Writing about World Music

Section X, Fall 2016

Latina Identity and Perception

I read the Moehn chapters and as a women the perception of Fernanda Abreu as a female singer in Brazil was very interesting but also saddening. I feel as though Brazil and America are both very male dominated societies which makes it harder for women to excel in any field. I think the music industry in particular because the female artists that are common in pop culture are highly sexualized and objectified unlike their male counterparts. Women especially in Brazil are under extreme pressure from society to be good mothers and housewives rather than successful in business. Abreu was actually criticized for not giving enough time and energy to her family and instead was focused too much on her successful singing career. The men in this society don’t have this same pressure to be loving and faithful husbands and fathers. I know I sound like a crazy feminist but for me the perception and pressures women face are so sad and unfair and I feel that this may not directly pertain to music but it still influences the creating of music. In the lyrics of some of the Brazilian music presented in the book and commonly found in rap lyrics is the objectification and sexualization of women. Men are not presented in this way and are actually glorified for their roles are suave womanizers. Since we are doing ethnographies in class I thought this would be interesting to bring up because the role and perception of women in society play into the context and background necessary to understand Moehn’s book. As per usual in this class I have no solution to this problem with the presentation of women in society but I can only open this topic up for discussion and hope that more discussion will lead to a more accurate and less objectified view of women. My last point is that this perception of women obviously impacts their opportunities because there are way more men discussed in the book than women probably due to limited opportunities for women.  I thought that this needed to be brought up because I view this as a problem but not everyone may.

1 Comment

  1. I thought this was an interesting point that you brought up in class, and I don’t think you sound like a “crazy feminist” for noticing it especially since there are obvious examples of your point throughout Moehn’s ethnography. I agree that while this attitude towards women in Brazil might not always be directly related to Brazilian music (even though many times it is), it is a significant part of the context in which this music is made.
    I think that instances of this objectification in Mohen’s book are similar to music making cultures around the world, especially in the United States. Popular music today thrives off of the objectification of women in lyrics, and its prevalence makes it really difficult to identify a solution. Even so, I agree that discussing this issue is important because it does give us a better understanding of Brazilian music making culture and also identifies a lot of important issues.

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