Earlier this year I met some pretty amazing women and they made me think more about feminism. Obviously, when I found out there is a feminist bloco I had to go! As you can find out in Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro 2019, I felt like the Bloco das Mulheres Rodadas deserved its‘ own post. This bloco is the first Feminist bloco in Rio de Janeiro and started in 2015 after a man commented online “Não mereço mulher rodada” (I do not deserve a ‚Mulher Rodada‘). The meaning of Mulher Rodada is a woman that goes out with a lot of men. So they asked themselves: Do we up to today label women because of their choices? Are we still defined or labelled by our actions? If I go out with a lot of guys does that make me worthless? Does the way I dress define me? Why do we have to ask ourselves still these questions? This is, in really really short, how it all started!
So this bloco took place on the Wednesday after Carnaval and was supposed to leave from Lagoa do Machado around 10 AM but we arrived one hour too late, what a surprise. Step one, look for dressed up people and ask local vendors if they saw in which direction the bloco went. Thankfully we met some people who wanted to join the same bloco and their friends send them the location. After a short walk, we were in the middle of the bloco, which was not too big nor too small.
This is a Feminist bloco run by women as well as a few men because Feminism is not about excluding any gender more about including everybody. Feminism is about equal rights no matter which gender, race or sexual orientation you have! Check out my post what Feminism is … and about my First 8M march – Rio de Janeiro which took place a few days after Mulheres Rodadas.
The female dancers on stilts with long dresses or colourful fabric around their stilts were all women, feathers on their heads, women with instruments, others caring banners showing the names and face of important Brazilian women. The costumes went from fully covered to as little as panties. Some were dressed as important and famous women in history or like women from movies and series, but all of them were super colourful with feathers and sparkles. You could also see a lot of temporary tattoos saying #Nãoénão or just things written on their skin or posters with slogans. What I really loved was that everybody who was attending this bloco was colourful and even dressed according to the theme, as one girl with a GRL PWR hairband!
The names and faces on the banners:
- Marielle Franco was a Brazilian politician, feminist, and human rights activist. In First 8M march – Rio de Janeiro you can read more about her.
- Dona Ivone Lara was a Brazilian singer and composer. Also called A Primeira Dama do Samba (The First Lady of Samba) or A Rainha do Samba (The Queen of Samba) as she became the first woman to become part of the ala de compositors (Wing of the Composers) of a samba school.²
- Clementina de Jesus was a Brazilian samba singer. Working as a maid for over 20 years she was discovered when she was 62 years old and was celebrated by other composers who wrote songs about her.²
- As Frenéticas was a Brazilian Girl Group. Working as barmaids at Frenetic Dancing Days Discotheque where part of their job was to go on stage by surprise in the middle of the night, sing three of four songs and return to serving. They had so much success that they ended up being a Girl Group.²
- Gretchen is a Brazilian singer and reality television personality. Also referred to as Rainha do Bumbum (Queen of Butt) she later did a porn movie and became a candidate to be mayor of Itamaracá.²
- Nina Simone was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. She addressed racial inequality in the United States in the song „Mississippi Goddam“ which she later recalled as her „first civil rights song“ and that the song came to her „in a rush of fury, hatred and determination“. The song challenged the belief that race relations could change gradually and called for more immediate developments: „me and my people are just about due“. It was a key moment in her political radicalization.²
- Elke Maravilha was a Russian-born German actress, model and television presenter established in Brazil. During the Brazilian military dictatorship in 1971, she was arrested for tearing up posters of Stuart Angel Jones, her friend Zuzu’s son, claiming that he had already been killed by the regime.²
- There was a dark green banner where unfortunately I could not find out the name, except Ch …G
²All these information were found in the English and Portuguese Wikipedia.
Walking and chanting through the street, with all these women the energy was amazing! It felt like being part of something bigger. We come in all shapes, sizes, ages, colours and sexuality. How could you not want us to thrive, to achieve great things? To acknowledge even though we are all different we are the same!
Suddenly the Spicegirls make sense. Growing up it feels like women are brainwashed to be against each other, that we are each other’s concurrence and have to be better than other women. With time, learning and meeting incredible girls, supportive girls we learn that this is not how it should be. I wish every girl to achieve her goals and even reach further, to have a loving surrounding, a loving family and real best friend, and I wish you a life full of happiness.
We keep on walking, not on the street anymore because regular circulation started again but somewhere in the Parque do Flamengo, where also most of the pictures were taken. There the music and chants kept on going (check them out on my Instagram leacrazybambi in the story highlights Carnaval), we tried to keep up with the chanting which isn’t the easiest when you don’t actually know the lyrics and when you are currently still learning Portuguese but up to today I still have the melody in my head. The bloco stopped under some trees, as it was freaking hot the shadow was much appreciated and we got some more cool beers. Even though it was the end people still stayed around, there was music, beer sellers and we even found people selling Vegan Burgers O.M.G.! After a good while we decided it was time to leave, first have some (more) food and go to the next bloco -> Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro 2019.
I am forever grateful for this day! I am grateful for the women I met these last months who finally put the puzzle together and make me understand. By no means, I am saying I got it all figured out and that day might never come but I will not stop reading and listening to Women, especially Women of Color. Sometimes all we have to do is listen.
At the end I did not really write that much about this bloco, I am sorry. Looks like sometimes you don’t manage to put an experience into words you just got to live it.
You might have realized I am getting a bit into Feminism, find out what Feminism is … to me (and feel free to add things I missed) which was inspired by my First 8M march – Rio de Janeiro, which took place 3 days after this bloco.