[All links lead to Portuguese language pages, except when otherwise noted.]
The Global Voices Online community works together to share the voices of thousands of bloggers and citizen journalists who live around the world. Sometimes, however, these same bloggers are the target of our curiosity.
In the interview below, we will discover a little bit more about Nessa Guedes, a 23 year old blogger from the south of Brazil relocated in São Paulo. A feminist, programmer, and vegetarian, the Coca-Cola Girl is above all somebody who does not stand down in the face of injustices in the world.
Global Voices: Who is Nessa Guedes?
Nessa Guedes: Programmer? Blogger? Project Manager? Volunteer? Feminist? Vegetarian? Cyclist? Bonne vivant? Digital activist? Open software enthusiast? Even today I can’t say who I am, because I never know if I’m speaking about my profession, activism, or activities. I left Porto Alegre to meet new people, and because I found myself identifying with a lot of different causes. I wanted to better understand what to do in order to participate in those causes and to experience other perspectives.
GV: Why write a blog?
NG: The blog came about in a totally different context. I was 17 and had a lot of free time – I wanted to express my impressions of the word and share them with whoever was interested. With time, I stopped talking about my personal indignations exclusively and opened the blog topics to a more general realm, thinking about mobility, choices, politics, professions, careers, behavior and relationships.
This all was part of a long and continuous growth of perception and of the world. You can say that the blog is a faithful reflection of an adolescent girl becoming a woman.
GV: Why the “Coca-Cola Girl?”
NG: Coca-Cola Girl comes from a feeling of being a part of a world I don’t totally agree with, and from which I can’t effectively leave, which at times kills me. I have often thought about becoming a hermit, but even if I chose to live in a cave, private property would still follow me, since there is no land on the Earth that doesn’t have a landlord. So I would either have to buy a cave or invade it, which would leave me at the mercy of things that I don’t necessarily support. Another thing that doesn’t let me “abandon” the world in the way I would like is the fact that I know that there are people who need help, precisely because they don’t have the consciousness of living in an unjust context which forces the underprivileged to count on the bare minimum of food, sanitation, and freedom of choice.
Ser uma “garota coca-cola” é estar eternamente presa a propriedade privada, à mídia, à legislação, sem poder escolher estar ou não dentro delas. É não beber coca-cola mas ainda ser alvo de um mundo viciado em refrigerante. Apesar de que eu bebo coca-cola às vezes.
Being a ‘coca-cola girl’ is being eternally subject to private property, to the media, to legislation, without being able to choose whether or not you want to be a part of them. It’s not drinking coca-cola but still being the target of a world hooked on soda. That said though, I do drink coca-cola from time to time.
GV: What is your favorite post on the blog? And why?
NG: I think the post in which I admit to watching pornography – it’s a big taboo in Brazil to say that women consume this type of content. Another is the post in which I vent about the meritocracy and talk about the horrible experience when I saw a guy in agony in front of me and wasn’t able to do anything. The saddest thing about this post was the banality of the death of homeless people just because they live in the streets. It was as if life didn’t mean anything if the person didn’t have any possessions. Life, by itself, didn’t have any value. You have to be something to get protection, respect, and help: this is wrong. Very wrong.
GV: And how do people react to your posts?
NG: My friends are used to being the main readers of the blog. A lot of people e-mail me instead of commenting on the blog: as many to congratulate me as to disagree with me. I think it’s great, since I can exercise my ability to argue my ideas while also being able to look at my posts from a different point of view. Every once and a while a discussion will come up that is more intense and goes on to other topics outside the context of the original post, like lists of e-mail discussions and re-posts from other blogs.
Eu gosto dessa movimentação. Às vezes, inclusive, mudo de idéia sob certos aspectos – e acho isso extremamente importante para quem busca estar sempre à frente no entendimento das coisas que compreende como erradas no mundo.
I like this exchange. Sometimes I even change my opinion about certain aspects – and I think this is extremely important for anybody looking to be at the forefront of understanding things I think are wrong with the world.
GV: Has your activism caused you any problems?
NG: In 2011 I had problems when a video from the Folha de São Paulo, in which they interviewed me about the SlutWalk in São Paulo [en], I lost my professional standing because of the repercussion. But it was a manageable crisis that, along with other factors, culminated in my firing. I don’t regret having maintained my opinion, and I will never be ashamed of having it being exposed in my workplace; I never committed any crime. Criminals can be people who hide from unjust situations and don’t do anything to make it better, but people who speak up when they thing something is wrong and take the step to get out of their chair and really change the situation are never criminals. I’ve learned that lesson for life: to never get upset with myself if I loose an opportunity to work because of my opinions and ideas or because of things that I have done in my life. I thank the heavens for not having had to invest my time in jobs and people who don’t respect me like I would respect them.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Dalai Lama
Favorite person to follow on Twitter:
At @srtabia, because I admire the way with which she touches all the communities involved, and how she always expresses her opinion without compromising, or without offending people. She’s always very gentle and subtle with a lot of respect.
GV: Are blogs important in an era in which Facebook and other social networks dominate?
NG: Well, blogs are more than important in the era of social networks: They are our guarantee of political autonomy on the internet. When we use social networks or non-independent blogging clients, we all submit to the their use and privacy policies. With independent blogs, we are truly free.
GV: And what else does Nessa Guedes do?
NG: Nessa works with digital production for a publicity agency. I’ve always liked technology and every once and while I get a freelance web developer job. I’m used to doing volunteer work in the area of Information Technology, and I participate as much as possible in any related events. One of my passions is to teach, and whenever I can I tech a developer course for people outside the industry. It’s not always for free, but always with a lot of enthusiasm. I’m a jedi member of the Garoa Hacker Club, and an outreach volunteer for the Mozilla Foundation. I’m also a member of the Blogueiras Feministas (Feminist Bloggers), a discussion board and portal about feminism in Brazil. I also write about web development on my other blog.
My background is in networking and computers, but I have done a bit of everything in my life, from a volunteer phone operator at an NGO which took care of dogs, to studying Physics as an undergrad for three frustrating years at UFRGS (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul). I always loose myself when I’m asked what more I want to do beyond working, or beyond blogging; there are so many things…
GV: To finish up, an idea in one tweet to change the world:
NG: Don’t put off something you can do in the next 5 minutes.