June 10, 2014

US Media + Brazil + World Cup = Show Me Some Skin

Getty Images

Yesterday I wrote about the selection of photos Getty was offering to new publishers to illustrate stories about Brazil and the World Cup. In that case, I was discussing how poverty and Rio’s slums are being romanticized as “colorful”  — with discontent obscured by soccer mania.  If you peruse the same package of photos, there’s another theme that’s jumps out at you. It’s the number of images for sale of voluptuous Brazilian woman, mostly at the beach, contextualized, in many cases, by way of a flag or a soccer ball. Talking predictions, get ready for a generous and gratuitous display of skin — and I’m not just referring males on the pitch — in the North American coverage of the international sports spectacle.

Of course, we all know Brazilian culture is known for traditions and rituals which glorify the body and indulge in the realm of the senses. The issue, though, is how that sensibility is co-opted by domestic media and the PR industry to titillate a North American audience. If less inhibition and physical expression and display is more normative in Brazil and other Latin cultures, the way media and marketers trade on mores, traditions and rituals is something altogether different. Instead, the appropriation of these visions to embellish products or domestic media in the more puritanical North American media market (whoops, forgot this one) suddenly makes them culturally as well as sexually exploitive.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Getty Images

Getty Images

(photos: Getty Images)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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