Brazilian tourists is sexist video during the World Cup
World Cup supporters show the darkest side of Brazil's macho culture

Brazilian tourists is sexist video during the World Cup

Football remains a sexist environment. Female journalists have to battle harassment from bosses, players, and supporters – to the point that a group of Brazilian women launched a campaign back in March to denounce such incidents. A total of 52 journalists launched the #LetHerWork campaign, which exposed double standards in newsrooms and cases of violence in stadiums.

But when the 2018 World Cup kicked off this month, it looked as if something had changed. A Fox Sports journalist became the first female commentator of a World Cup match in Brazilian television history. However, it didn’t take too long for that feeling to be squashed by a group of brainless supporters.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just a couple of days into the World Cup, a group of Brazilian men shared a video on WhatsApp Messenger depicting them singing in Portuguese with a blonde woman &#8211; apparently Russian. With the woman clearly not understanding the language, she is unwittingly led by the men to sing a song about her genitals.</span></p> <h3>Reactions from Brazil</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The case has sparked heated reactions in Brazil, with some of the men&#8217;s identities being exposed by the media. The group includes a police officer from the southern state of Santa Catarina and a former member of a municipal administration in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. The latter actually has a rap sheet of his own, with a corruption conviction and a lawsuit for failing to pay alimony to his ex-wife.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A third member of the group talked to </span><a href=";utm_medium=social-media&amp;utm_campaign=uol&amp;utm_content=geral"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">UOL</span></i></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a Brazilian news website, about the negative repercussion of their actions. He said he was sorry for what he called an &#8220;unfortunate joke,&#8221; but said that people were making too much fuss out of nothing. &#8220;Brazil has problems with public healthcare, education, and corruption &#8211; and people are doing this with us. They are trying to turn the Russians against us.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite playing the victim card, the men could go unpunished. That&#8217;s because Russia has no law criminalizing sexual harassment &#8211; plus, the woman in the video may not even know she had been harassed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But the public outcry against the men has called the attention of the Russian media. Two important outlets, </span><a href=""><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Meduza</span></i></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">(a Riga-based news aggregator in Russian) and </span><a href=""><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Moskovskiy Komsomolets</span></i></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (a Moscow-based daily newspaper), picked up on the story. Both published different versions of the same headline: Brazilian tourists insult unaware Russian woman.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Russian activist Alena Popova started </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">a petition</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> asking for punishment to the Brazilian men featured on the video. The petition was addressed to Russia&#8217;s Ministry of Interior and Brazil&#8217;s Embassy in Moscow.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their case, however, is not the only shameful act by Brazilian supporters in Russia. Nor are Brazilians the only tourists in Russia to be misbehaving.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Similar videos &#8211; with men asking Russian women to say sexually-explicit things in Portuguese &#8211; have also been shared. Moreover, Brazilian journalist Thales Machado, who is covering the World Cup, reported several other incidents &#8211; such as jokes about how Middle Eastern tourists are potential terrorists, or how Africans must deal with poverty.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All dressed in yellow football jerseys, these deplorable men reminded me of some of the people who &#8211; wearing that same outfit &#8211; took to the streets asking for Dilma Rousseff&#8217;s impeachment. In several demonstrations that took over Brazil in 2015 and 2016, some protesters used sexist slurs to demean the female president.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a country where almost 1,000 women are victims of <a href="">femicide</a> every year, they are only contributing to the perpetuation of macho culture. It&#8217;s a shame it is these people who carry <a href="">Brazil&#8217;s image</a> abroad.

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OpinionJun 20, 2018

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BY Maria Martha Bruno

Maria Martha is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has already collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others. She has also worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.