There are three words I hear a lot when I mention I am Brazilian – Samba, Rio and Football. I understand that those are the main reasons why we’re known abroad but it also makes me a bit sad when in every conversation I have I must explain that there’s much more to Brazil than half-naked girls and football. And a couple of other things while we’re at it – no, we don’t speak Spanish and we definitely don’t live in the jungle. So here are some nice and interesting facts about Brazil you might like to know:
Yes, samba is a Brazilian music but we don’t listen to it all the time. There are also some great Brazilian singers and bands playing other rhythms, such as pop rock and MPB (popular Brazilian music). Skank, Titãs and Paralamas do Sucesso are very good and successful pop rock bands (you can check some of their videos by clicking on their names at the end of the article). There are numerous great MPB singers. One of them is Caetano Veloso, an amazing songwriter and singer who took part in the musical movement Tropicalismo at the beginning of the Brazilian military dictatorship. Elis Regina, Marisa Monte and Daniela Mercury are some female representatives of our music. We also have Bossa nova, a style of music popularized worldwide by João Gilberto,Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes with The Girl from Ipanema.
We Brazilians also love watching TV. Soap operas are made Hollywood-style and usually last for 8 months. There are three of them on the main TV channel: at 6p.m, at 7 pm and at 9pm. The last one is prime time. It’s very common to listen to people talking about Cláudia and Eduardo’s life, what they should do about their marriage and kids and then realize they are actually talking about the soap opera’s main characters!
We are nice, friendly and are very tactile. If you’re talking to a Brazilian they will probably touch you on the arm or pat you on the back, but it doesn’t mean anything – we do it without even noticing. That’s something I missed a lot in my first months living abroad: human warmth and hugs. If you are a foreigner in Brazil people will try to talk to you even if they don’t speak English or your native language. They will try everything from sign language to speaking at you very loudly in Portuguese to try and communicate with you. Again, this is completely normal – Brazilians just love to talk and get to know people.
Carnival was last month and here’s another important fact for you. We love the party and especially the holiday but that doesn’t mean we all appreciate half-naked women dancing and showing more than they should at the parades. It also doesn’t mean we all dress like that and go topless on the beach. And, most of all, it definitely doesn’t mean we are easy, slutty girls. As in most Latin cultures we greet each another with kisses on the cheek, but it’s only a way of being friendly.
I have a friend that says she’s from Portugal just to avoid those “you’re Brazilian so it means you’re easy (not to say a slut)” kind of look. I’ve tried to say that but I can’t. I agree that some girls don’t give themselves self respect, but that’s not exclusive to my country. There are about 190 million Brazilians and more than half of the population are women, so please don’t generalize. Even with so many things needing to be improved in Brazil I love my country and I am proud of it. This is why I am honest about being Brazilian and use my “don’t you dare look at me or treat me like a slut” look whenever I need to.