Should this girl be Samba queen?

“Any man who looks at a seven-year-old child and feels any sort of excitement should go see a doctor.”

– the words of Marco Lira, the father of seven year old Julia, whose dance talent is the talk of Brazil.

This blogger doesn’t want Julia to lead this year’s carnival procession.

It’s a great honour, and in the past has been carried out by TV sex symbols or models.

Julia’s parents say she’s a natural. Children’s rights campaigners and state welfare officials say her appearance would be inappropriate given what they say is its ‘very sexual focus’.

A judge is considering whether she should be allowed to lead the procession..

On this site one poster talks about :

” the sexualization of children in mainstream media is appalling but nevertheless more and more common”.

This is opportunistic says this blog, claiming the carnival’s organisers love the controversy…and points out Brazil is a country which has grappled in the past with a child prostitution problem.

Is she too young to take on this particular role ?

35 Responses to “Should this girl be Samba queen?”

  1. 1 audre
    February 8, 2010 at 20:40

    “Any man who looks at a seven-year-old child and feels any sort of excitement should go see a doctor.”

    – the words of Marco Lira.

    No truer words were ever spoken! Yet, there are many, many men who do see young children as sex objects.

    There is no easy answer to the question but I tend to fall on the side of caution. Why should a young child be sexualized at such a young age? As long as we present children as sex objects, they will continue to be regarded as such.

    We have not come a long way baby… unfortunately.

  2. 2 Ahmad Hammad
    February 8, 2010 at 20:50

    I would like to comment on the views of Julia’s father.
    My comment is: Julia’s father suggests the men with a vulgur eye on a 7-years old girl to go to a doctor. It’s good to suggest. But the point to be pondered over is; will the men of such eyes ever listen to his father’s voice if some girl, be she 7 or 17 of age, comes and starts dancing in shorts?
    Will the suggestion keep the wild of the self of such people?
    In my humble opinion, NO.
    Putting milk in an open ware and starting advising cats to not to come closer to it in a hope that the cats will listen to you and will not listen to the voice of their self is equal to living in a fools’ paradise, to say the least.

    To me, Julia must be spared in order to make a contribution towards a child-prostitution-free Brazil….

    • February 9, 2010 at 11:05

      Salam Sir,
      Hafiz Qasir here,
      Sir your views are guidline for me. Before this i was going in favour of Julia to go ahead but now i think on the same line you are talking about.
      But Sir i need answer of one question
      Sir is it advisble to hide talent just to stop people staring at your kid as a sex symbole? What is fault opf julia in it?

    • February 10, 2010 at 09:03

      To me it is good what Sir hammad has written above

  3. 5 mat hendriks
    February 8, 2010 at 21:41

    She should be at last 10 years wait.
    Now she is a child.
    We should take care of her.

  4. 6 Guillermo
    February 8, 2010 at 22:01

    The idionsicracy of every society big or little, is very complicated. If a problem arises the society in which it happens should judge if it is right or wrong. Innonce in children is something real. What makes this innocence to change are the adults. And when adults see in their own perspective that is what could be in discussion. Sometimes humans forget that once were children. In every time of history abuse or humiliation on children has been a problem. Then if this child has grown in an environment like the Carnival where schools of samba proliferate and prepare during all year, it is natural for her that this festivity is a normal thing. Every head is a world apart, to have an unaimous agreement is very difficult. The family of the girl and the sponsors of this Carnival should decide if it is right or wrong. The problem would be the frustration of the girl because she has notice that she is elected for this chore.

  5. 7 Cabe Searle UK
    February 8, 2010 at 22:12

    No she shouldn’t. …. We have such a world problem with child labour, child prostitution, child sacrifice, child abduction etc – etc that I would not say that “I suspect” that ……….
    – I’d say that it was – “blatantly obvious” that this particular father is only in it for all the fame and fortune that this little child can bring him – regardless of the cost to her…

  6. February 8, 2010 at 22:33

    the little girl is just like any other kid dancing and enjoying herself. if she’s going to lead a parade of half nude carnival ladies then there’s a big issue on child abuse, dancing talent or not.

