By Carlos Meneses
Sao Paulo, Aug 5 (EFE).- Presentation, fitness and buttocks – these are the criteria for being crowned “Miss BumBum,” a contest held Friday in Brazil amid a global feminist wave and criticism by women’s groups regarding the objectification of their bodies.
The event was held in a rundown party hall in the city of Sao Paulo, where the participants paraded on a rudimentary walkway with black fabric in the background.
This year, the contest was held once again with a live audience – a large number of them men – as the event was held virtually in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Before you elect the new president, come and meet the new Miss Bumbum,” read the invitation to the final of “Miss Bumbum Brazil 2022”. Below that were pictures of the buttocks of four women in thongs.
The creator of this contest is a man named Cacau Oliver, a public relations professional who is a journalist by training,, and known to be a promoter of the so called “subcelebrities” in Brazil.
The first edition of “Miss Bumbum” was held in 2011. In 2018 he stopped considering that the format had run its course, but resumed again last year.
“People told me to come back,” he told EFE. And the pressure of movements such as “me too” has not thrown him back.
The competition works as follows – representatives of each of the 27 Brazilian states participate in a first phase, but only 15 – chosen through a virtual survey in which they are presented with almost pornographic photographs – go to the final.
The latest edition was they were evaluated by a jury of 10 members.
For researcher Tarine Guima, of the Department of Political Science of the University of Sao Paulo, “Miss BumBum” falls within a “media culture” that thrives “on the objectification of women.”
“These women go there with that sense of empowerment, of freedom, but they really become a product empowering that patriarchal culture,” she explained to EFE.
That view, she said, is a part of a public debate in which one party “does not see objectification as a problem” but an affirmation of “freedom,” while the other sees it as an expression of “sexism and machismo.”
“This contest is an absurdity. It is bad for the image of Brazil because there is always that thing of the Brazilian woman and her buttocks. It is not good in any way. It really shouldn’t exist,” journalist Nina Lemos told EFE.
She rejected the theory that it is an act of “empowerment,” considering it a reflection of an “oppressive and patriarchal society” in which the “woman is reduced to the body”.
In an attempt to whitewash the sexist image of the contest, Oliver introduced this year a “Mister BumBum” competition, but with fewer participants and less pomp, and whose winner was selected in less than 30 minutes.
Nevertheless, there are also strong supporters of “Miss BumBum,” especially its participants.
Suzy Cortez, who won the 2015 edition, told EFE that “many doors” opened for her from there. Today, she is the Brazilian who earns the most in OnlyFans, an adult content platform. She is describes herself as a “businesswoman and investor.”
She underlined “a total hypocrisy” in criticizing Miss BumBum in “the country of the Carnival”.
The winner of the 2022 edition won 50,000 real (nearly $10,000) in advertising contracts in this country of contradictions, where going topless on the beach is a crime. EFE