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Sexy Seven-Year-Old: Preteen Girl Named A Rio Carnival Queen

Sexy Seven-Year-Old: Preteen Girl Named A Rio Carnival Queen

It’s hard to see a leading role for children in Carnival, Rio de Janeiro’s annual mega-festival, for which the Brazilian government will hand out 55 million free condoms, in an attempt to promote AIDS awareness and safer sex.  But the naming of 7-year-old Julia Lira as the drum corps for the Viradouro samba group has stirred an intense controversy over whether children should be involved in the hyper-sexualized roles usually reserved for female Carnival participants.

The AP reports that “a judge is considering blocking Julia’s participation. A state agency that defends children’s rights says she’s too young to take on a traditionally sexy role.”  There seem to be some strange parental influences: Julia’s father, who just happens to be the president of the Viradouro group, “says Julia is a natural who can easily samba through the 80-minute parade route in Rio’s sweltering summer heat.”

The hyper-sexualization of children has been an issue in Brazil in the past, and some argue that permitting Julia to be drum corps queen will simply exacerbate the problem.  It “would increase the treatment of children as sexual objects in Brazilian society,” said Carlos Nicodemos, director of the Rio de Janeiro state Council for the Defense of Children and Adolescents.   “We can’t put a 7-year-old girl in a role that traditionally for Carnival has a very sexual focus.”

It seems unclear as to how revealing Julia’s costume will be, and whether she’s being coerced into the role.  When asked why she wanted to be drum corps queen, she said, “I’m happy because I like to dance.”  But there’s also a question of whether she can physically handle the 80-minute-long parade in sweltering Brazil heat. 

The decision will be made by a family court in Rio.  But this much seems clear to me: Julia’s health is at stake, and for that reason alone she should not be the group’s drum corps queen.  It also seems apparent, though, that a young girl should not be in the position of “sexy muse” – which is what Carnival queens essentially are.  Perhaps that’s not a role that grown women should be in, either.  And certainly, the fact that Julia’s father is the head of the dance troupe should set off warning bells in anyone’s head, simply in terms of power dynamics.  I’m glad that Julia loves to dance, and that she’s excelling in this field, but no children should be pushed into physically taxing, hyper-sexualized roles without their full consent – nor, indeed, should adults.

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Photo from Sfmission.com's Flickr photostream.

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627 comments

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8:38PM PDT on Apr 12, 2015

children are not sexy! the parents are at fault and so is society

5:27PM PDT on Apr 1, 2015

My concern is for her parents allowing this not the rest of society, they obviously don't care about their daughters mental wellbeing and development as she will undoubtedly attract attention to herself that a 7yr old is to immature to deal with and putting her at risk.

10:13AM PDT on Mar 27, 2015

For shame, let children be children. Childhood goes by too fast.

8:59PM PDT on Mar 26, 2015

sad

10:47AM PDT on Mar 23, 2015

Rediculous!!

4:01PM PDT on Mar 9, 2015

Sorry Frank H
it's an international standard of decency to not accept sexualization of children and they should be defended / protected from evil paedophiliacs !!! In every CULTURE !!!

3:54PM PDT on Mar 9, 2015

old post or not this is wrong

4:18AM PST on Mar 1, 2015

err - Frank ... "no different than women being forc, er "free" to wear body sacks in the Middle East ..."
I have some very fetching 'body sacks' that I LIKE to wear even in London. They make me feel very feminine. So sometimes I wear them, instead of my usual trousers and tops, or dresses.
In general, people admire my dress sense, though they do tend to look at me strangely when I wear robes inspired by Middle Eastern styles. I have my revenge, though. I've been wearing wrap-arounds as coats for the past seven years, and this year the shops are suddenly full of them.

6:20AM PST on Feb 19, 2015

It's time to retire this article - it's five years old!

6:20AM PST on Feb 19, 2015

It's time to retire this article - it's five years old!

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