In the midst of a feminist wave, Brazil continues to celebrate its controversial “Miss BumBum”

In the midst of a feminist wave, Brazil continues to celebrate its controversial “Miss BumBum”

“Submission”, “Fitness” and “Buttocks”. Those are the ‘criteria’ to be crowned “Miss BumBum”. In the midst of a global feminist wave, Brazil held this Friday a new edition of this controversial contest amid criticism from groups of women who denounce the objectification of their bodies.

The appointment took place in a dilapidated party room in the city of Sao Paulo, in a rough environment, where the participants paraded on a rudimentary catwalk finished off with staples and with black cloth in the background.

On one of the walls of the premises, an enormous face of Simón Bolívar, the liberator of America, watched the farce.

In this year of elections in Brazil, the contest had an audience again -with a high presence of men- after a 2021 in virtual format due to the coronavirus.

“Before electing the new president, come and meet the new Miss Bumbum” (Miss Trasero, in Portuguese).

This is what the invitation for the final of “Miss Bumbum Brasil 2022” said. Beneath the callout, a close-up of the butts of four women in thongs.

The creator of this contest more typical of a past that seemed overcome is a man. His name is Cacau Oliver, a journalist by training, public relations in practice. He is known for being a promoter of what in Brazil they call “subcelebrities”.

The first edition of “Miss Bumbum” was launched in 2011. In 2018 he stopped because he considered that “the model was exhausted”, but he returned to the fray last year. “People told me to come back,” he told. The pressure of movements like ‘Me too’ hasn’t held him back.

The contest works as follows: representatives from each of the 27 Brazilian states participate in a first phase, but only 15, chosen in a virtual poll in which they appear with almost pornographic photographs, go through to the final.

Today they were evaluated by a jury of ten members, to which with propagandist intent they even invited former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who did not respond to the invitation.

FEMINIST CRITICISM

For researcher Tarine Guima, from the Department of Political Science at the University of São Paulo (USP), “Miss BumBum” is part of a “media culture” that is confined “to the objectification of women.”

“These women go there with that feeling of empowerment, of freedom, but in truth they become a product to give more power to that patriarchal culture,” this feminist theorist explains to Efe.

That vision, she points out, is part of a current public debate in which one party “does not see objectification as a problem” and does see it as an affirmation of “freedom”; and the other sees it as an expression of “sexism and machismo”.

“This contest is absurd. It’s bad for the image of Brazil because there’s always that thing about the Brazilian woman and her buttocks. It’s not good in any way. It really shouldn’t exist,” journalist Nina Lemos told Efe.

She rejects that it is an act of “empowerment” and considers that it reflects an “oppressive and patriarchal society” in which “women are reduced to the body.”

In an attempt to clean up the image of the contest, Oliver included this year as a novelty “Míster BumBum”, with fewer participants, less pomp and whose winner was selected in less than thirty minutes.

Despite everything, there are also defenders of “Miss BumBum”, especially its participants.

Suzy Cortez won the 2015 edition and told Efe that from then on “many doors” were opened for her. Today she is the Brazilian who earns the most on OnlyFans, an adult content platform. She defines herself as a “business woman and investor”.

She assures that “it is total hypocrisy” to go out criticizing “Miss BumBum” in “the country of Carnival”.

The winner of this 2022 took as a prize 50,000 reais (almost 10,000 dollars) in advertising contracts in this country full of contradictions, where going topless on the beach is a crime.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.