Monday, July 15, 2013

What Is A Brazilian Butt?

In the summer of last year I took a trip to the island of Florianopolis. On the third night in, just as the hostel bar was about to close, someone suggested heading over to the local nightclub. Being one too many caipirinhas into the evening by this point, everyone from the hostel naturally thought that this was a GREAT idea! 

This is my happy face.
We’d not been in the club that long when the DJ unexpectedly announced that the Miss Florianopolis Auto Repairs 2012 competition (or something like that) was about to start. This surprised not just me but everyone else I was with, as we really weren't expecting much more from our Tuesday night out than a bit of David Guetta and some bad sertanejo music. 

So off went the tunes, and from a spiral staircase above, one by one twelve women in bikinis descended onto the stage. Naturally they were greeted by the roar of their supportive friends...and a whole load of drunken men. If the icy glares I noticed coming from the women in the crowd are how Brazilians show their approval, then there was a whole lot of love for these contestants at this moment.

As the DJ announced each of the women in turn, the contestants (in their tiny black bikinis) spun around on the spot, giving the crowd a 360 degree view of their bodies.

When contestant number four was announced she stepped forward with plenty of confidence, and it was very noticeable that she was greedily enjoying all of the attention being directed towards her.

Whilst she was in mid pout, one of the Brazilian guys from the hostel screamed enthusiastically; “WOW! Look at the ass on THAT!” The ‘ass’ in question was indeed very round, accentuated by this woman’s thin frame and her ‘Aslan from the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ inspired backcombed hair.

"Yea, hairdresser...make me look like Aslan!"
Out of nowhere, a temporary firmness gripped the mild-mannered Australian guy I’d met just a few days earlier in my hostel, as he stood next to his girlfriend. “You like asses this big?” he asked in a fairly dismissive way. He then shook his head as he remarked rather unconvincingly, “well, that’s FAR too big for me!”

As he wrapped a reassuring arm around his un-curvy girlfriend’s shoulders, I noticed that he'd kept one eye on her and the other on the woman on stage.

“My friend, you’re in Brazil” replied the Brazilian, who was now forcing out a defiant smile. “Here there is no such thing as an ass that is too big!”

Unfortunately for contestant number four, the judges weren't nearly as enthusiastic about her as he was, and it was contestant number seven (a beautiful woman who was also shaped a little bit like a pencil) who was the eventual winner. Yet what this Brazilian guy said left a bit of an impression on me, and I remember asking myself, ‘there really isn't such thing an ass that is too big for Brazilian guys? Really?’

By this point I’d lived in Sao Paulo for over two years, so I was more than aware that many Brazilian women have generously proportioned buttocks. This wasn't news to me, but it got me wondering what the elusive Brazilian ass even looked like.

So being from the UK, the country that gave the world Sherlock Holmes, I conducted a very thorough investigation….and asked about 8 of my male friends for their opinions. They told me that for them, the perfect Brazilian ass isn't just about being big (although that is important apparently), it’s about being gravity defying. “Andrew, the best asses in the country can be found in Rio” one argued. “Women care more about their bodies there, more so than in the rest of Brazil. Yes the ass needs to be big, but it's also got to be pert, and it can't be covered in cellulite…oh, and it needs to look good in a bikini”.

Realising how creepy simply asking my male friends about women’s behinds would be for this blog post, I reread some of my favourite female expat blogs to give this post some sort of balance. Hypocritique Brazil is living in Belo Horizonte ( and she said this about the Brazilian butt;

‘(It’s) proportionately big, round and defies gravity by its pertness. Even as a girl who doesn’t normally while away her days by checking out other ladies’ rear ends, the Brazilian bottom kinds of sticks out in a way that is hard not to notice’.

And then there is Danielle, an expat living over in Rio ( who said this about the infamous Brazilian derriere when visiting the beach. ‘They’re here and they’re near and they’re in your face and you can’t help but stare. It’s like some of the woman are saying “here you go. A present: My ass. Have a gander”.
Poor Watermelon Woman...always having her
paddling sessions interrupted by the paparazzi!

