondragon
A working woman, responsible with your kids and her home, a loyalty lover and companion, always fighting in the search to reach their ideals, with a natural “mixed” rare beauty and a distinctive graceful sway about her; this is the essence of the Brazilian woman. But before we can arrive at the prototype we know today, it serves us to review the various phases and challenges that she has encountered during all the years since the discovery of Brazil in 1500. From the beginnings of the history of this tropical nation, she suffered.
Female slaves brought from Africa and indigenous Indians were forced to work hard, and white women were seen only as the wives of the great plantation owners and the producers of their offspring and heirs. The difference of how man and women are in the world; sometimes unjust and marked, diminished to some extent with the passing of time. The women in Brazil, like all women in every part of the world began taking their rightful places. In 1946, after many attempts, women won the right to participate in elections.
This conquest was only made possible through the Provisional Penal code of 1932, yet still wasn’t really complete, because during this time period, the military only gave official citizenship to Brazilian females who were widowed or single, and had their own source of personal income. The female vote only became obligatory and without restrictions after only 63 years.
In the 21st century we see the woman retake her older role, returning to participate actively in society and encountering their places through a lot of struggle to acquire their rights as citizens, workers, wives and mothers. Women now are experiencing being seen and treated as they are. Looking for the knowledge, questioning and not only just accepting passively what the men say. Applying themselves in which ever profession and demonstrating that they are as capable as men.
It is also important to note that beauty is only one chapter of this essence and the history of the Brazilian woman is marked by great personalities. From Chiquina Gonzaga, first woman to “reger” an orchestra to Leila Diniz, pioneer of walking in bathing suits showing her belly, ripe with pregnancy. From Carmen Miranda, the Portuguese born, naturalized Brazilian and today immortalized in Hollywood to Gisele Bundchen, the highest paid model in the world, and considered by many magazines around the world as one of the most beautiful women on the planet.
All of them have their importance, women that have changed the concept of being a women in the time that they lived. According to the photographer Antonio Guerreiro, Brazil is essentially a country made through the delicate and brave of its women. People who follow being well in their soul and their minds, with a strength and true desire to overcome challenges, romantic, hopeful, happy and clear, preoccupied with their silhouette and their bodies.
As was once said by the legendary pop singer Jorge Ben Jor in one of his music, “Mulher Brasileira em Primeiro Lugar” (Brazilian woman in first place…).The Brazilian woman hasn’t ever for a moment left behind what was expected of women of the past, or better said, what is continued to be expected of them in their role as mothers, daughters, wives, lovers and friends. Nothing more just than to agree with Jorge Ben Jor and the majority of the men in this world around.