15 June 2007

Brazil update: looking good supersedes soccer as national pastime

I was going to post just one of these, but this series of truly offensive Brazilian ads for Fit Light Dairy deserves to be seen in entirety. The tagline for all three ads reads, "Forget it. Men's preference will never change. Fit Light Yogurt." (In order, the ads reference famous photos of Mena Suvari, Sharon Stone, and Marilyn Monroe.) It ought to be obvious what's wrong with these ads, but: first of all, preferences about female body shape most certainly do change, over time and across cultures. Plus, like many American food ads, the seemingly positive word 'fit' is being used as code for 'thin;' I guess the difference is that in most American ads, the connotation is a little more subtle.

I went in search of some information about female body image in Brazil, and found this (on AdiosBarbie.com):

Of the 160 million people in Brazil, almost a quarter million go under the knife each year. Many Brazilian women have breast reductions before their eighteenth birthdays, hoping to achieve the ideal Brazilian body: small breasts and a large
behind. Plastic surgery is not taboo.

Cosmetic surgeon Ivo Pintaguay is considered a national icon because he nips and tucks for next to nothing. Apparently, making Brazilians beautiful is considered a public service. Last year, Pintaguay and his staff performed nearly 1,500 cosmetic operations on the poor, charging only a nominal fee for medicine and materials.

"The only ugly Brazilians left are those who want to be ugly," declared Veja, the country's popular news magazine.

Hmm. Historically, women tend to be very under-represented in Brazilian political office, but I suspect Paris Hilton could be a major political figure here. Campaign slogan: Poor people deserve to be hot, too.