Brazilian butt obsession

Each year, hundreds of women across Brazil prepare themselves to apply for one of the country’s most famous and intriguing competitions. Celebrating the nation’s most admired physical asset, the Miss Bumbum competition seeks to find the woman with the best butt in Brazil.

There are certain criteria that must be met, such as specific size – this year, 42.1 inches – a smooth texture, and a firm, uplifted look. The award is R$50,000 (about $15,000) in advertising contracts. Last year’s winner of 2016 was Erika Canela from Bahia, the 20-year old representing the first black woman to win this Brazilian beauty pageant. This year, the online voting will begin in August, which invites the Brazilian population to select their 15 favourite candidates. The finalists will then compete for the coveted title in November in Sao Paulo.

The Miss Bumbum competition highlights an interesting feature in Brazil – the butt is something of an integral part of the country’s culture, representing Brazilian sexuality and societal beauty ideals. Whereas boobs tend to be the source of admiration in countries such as the UK, US, and Canada, where newspapers such as the British tabloid The Sun have topless girls on page 3, it’s all about the bums in Brazil.

There are several women in Brazil that have achieved elevated fame for their ample behinds. Andressa Soares is a Brazilian celebrity famous for her large butt, which has given her the nickname Watermelon Woman. This has led her to Playboy deals and other modelling work.

Gretchen and Rita Cadillic are other Brazilian celebrities who have, among an impressive repertoire of other work and show business achievements, fame for battling it out for the title of Brazil’s Butt Queen. Gretchen won the title in the late 1970s. They are both in their 50s now and are also both known for starring in several Brazilian porn films in recent years.

The butt has been a recurring theme throughout Brazilian music and literature. The acclaimed Brazilian author, Jorge Amado, referenced women’s shapely behinds several times in his work. Those that know funk music – especially popular in Rio de Janeiro – will have heard references to the butt in almost every song. A recent song by MC Kevinho sings about a group of girls dancing at a baile funk party and about his admiration of one girl’s dancing ability, with lyrics such as ‘when she hits her butt on the floor, when she moves her butt on the floor, when she throws her butt on the floor, when she rubs her butt on the floor‘.

The thin, thong-styled bikinis in Brazil are renowned all around the world. Yet it’s not just women that get subjected to butt discussions; men do too. During the World Cup held in Brazil in 2014, Hulk, the Brazilian midfielder became a trending topic on social media and it wasn’t for his football skills. It was his butt that stole the show.

It’s not just in Brazil where the butt has become a huge thing – recent pop stars such as Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian have been an important source of the growing desire to increase bum size. Whereas some of us up our squat numbers at the gym, others are increasingly turning to plastic surgery to get an instant big butt. In 2015, statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) showed that butt surgery was the fastest growing cosmetic procedure. The Brazilian Buttlift as it is referred to involves two possibilities. A silicone implant is inserted into the butt, giving permanent and instant results. Another option is fat taken from other parts of the body through liposuction and transferred into the butt. The advantage of the latter is it apparently produces a natural looking and feeling result, yet these results may diminish in time as the fat there and be lost like any other part of the body.

The beauty industry uses the Brazilian butt as a marketing tool across all segments of this area. The Brazil Butt Lift (not to be confused with the Brazilian Buttlift surgery) is a workout designed by Leandro Carvalho who is always referred to as the Brazilian Butt Master. He boasts impressive clients such as Victoria’s Secret Angels model, Alessandra Ambrosio and promises that his workout lifts, sculpts and firms the butt naturally (and with a lot of sweaty hours in the gym). In the skincare world, the new cream Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream is marketed as softening the skin on your butt whilst making it look firmer and healthier. Using ingredients native from Brazil such as Cupuaçu and acai, it promotes once again a product to get the Brazilian rounded butt.

What gives Brazilians such a desirable butt may stem from the incredible ethnic diversity of African, indigenous, and European roots. In Rio de Janeiro, the outdoor and beach-centric lifestyle also plays an important role – Cariocas (people born in Rio de Janeiro) want to feel comfortable and feel they look good when they are on the beach on those tropical, sunny days. As a result, working out, exercise, and sports are an integral part of life, all of which helps towards developing a shapely rear. Defining why Brazilians favour a good bum over other body parts is simply put down to a factor of personal and societal preferences, as with all countries and their unique tastes. One thing is clear: as the candidates for the Miss Bumbum competition prepare themselves for the stage and microscopic scrutiny to decide who wins the title of country’s best bottom, the message in Brazil is that the butt is a great asset.

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