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Monday, February 19, 2007

Mardi Gras and Nudity

Read this story. It is funny how the Brazilians are outraged that Americans do not understand the toplessness and nudity of Mardi Gras.

And we, as Americans like to think we are cultured? I think the Brazilians can teach us a thing or to about the celebration of the body and nudity acceptance.

As the Notre Dame professor says:
"Here, nakedness doesn't only lead to sexuality, it leads you to aesthetic appreciation." Sort of like the Olympics of old when they were first performed in the nude in ancient Greece.

Aesthetic appreciation is what carnival is all about. And having fun.

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At Rio de Janeiro's carnival, nude bodies don't always spell sex
from ABC News Boston
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- The mere idea that U.S. soldiers on leave from Iraq see Rio's carnival as a free-floating sex party has Brazilians outraged.

A report in Britain's The Guardian newspaper that American soldiers are looking to Rio for rest and recreation -- especially sex tourism -- prompted many Brazilians to say that the gringos have it all wrong.

Despite all the jiggling, sweating flesh on display Saturday, Brazilians say the annual spectacle -- which is expected to draw 700,000 revelers through Tuesday -- isn't all about sex. It is, they say, a celebration of the body, closer in the spirit to the Olympics than a strip bar.
Brazilians say the nakedness at carnival is about sensuality, not just sex. Yes, sexual imagery abounds in the samba schools, and thousands of revelers dance skin-to-skin on the sidelines...

But nudity carries a different connotation in Brazil than in many other countries.

"Here, nakedness doesn't only lead to sexuality, it leads you to aesthetic appreciation," said Roberto Da Matta, a retired University of Notre Dame sociology professor and author of the book "Carnivals, Rogues and Heroes: An Interpretation of the Brazilian Dilemma."

"A woman is dancing but it's not pornographic," he said. "It's a collective experience of reconsidering bodies, like at the Olympic Games."

Da Matta says his granddaughters watch the nearly nude samba dancers in TV ads during the run-up to carnival, grading them like judges at a gymnastic competition, or in the same way Rio's Samba parade is judged.

The annual Samba parade, which takes place on Sunday and Monday nights, is the high point of the festival. Vegas-ready floats and glitter-covered dancers are broadcast live across the nation, and fans root for their favorite samba groups with a passion normally reserved for soccer teams.

...Total nudity is prohibited and a less-than-perfect score from the exacting panel of judges can doom a group's chances.

.."I'm entirely comfortable dressed like this," said this year's Carnival Queen Jacqueline Faria, 23, wearing little more than a rhinestone encrusted push-up bra and a sequin spotted see-through skirt revealing a tiny G-string.

"This is Rio de Janeiro, it's all about the beach and sun. We don't wear many clothes here at anytime during the year," Faria explains. "But Rio de Janeiro isn't just about bum bum. It has lots of other culture."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Here, nakedness doesn't only lead to sexuality, it leads you to aesthetic appreciation,"

And what, exactly, is sex if it is not the ultimate aesthetic appreciation?

These people who constantly strive to convince us that nudity has nothing to do with sexuality make me tired. If we were not sexual creatures, nudity would have no aesthetic value. It is just as neurotic to oppose any sexual component of nudity as it is to oppose nudity in the first place. If nudity is "natural" and therefore acceptable, and it is, then what is so "natural" and unacceptable about sex?