Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Suddenly the Brazilian wax makes more sense

Let me begin by saying I know plenty of women who swear by the Brazilian wax, a practice whereby anything resembling a hair is ripped from your nether region using hot wax so that you emerge hairless as a grape. Ooh...sexy.

Myself, I find it barbaric and, well, to put it politely, Lolita-ish.

Yesterday's article about the Brazilian penile...um penal code shed some light on the culture that spawned the aesthetic:

Legislation working its way through the Brazilian Congress aims to remove references to "honest women" from this country's penal code. . . .

At issue is the provision of the code that deals with sexual assault. Written more than half a century ago, the passage mandates punishment for anyone who coerces an "honest woman" into having sex, a label that meant an unmarried virgin or another man's wife.

The implication, however, was that only those women deserved protection, whereas the others deserved what they got. Judges ruled accordingly, dismissing the complaints of "unchaste" women -- those who dared have sex outside marriage -- and exonerating their attackers. The men, the thinking went, must have been provoked or somehow ensnared by the brazen women.
The article goes on to explain that while the law may change soon (please), it will take longer for attitudes to follow suit:

Changing attitudes, however, is likely to be a longer process. Machismo and discrimination against women remain ingrained in much of Brazilian life, as a recent survey in Rio by the nonprofit Promundo Institute shows.

The study found that a large number of the men polled believed it acceptable to beat their wives or companions if domestic chores were not properly performed. About half the men reported having on occasion exercised some form of coercion -- physical, psychological or sexual -- against their partners.
This blogger is taking a moment of gratitude that she does not live in Brazil.

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