While Brazil has made some strides towards gender equality, discrimination towards women remains a reality. One aspect of it is shown through our everyday language. As in many countries, Brazil has a lot of sexist expressions, which many repeat without necessarily understanding the meaning. On this International Women’s Day, we’ve selected a few sexist expressions women still have to hear in our country.
Mulher de respeito
(A respectable woman)
Some things, according to the ones who use this expression, are simply not for “respectable women.” For them, women should behave respectfully at all times and not cause trouble. The expression assumes that there exists such a standard of “respectability” for women which, of course, does not apply to men.
Já dá pra casar
(You’re marriage material)
This is a classic. When a woman cooks well, someone will rush to tell her that she’s now marriage material. Although men also hear that today, it remains rooted in sexism.
Não sou tuas negas
(I’m not one of your black ladies)
This one is not only sexist but also utterly racist. When someone tells you “I’m not one of your black ladies,” it means that you’ve crossed the line with him/her. It is a reminder of our history with slavery, when white slave owners could do as they pleased with the men – but particularly the women – they “owned”. While many Brazilians don’t realize the historical weight behind this expression, it evokes how black enslaved women were raped by their white masters.
Homem é tudo igual
(All men are the same)
If a woman is cheated on by her partner, it’s not the guy’s fault, of course. “All men are the same” – they simply can’t help it.
Da cor do pecado
(The color of sin)
Another sexist expression that also ticks the “racist” box. Saying that a woman’s skin color is the color of sin is supposed to be a compliment. However, it portrays mixed-race and black women as hyper-sexualized beings.
Quem gosta de homem é viado, mulher gosta de dinheiro
(Gay men like men. Women like money)
The sheer absurdity of this expression doesn’t even require an explanation. It portrays women as nothing more than gold diggers. This expression is so common that it became the theme of a sertanejo song, called “Women like money,” by Cesar and Danilo. The outrageous lyrics repeat the expression by telling the story of a man who falls victim to a woman. After a moment of epiphany, he realizes that what he needs is “dating and partying without getting attached.” Powerful stuff.