Monday, November 02, 2009

Some cultural differences between Brazilians and Gringos.

I have a backlog of Brazil posts to do, but I'll start off with a small one ("that's what SHE said!"). One of the most glaring differences between Brazilians and Americans (besides the language and weight) is the cultural attitudes, especially about sex. In the US, it's very common for people in a bar or club to drunkenly make out, then never see each other again. In Brazil, drunken anonymous hook ups are just as common, but they usually result in a different kind of exchange of bodily fluids. In the US, "slut" is an insult, whereas the Brazilian equivalent "Devassa" has no negative connotations. Sweeet!

What's most shocking/funny is the attitude towards sex in advertising. If you think ads in the US can be racy, you've seen NOTHING. One of the funniest things I ran accross in Brazil is the warning labels on cigarette packs. Here, we have the Surgeon General's cancer warning, which no one reads, but in Brazil, the entire back of the pack is a vivid warning about some possible side effects: "Cancer", "Emphysema", "heart attack", "suffering" etc. But by far the most interest side effect warned about on cigarrettes is:


That's right, you can't get it up, smokers. Think about that next time you think you can't quit. It's a very common site in Brazil for some young man to ask for a pack of cigarrettes, turn the pack over, and say to the vendor "No, I don't want impotence...give me cancer or emphysema or suffering, but I don't want you to give me impotence!". Superstition? Or just good sense?

Another interesting thing in Brazil is the lack of political correctness. I don't think you could open a chain of resaurants in the US if you used a racist cartoon as your mascot.

Despite the cartoon, I did eat here...and everywhere else in Brazil. I ate everything that wasn't nailed down (and some things that were). But more on that in future posts...


zoom said...

We have the impotence warnings in Canada too. The graphic is a flaccid cigarette. See?

Women prefer the impotence graphic to the oral cancer graphic, but men seem to prefer oral cancer.

Steve said...

When I was a smoker, I'd routinely ask for the pack that was dangerous for pregnant women, avoiding if I could the cigs that caused cancer or emphysema.