  7. 9 Elizabeth Kuranchie
    February 8, 2010 at 22:45

    Hi heba! I think you are right because I personally don’t encourage small kinds to partake in those activities.It has a whole lot of implications.It should be left for “big kids “.Looking at the young girl, any guy can just spot her at any place and do anything nasty to her.
    It is high time they discourage young girls particularly kids from such performances.Thanks!

  8. 10 Alex V - Chicago
    February 8, 2010 at 23:04

    “Any man who looks at a seven-year-old child and feels any sort of excitement should go see a doctor.” — That quote, I agree with. She’s only a child!

    There’s a program on American television here that examines it in case anyone wants to look–I was disgusted when I saw ads for it: http://tlc.discovery.com/tv/toddlers-tiaras/toddlers-tiaras.html

  9. 11 Idris Dangalan
    February 8, 2010 at 23:23

    She deserved a good educational background not so-called carnival. Women/Girls needs to work-hard to have additional world’s leaders like German,Ukran and Liberia but not in dance and drama carnival. In my veiw allow her to have good education rather than leading carnival.

  10. February 8, 2010 at 23:31

    The sexualisation of a child is revolting, it’s unfortunately very common.

    Paedophilia is sadly not a rare condition at all, in many countries it is regarded as perfectly natural e.g.. in Afghanistan for example little girls, some as young as 7yrs old, are married to old men. In Iran the mullahs when they took over in 1979 changed the marriage age for girls from 18yrs to 9yrs.

    We have problems in the UK with bras and high heeled shoes being sold in high street shops for little girls to wear and then we are shocked by paedophiles.

    My view is that a really civilised country is one that allows its females children to have their childhood, to mature as whole and complete human beings not just wombs for breeding sons or vulvas for male gratification.

    This little girl is being sexualised, she will grow up thinking that pleasing men is the ultimate goal for women, its sad.

  11. 13 Anthony
    February 8, 2010 at 23:55

    If a man is getting sexually excited looking at this little girl, believe me, he’s going into general stores and getting excited at looking at little girls just walking around.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  12. 14 audre
    February 9, 2010 at 01:01

    @Alex V

    In my view Toddlers and Tiaras should be viewed as child abuse. The sexuality and also the cut-throat competitive attitude leave much to be desired.

  13. 15 Cheshire Pete
    February 9, 2010 at 01:47

    I agree with the father. Anybody who thinks a seven year old girl is sexual should be on a register.

    We do seem to have two problems. A problem of the sexualisation of young girls for commercial gain. That is, make ’em insecure and they will buy more. Personally, I think all teenage magazines should be banned from this continual selling of insecurity, avarice and wanting expensive adult accessories.

    The second problem, which effects me far more as a youth worker, is the hysterical response to any form of contact with children being the subject of extreme suspicion. I cannot run children home from the club if a parent fails to turn up, or be on my own with a group of teenagers for PC reasons. My personal details are photocopied by three different schools, two churches, and a lacrosse club, and held in God knows what filing systems for any cloner to steal my identity. Government agencies go through my life about once a year, and my neighbours have to fill in references as to my character. OK, children need to be protected, and there are some nasty characters out there, but the overkill hysteria, which seems to come mostly from people who don’t even have children, is making me feel like an enemy rather than a supporter of young people. All my fellow teachers and youth workers feel the same.

    It even rubs off on the children themselves. They are increasingly tending to see all adults who speak to them as dangerous. It’s a great idea if you want to totally isolate generations from one another, but not so good if you want a cohesive society with dialogue and understanding.

    If this child is good at something, just let her get some self respect out of it.

  14. 16 Tony Palfrey
    February 9, 2010 at 01:54

    Personally I think you are all wrong.
    In your view this little girl is being punished because they fear some bad men will be in the crowd. I expect they will but this does not mean that the child can not in all innocents enjoy her opportunity to lead the carnival.
    Make sure she is safe doing it and let her enjoy the fruits of her talent. She only wants to dance.
    If there are filthy minded people who may and probably will see her with all the wrong motives then that is very much their problem. She is innocent and will not know it.
    Her parents should make sure that she is safely doing what she does well and if these people do show there true selves then they should be shut away from all children for the restof their lives.
    Surely the sin is to let them win and ruin this childs proudest day.