This might surprise those of you who simply associate big posteriors with overweight ladies (as I actually did before coming out here). Where I’m from in the north of England, a big ass on a woman of average weight is not so common. I’m of course referring to my hometown here because in the larger cities of the UK, for people there this is probably not the case. However over here I've seen plenty of slim women with very curvy behinds. Perhaps I've noticed them more because they’re often embracing skin-tight skirts or jeans with high waistbands. So when I first came, I was given the impression that the butt is a part of the body that often looks like it is being fearlessly exhibited by many here. And I also quickly learnt that big behinds are certainly not just a feature of some overweight women.
Of course, not all women have these voluptuous behinds. I mean, of course they don’t. As I've already discussed in a previous blog post on what Brazilian women look like (brazilian-women), the country is made up of such a rich ethnic tapestry that, unsurprisingly, its people come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. But when it comes to the ass, and taking this into consideration, there seems to be a larger amount of women with rounded behinds than you would probably expect. This is something blogger Born Again Brazilian (living in Sao Paulo) mentioned in one of her blog posts too.

‘There is one feature that all Brazilian women share. In my opinion, they all seem to have really good butts. Their butts are on the smaller side and high. I don’t know why this is so prevalent, considering Brazil is as big of a heritage melting pot as the U.S. if not more. Perhaps the act of walking along the beach or dodging traffic forms the butt muscles in a certain fashion’.
During the Confederations Cup, comments made on my Facebook 
feed about Hulk's backside almost surpassed the number of updates of 
      my friend’s posted on their progress on Candy Crush!

For those who don’t fancy putting in the hours in down at the gym, there is another option. Hyocritique's blog post also points out that ‘according to the Economist there are seven times more buttock operations in Brazil than the top 25 country average’.

Your quest for that beach body ends here!
For women to achieve the desired curvy look, surgeons reshape the buttock area by transferring fat from other parts of the body and then graft it directly into the butt. This procedure is called the Brazilian Butt Lift, and is apparently the only surgical procedure to be named after a country. As well as this operation, you could also opt to have butt implants (I can’t believe I've just sat and watched youtube clips of these operations for a good 10 minutes now!) to get the results you're after.

I should point out that not all women in Brazil actually want this shaped backside. It’s simply not a case of ‘if you've got it, flaunt it; and if you don’t then pay for it’. In fact I've been told that wealthy Brazilian women tend to favour having smaller behinds, and some of these women also view this obsession with having a great ass as being synonymous with lower class tastes.

Watermelon Woman (Pictured below) is one of the most curious of Brazilian celebrities I've heard about, because she is famous here purely for her butt. Recently she gave an interview with the magazine The Economist Vice, and whilst I am in no doubt that this woman does not speak for the nation, her words are very interesting to foreigners like myself as they give some sort of an insight into attitudes some Brazilian women place on the importance of having the 'Brazilian Butt'.

It’s not that [women in Rio] don’t care about their faces, but the body comes first ....When someone sees a woman down the street, before they even start talking, they look at the butt. I myself do that. I can’t say a woman is pretty if she doesn't have a nice butt.

For women like her and also the finalists of the Miss Bum Bum competition (A competition to find the nations best ass, a little bit like the X Factor but just for asses. If you've not heard of this before, it will feature in my next blog), being blessed with a large behind has been a meal ticket to fame and even a more privileged lifestyle. And whilst I can think of a lot of famous people back home who are famous for BEING asses, I can't think of a single Brit who is famous simply for having one!

But then back in the UK the ass isn't celebrated nearly as much as it is over here; and it is for this reason then Brazilian attitudes to the butt in general will no doubt continue to be a source of intrigue for many foreigners...for a long time to come.


  1. Interesting. I hadn't thought of the bunda grande (or is that grande bunda? I'm only a newbie) of being symbolic of the lower classes. Perhaps this is similar to the belief that being large (fat) was symbolic of wealth in old cultures.

  2. Thanks for dropping by my blog, Andrew.

    Brazil looks amazing. My husband and I work for a Brazilian construction company and keep telling them they need to send us there for work! We're pretty certain we should have been born Brazilian - we've got caips running through our blood!