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Funk Music Has Explicit Machismo, but Popular Brazilian Songs Are Also Offensive to Women

06/03/2016 - 10h28



In 2005, before conspicuously displaying luxury cars and gold teeth, Brazil's funk music promised to strike a women with "two jabs and three cross power-punches" in "Dona Gigi", a song by musical group Os Caçadores that became a hit across the country.

Ten years and some singers later, the song that is omnipresent in parties in the poor outskirts and universities is "Baile de Favela", by João Simeão, also known as MC João.

In the song, MC João sends his message to the lady who is "burning hot": if she comes over and messes with his gang, she is going to go back "with the pussy on fire."

Far from the parties, the discussion that has been burning hot is on the role of art as it spreads machismo. The debate increased sharply after a 16-year-old teenager was raped by more than 30 men in a slum in the west zone of Rio de Janeiro.

Although funk music has been made the scapegoat in the discussion, the style is not the only one to include machismo.

In 1932 Noel Rosa, a famous samba singer and songwriter from Rio wrote: "But this woman is hard to digest/she deserves a brick to her head."

"The fact that funk music contains explicit content shocks people, but there are sexist songs that are considered beautiful because of their poetic lyrics. It depends largely on who is singing," says Djamila Ribeiro, a feminist and the undersecretary of human rights in São Paulo City Hall.

"The connection between this type of music and a single style can hide other forms of prejudice," says Marcelo Freixo (PSOL), a state representative in Rio de Janeiro, one of the creators of the 2009 law that recognizes funk music as a cultural movement of Rio de Janeiro state.

Freixo compares the style's marginalization to the bad reputation that samba once had, as it was connected to vagrancy at the beginning of the twentieth century - today it is considered national heritage.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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