  15. February 9, 2010 at 06:46


    This is sickening.

    How can a seven year old be a sex icon?

    The people are mental and need medical attention.


  16. 18 Andrew in Australia
    February 9, 2010 at 07:34

    Two things spring tomind about this. Firstly, yes there is a tendency to promote children – I hasten to use the word sexualise as this indicates deliberate intent to promote child pornography and I don’t believe there is. But promoting children as ignorant consumers and by promoting children into adult situations and the ever increasing involvement of children into every aspect of daily life tells them they have far too much influence in aspects of the world when they should be sidelined. But as adults have all the toys and image to live up to, let’s get this market on board. It’s not about sexualisation, it’s about marketing kids as consumers with the power to want.

    Having said that, let’s get real. Maybe this girl just likes to dance and maybe she is good enough to show that off. OK is her costume skimpy, by middle class western standards maybe so, but not everyone has our hang ups on dress codes. It pains me greatly that people are instantly up in arms and shouting pedophilia, pedophilia as if every single male human in the world is a closet child molester and cannot control their urges or be trusted. There are such people in the world, I would add that most validated research and those who work in the area of child protection (as I have done) will stress that almost all child abuse is perpetrated by a close relative on their family members and not to other’s kids. That the percentage of ‘deviants’ is as it always was and such hysteria is not helpful.

    Maybe it is just the locals who can enjoy the festival and the visitors from our side of the world who go there to ‘lust’ after youngsters out for simple fun and enjoyment give this even a bad reputation. Perhaps if we left them alone to get on with their own cultural expressions…

  17. February 9, 2010 at 08:26

    Sure she should be Samba queen, because she is a “natural , and … “it’s a great honor.” But girls younger than seven shouldn’t be allowed to be Samba Queen… oh, okay six then, but no younger than that!


    I’m surprised such an inane question would be put to WHYSers? I’d rather talk about spending treasure and blood in Afghanistan where pedophilia is institutionalized.

  18. 20 Nate, Portland OR
    February 9, 2010 at 09:59

    If she’s going to be samba queen, fine. But she should be a child version of samba queen. That means no sexy outfits. Young women should choose when/where to be sexy. Children shouldn’t even be thinking about it. Granted, she will want to dress like other samba queens. It should be explained to her that that sort of dress and dancing is for adults – just like driving a car and drinking booze is for adults. Although she may be disappointed, that sense of propriety will give her space to come to terms with her sexuality when she’s ready for it. No way is she ready, at 7, to understand and come to terms with the effects of her sexual beauty.

    I’m not suggesting getting all prude here. If a beautiful woman wants to show off her beauty she should do so. Further, places where a woman can’t go out in shorts and a T-shirt on a hot day without getting harassed are barbaric (yes, there’s a degree of barbarity in the west). But we’ve got a problem with girls seeing themselves as sexy before they’re ready to understand the risks and responsibilities associated with presenting themselves in a sexy manner. Time to step back and re-assess.

  19. February 9, 2010 at 10:07

    There’s dancing… and then there’s dancing! If she’s just showing her moves, skill and athleticism, and it’s safe, then I don’t see it as a problem, and it could be a very positive step. I’d let my 7 year-old do this, no problem. It could make the carnival seem more family-friendly and less seedy. But if she’s gyrating in a way clearly intended to simulate sexual moves, then of course this is inappropriate and should not be allowed. As for the paedophile angle – well unfortunately most child sexual abuse goes on within the family, so I don’t think this will have much of an effect.

  20. February 9, 2010 at 10:59

    Making children as sex symbol may not acceptable for every society but it is also not advisible to hide natural talent if any child has been given by God. She” Julia” has been bestowed by God by a great talent so she must go to enjoy it.
    And if a girl of seven year can become a sex symbole for somebody, it may be his psychological problem. And there have been reported many cases in which children are viewed as a sex symbol. so hiding their talent just to keep them away from people’s eyes is not advisible.

