“Look at me and tell me if I don't have Brazil in every curve of my body:” women, propaganda, and nation during the Estado Nôvo, 1937-1945
Eiland, Mary Elizabeth
This project analyzes the disparate images of women produced during the period of Getúlio Vargas’ Estado Nôvo from 1937-1945, discussing their significance in the state-driven process of identity formation during the period. Using a variety of popular media sources and state-produced propaganda materials, I illustrate the paradoxical and dynamic socio-political space that women occupied in the national imaginary, the extent to which this space expanded or limited the realm of political and social action within Brazilian patriarchy, and how these contrasting images of Brazilian femininity produced at home and abroad affected notions of brasilidade. I argue that the Brazilian state ultimately did not effectively integrate women into the nationalist project, including them in the national imaginary, yet denying them full political rights and mobility. Furthermore, the Vargas regime’s definition of brasilidade contradicted the more progressive images and modes of behavior promoted in the public sphere through popular media, as epitomized by Carmen Miranda.