Meet Julia Lira, the seven year old Samba Queen at Carnival this year in Rio de Janeiro. See several of her photos and a video, a spectacle which has caused an international uproar.
At the heart of the matter is whether it is appropriate for a young girl to do what is normally a sexy dance in public in front of millions of people. Tell us what you think in the comments and read the story below.
Julia Lira was selected as the drum corps queen, which puts her at the front of a group of dancers. Typically the queen has all her clothes on but the dancers behind her are topless. It is normally a role for young women, not girls, and it is always a sexy dance by American standards which exposes a lot of skin.
In Brazil exposing skin is a norm for women in public so there are certain customs that are difficult for our sensibilities to understand. But even in Brazil this girl is causing an uproar and reason for reflection on sexual norms in Brazil’s sexy, flamboyant society. Her participation has become a matter for family court. A judge will rule this week on whether or not Julia Lira will be allowed to dance.
The father, Marco Lira, thinks the whole issue is no big deal. He has been quoted in local media as saying that any man who looks sexually at a young girl is sick. That sentiment is obvious but it misses the point. The role of drum corps at Carnival is always reserved for a mature woman. The Samba dance is sexy by definition, and the traditional clothing for it in Brazil would make any American blush.
The controversy in Brazil particularly strikes a nerve locally when one considers the historical context. Brazil has an uneasy history of exploiting children sexually in their culture from centuries ago all the up until today. In some of the older native regions it is commonplace.
Therein lies the rub. Why would Brazil want a Carnival Queen girl of only 7-years-old given this history of exploitation?
As a biography, Julia Lira is no doubt a capable and dancer and performer. Dancing runs in the family so it is natural that she would want to be a Carnival Queen. Why her parents would want her to do it, and why the organizers would allow it, are different matters entirely.
Now tell us what you think of this girl Carnival Queen, Julia Lira. Is she just too young to dance?
Julia Lira Video (Carnival Queen)