Brazil begins to deal with “Color Image” in a country over 50% black | GBM News
RIO DE JANEIRO – Carla Vilas Boas is of mixed-race descent – African, European and indigenous – like a majority of the population of Brazil. But she spends hours straightening her hair, trying to look more like the blond, blue-eyed women she sees in the mirror of television.
By Fabiana Frayssinet
The 32-year-old domestic worker acknowledges that Brazil’s popular telenovelas have started to include characters like her – people from the country’s favelas or shantytowns, who work long workdays for low wages.
But among the actors and the models shown in ads, “there are only a few darker-skinned people among all the blue-eyed blonds. And you wonder: if I buy that shampoo and go to the hairdresser, can I look like that?” she remarked to IPS.
But her hair “never looks that way,” even with the new shampoo or the visit to the hairstylist, and Vilas Boas said that makes her feel “really bad.”
More than half of the women in this country of 200 million people – where over 50 percent of the population identified themselves as black or “mulatto” in the last census – do not identify with the images they see on TV.
Experts say that because of the prejudices reflected in the choice of actors and models, advertisers potentially lose a large segment of consumers.
A survey by the Data Popular polling firm and the Patrícia Galvão Institute (IPG), a women’s rights organisation, interviewed 1,501 women and men over the age of 18 in 100 towns and cities spread across every region of the country.
In the study “Representations of women in TV advertising”, 56 percent of those surveyed said ads did not show “real” Brazilian women.
For 65 percent of the respondents, the model of beauty in TV ads has little to do with the way Brazilian women really look, and 60 percent said they think women get frustrated when they do not feel reflected on TV.
Most ads show “young, white, thin, blond, straight-haired upper-class women,” the study says.
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(Photo Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS)