The Imaginary Image: Representations of Race, Color, and Culture in Contemporary Brazilian Magazines

Jenkins, Brittany Michelle

The purpose of this research study is to extend the discussion on the production of culture in Brazil to include an examination of major Brazilian magazines geared at women and discuss their representations of race, color, and culture. The key questions for analysis include: In popular contemporary magazines geared toward women, what racial, color, and cultural messages are portrayed in regards to women? What do these messages reveal about the discourse of women in Brazil? And, what do these messages and the discourse of women reveal about the woman of color’s identity in Brazil? Utilizing these questions, this study analyzes the following magazines: Hope(2011), Lola(July 2011), UMA(June 2011),Claudia(July 2011), Corpo a Corpo(July 2011), Nova(2011), Le Lis(May 2009), and Caras(2011). The first section of this study discusses how images reemphasize in Brazilian identity the need to mimic a white, Western ideal and claim it as Brazilian in order to help resolve cultural anxieties about blackness and its influence on Brazil’s world image. Furthermore, this section addresses a common theme within contemporary Brazilian women’s magazines, which is the promotion of an icon or famous Brazilian woman as an idol to emulate who represents the universal Brazilian woman and hope for Brazilian beauty. The second section of this study examines how these images affect the identity of women of color in Brazil. More specifically, it discusses how the creation of a binary opposition between a white ideal and the woman of color creates a subordinate femininity within Brazilian identity. Also, this section analyzes how women of color are represented when they do appear within contemporary magazines. Ultimately, this research study contributes to scholarship analyzing contemporary Brazilian culture, identity, gender, and representations of blackness.

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Academic Units
Institute of Latin American Studies
Published Here
June 13, 2013