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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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644 comments

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5:08PM PDT on May 31, 2015

Sickening

3:02PM PDT on May 30, 2015

This was and still is disgusting, exploitative child abuse.
Thanks for the update, Karen H..
When they first took her off in tears, she never should have returned. That was a sign of her feelings about the situation. She never should have been there in the first place.This parent is only thinking of himself and not his dear little girl.

2:03PM PDT on May 29, 2015

Thank you for the update, Karen H., this makes it all even worse, the girl´s been totally overhelmed with the publicity, too...

2:01PM PDT on May 29, 2015

This is sick and encourages men to rape or abuse children even more than any other pics or videos do, in Germany we once had the "Miny Playback Show", it´s been stopped after girls had been dressed up with sexy clothes and they had got makeup put on, so this contest in Rio should also be stopped!!! Let the children be children, and the adults be adults, AMEN.

3:00AM PDT on May 28, 2015

This post promotes sexism with its title..

11:00PM PDT on May 26, 2015

ty karen for the update

8:45AM PDT on May 26, 2015

\ This is top class skills. thanks to share it

5:35AM PDT on May 26, 2015

This is an old story now and it's time to archive it.

3:07PM PDT on May 24, 2015

THIS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!

10:10AM PDT on May 20, 2015

This story is from 2010. Here's the result, from a news source:
10 minutes into the parade and surrounded by dozens of photographers and television cameramen, Julia broke down in tears and was immediately scooped up into the arms of her unofficial handler, the group's spokeswoman Joice Hurtado, and taken away from the attention.

After a five-minute break, Julia returned to her place in front of the group's massive drum line, but was quickly whisked through the parade grounds by her father and out of the media's eye. About 20 minutes after that, she bounced back and began to samba at the helm of the parade — though television coverage steered clear of showing Julia to millions of viewers.

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