Brazil: Misogynistic ‘Humor’ in MTV-Sponsored Blog

[All links lead to Portuguese language pages.]

Eduardo Mendes, also known as EddyTestosterone (EduTestosterona in Portuguese) writes the MTV-sponsored blog Testosterone: The Modern Macho Man's Blog (Testosterona, o blog do macho moderno). In late August 2012, a complaint was filed before the Public Prosecutor's Office regarding a post from May 2010 entitled “How to Get Your Girlfriend to Have Anal Sex” (“Como obter sexo anal com sua namorada”) that included a 3.5-minute video extolling the virtues of rape.

The fictional video, which has since been removed from the blog, shows Billy hitting his girlfriend's head with a brick in order to rape her after her twice refusing anal sex. The video ends with Billy and his girlfriend passed out in bed.

In response, web surfers began calling into question the type of misogynistic content constantly posted on the blog and the blog's sponsorship by MTV. Amanda tweeted:

Image from the online campaign to end the blog Testosterone taken from the Facebook page

Image from the online campaign to end the blog Testosterone taken from the Facebook page “We Condemn This” [“Nós Denunciamos].”

Ainda não entendi porque a MTV não retirou o Testosterona do ar. Machismo dá tanto dinheiro assim?

I still do not understand why MTV has not taken Testosterone down. Is machismo such a money maker?

Fátima, in her blog Sub Judice, discusses the post in legal terms. According to the author, the video posted by EddyTestosterone “shows a form of sexual crime… a hideous crime.” She further explains MTV's supportive relationship with Testosterone:

Enquanto patrocinadora, ela [MTV] emite o seu ‘ok’ para o conteúdo veiculado, ou será que uma empresa com esse capital todo patrocinaria um blog com conteúdo com o qual não concordasse? Dífícil.

A lógica extraída poderia ser a seguinte: A MTV brasileira, empresa que notadamente influencia jovens ao criar tendências de comportamento e consumo, PAGA ao proprietário do blog para que ele cometa o crime de APOLOGIA AO CRIME.

As long as it is the sponsor, [MTV] is giving its “ok” to the blog's content, or would a company of such weight sponsor a blog whose content it did not agree with? Unlikely.

The logic goes as follows: MTV Brazil, a company that clearly influences youth in setting behavior and consumption trends, PAYS the blog owner to commit the crime of DEFENDING THE CRIME [of rape].

Humorless Jokes in the Brazilian Media

Despite MTV's having published a piece saying that partner blogs do not reflect the opinions of the broadcasting company, NGOs and individuals continue to question the company's partnership with the blog. Critiques of the blogs claim that the humor expressed by Testosterone stems from content that incites humiliation of those who are not male, heterosexual, white and of a certain economic class.

"Women biting apples, symbol of the forbidden fruit." Photo by Andre M. Chang, copyright Demotix (04/06/2011), São Paulo, Brazil.

“Women biting apples, symbol of the forbidden fruit.” Photo by Andre M. Chang, copyright Demotix (04/06/2011), São Paulo, Brazil.

In her blog, Andrea Chagas Cerqueira argues against the justification that the blog is intended as a comedy blog, which Eddy himself has claimed:

O autor do Testosterona acusa seus críticos de não terem senso de humor. O que ele parece não entender é que suas ideias têm consequências muito reais.

Em março, a Polícia Federal prendeu os autores de outro blog que incitava o ódio contra mulheres, gays e diversos grupos – eles eram parceiros do Testosterona e também postavam conteúdo no blog. Durante a investigação, a Polícia descobriu ainda que eles planejavam um massacre na Universidade de Brasília.

Testosterone's author accuses his critics of lacking a sense of humor. What he seems not to understand is that his ideas have very real consequences.

In March, the Federal Police detained authors of another blog inciting hate against women, homosexuals and a number of other social groups; they were partners of Testosterone and also posted content on Testosterone. During the investigation, the Police further discovered that the other blog's authors were planning a massacre at the University of Brasília.

In a post entitled “The Joke That Rapes” (A piada que estupra“) on the blog GGSpot (PontoGG), Abbsaraiva writes:

O que precisa ser dito é que esse tipo de humor é compartilhado socialmente porque exprime a violência intrínseca do grupo a qual pertence. Além disso, essas piadas justificam a discriminação social, estabelecendo a lógica dominante sobre quem precisa ser avacalhado, escrachado. Esse humor nos oferece a possibilidade de compreender historicamente a formação dos estereótipos, bem como compreender o modo perverso como se processa a reafirmação do preconceito. Nesse contexto, a MTV tem responsabilidade sim sobre os portais que ela hospeda.

What needs to be said is that this type of humor is shared socially because it expresses the intrinsic violence of the group to which it pertains. Moreover, these jokes justify social discrimination, establishing the dominant logic as to who should be demoralized or psychologically crushed. This type of humor offers us the ability to historically understand the formation of stereotypes and the perverse manner in which prejudices are reaffirmed. In this context, MTV certainly is responsible for the web pages it hosts.

"Your mouth is the key to countering fundamentalism," "70% of rapes occur inside the home." Photo on Flickr by gaviota paseandera (CC BY-NC-ND). Porto Alegre, Brazil (2005)

“Your mouth is the key to countering fundamentalism,” “70% of rapes occur inside the home.” Photo on Flickr by gaviota paseandera (CC BY-NC-ND). Porto Alegre, Brazil (2005)

After the claim filed before the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, the blog Irritating Macho-ness Daily (O machismo chato de cada dia) posted the response from the Secretariat of Women's Policies:

Não é incomum encontrar desvalorização e depreciação da imagem da mulher em peças publicitárias, novelas, programas humorísticos, letras de música etc. Isso traz como consequência o reforço à discriminação de gênero.

(…)É fundamental que a sociedade se mobilize e se manifeste em favor de uma mudança de paradigma, podendo sempre contar com o apoio e o desenvolvimento de políticas públicas por parte desta Secretaria.

It is not uncommon that the image of women in ads, soap operas, comedy shows, song lyrics, etc. is undervalued and denigrated. Consequently, this reinforces gender discrimination….

It is critical that society mobilize and take a stand to change this paradigm, and this Secretariat will always provide support and create public policies to this end.

"If You're Man Enough, Respect Women".  Photo by Andre M. Chang copyright Demotix (04/06/2011), São Paulo, Brazil.

“If You're Man Enough, Respect Women.” Photo by Andre M. Chang copyright Demotix (04/06/2011), São Paulo, Brazil.

At least two petitions against the blog Testosterone have been drafted. One was launched on September 13 by the online community All Out, which fights for sexual freedom. Entitled “MTV: Stop Sponsoring Hate” (“MTV: Deixe de Patrocinar o Ódio“) and aiming for 10,000 signatures, the message is addressed to the president of MTV Networks, Van Toffler, in an attempt to convince the company to end its partnership with the blog Testosterone.

The other was created on September 4 by Lívia de Figueiredo Brasil in Avaaz. This petition is seeking 3,000 signatures to send to the Secretariat of Policies for Women.

At the time of writing this post, the video remains on YouTube, MTV has yet to make any new statements and the blog is still sponsored by the television network.

Thiana Biondo collaborated in writing this post.

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