What You Need to Know About Brazil…Body Image

Brazil and Body Image


Remember that shampoo commercial from the 80’s “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful?” It reminds me of the undeniably stunning women in Brazil. And how I myself feel after about 10 minutes every time I go there.

Attitude Leads in Brazilian Body Image

My first visit, about the same time that commercial came out, I was all about indignant long lectures and passive aggressive jabs to my Brazilian husband about exploitation and objectification of women in Brazil and how superior and liberated we women were in the US. Until I realized the guys had nothing on the ladies…it was actually about an amazing, empowering, self-confidence…A matter of factness that said “This is my body. What of it?”

Growing up in the US, where it’s requisite for every woman to think she’s fat and hate at least something about her body (for Scarlett Johansson it’s her thighs) this is incredibly liberating. So, ladies if you are off to Brazil for the Olympics this summer, and you see and you tend to want to hate all those gorgeous women and their string bikinis on the beach let me tell you something first…

If you can’t beat them join them.

Half of what you get is attitude! I know there’s probably a lot of people not going “yeah not so much…the people there are gorgeous, probably a result of so much mixing of different cultures,” but what you will find is that there’s a matter of factness about one’s own body. “Hey this is me and this is my body.”  It’s absolutely freeing. And quite practical too, not having to worry about layering or hiding this or that with extra clothes when it’s HOT!

You may find (or I encourage you to do so) yourself wearing tighter, more fitted clothes. And all those rules that say you’re too old to wear jeggings without covering your backside, well how do you feel about it? It’s very liberating to just feel comfortable in your body and to not care if it’s good or bad or whatever.

Will the Olympics Happen in Rio this Winter?

Yes, winter.  August is winter in Brazil. Temperatures will range from a low of 66 to a high of 78—and you won’t find most of the locals on the beaches (which are packed ‘wall to wall’ in the Brazilian summer months). While that is good news for mosquito control (mosquitoes prefer temperatures over 80), even with the Brazilian “can do-let’s get from A to B boom we’re there” spirit, on top of Zika and political changes, there are bacteria-laden waters, a declared “financial state of emergency for the state of Rio de Janeiro and (as with any big event) concern about terrorism, it may actually, finally throw the push for the 2016 Rio Olympics off the tip of Pão de Açúcar.

That said, I’m still betting on Brazil to pull it off, and the long-term appeal of Rio with its beautiful beaches and beautiful people will endure.

And so, USAmerican ladies…I have new cultural insight for you to the phrase “don’t hate me because I am beautiful.” Because in Brazil, the women are beautiful….but it’s also because they feel beautiful!*


*So you can learn from “my friend’s” mistake, wear sunscreen! On her first trip to Rio as a young bride, noticing her husband eyeing the other ladies, she said, indignantly, “I can do that too!” Her husband warned her not to, which she scorned, and then did not sit for the rest of the trip having hiked her swimsuit up to expose her cheeks to the world, resulting in the worst sunburn ever.