  21. 23 Linda from Italy
    February 9, 2010 at 11:50

    Having always been allergic to “child stars” right back to Shirley Temple et al., I’m trying not to reach for the sick bag, but if she really is such a great dancer, shouldn’t she have her day?
    Transferring the blame onto her for the vile behaviour of paedophiles seems to a variation on the age-old “she was asking for it” rape defence. As for her father, like some other bloggers, I’m not so sure about his motives, and why haven’t we heard from her mother?????
    I wouldn’t say the outfit was “sexy” as she hasn’t got the curves to fill it and if she were a child gymnast she would be wearing equally skimpy stuff, but without the high heels of course.
    The London Notting Hill Carnival which takes place in August has a special kids’ day, why don’t they do the same in Brazil?

  22. 24 Ibrahim in UK
    February 9, 2010 at 13:12

    I think the problem may lie in the sexualisation of the Samba Queen role; the adult-themed dress and dance… and then thrusting a child to fill that role. It is at the very least inappropriate.

  23. 25 Cabe Searle UK
    February 9, 2010 at 13:32

    This is not ONLY about paedophillia – Or about any sick-minded people viewing a child in a certain way.. it is also about protecting a child.
    This one is not 12 or 14, she is a very young child of Only seven and far too young to be in this situation.
    If she want’s to dance – then by all means do so but in an appropriate place for her age, and Not gyrating her half-naked Booty on a Stage and in front of thousands upon thousands of drunk, drugged, sexed up adults who want to watch naked womem – this is not appropriate !
    Sorry – but Carnival in S.American Countries is considered an excess of everything – and If I’m wrong then I apologise to all S.American countries but everyone goes to Carnival to have a good time, get drunk, drugged, watch open nudity and have sex? The whole country goes bonkers for a week and yet this kid is in the midst of it = of course it’s wrong! If she was like the N.American version of a Carnival Queen where she just sat prettily on a float, or walked infront of the processions then that would be cool – but get real – she’s not and what she is being made, told, allowed to do is not acceptable !

  24. 26 patti in cape coral
    February 9, 2010 at 13:48

    Latin American dancing tends to be very suggestive, and kids learn to dance early. I saw a video of her and she looked so happy, she was having a good time, and she was a good dancer, too. Perhaps her outfit can be more modest, and that would mitigate whatever sexual overtones there are. As far as the pedophiles out there, I agree there is no sense in provoking them, but I don’t think it would make a difference to them if she were wearing a sack and sitting still.

  25. 27 gary indiana
    February 9, 2010 at 14:28

    Cute, seven year old girls should not make public appearances in high heels, halter tops, and skirts that show their knickers. This allowance of implication of sexual capability in a young girl scarcely beyond the age of reason is without question criminally negligent treatment of a minor. Whether or not her parents grasp this fact, it shouldn’t prevent their prompt indictment.

  26. 28 John in Salem
    February 9, 2010 at 15:29

    It might be improper because of the event she’s participating in (basically a celebration of juvenile behavior) but it’s definitely not for what she’s doing or wearing. If you think this little girl is indecent or suggestively dressed then you should be banning every baton-twirling junior cheerleader in every American 4th of July parade.

  27. 29 Linda from Italy
    February 9, 2010 at 17:06

    On that outfit again, should we be stuffing her into a burka?
    Clothes are made sexy by the person wearing them, no piece of cloth, or lack of it is intrinsically sexy. Shove an ugly fatty into a micro-mini and skimpy top just looks revolting, unless you have a fat fetish of course,
    Leaving out the paedophiles, a halter top is only sexy because it barely (!) conceals a set of boobs, that tend to bulge out, if not actually threaten to fall out completely, depending the boobs:material ratio. Presumably knickers are only sexy because of the promise of what lies within, for most sane men a fully developed set of female genitals with all the appropriate response mechanisms.
    Are we all so sick now and so petrified of child molesters that we would make little children cover up lest they arouse some pervert?
    When I was young, there was nothing unusual about little children running around a beach with nothing on, but apparently that is now taboo, funny how time runs backwards sometimes.

  28. 30 George W. Bangirana
    February 9, 2010 at 17:29

    Where ae we heading?
    If kids as young as she is are going to be queens of such things… I am scared for my daughters.
    My word… No Never. Let her make minimum 16

  29. 31 Luz Ma from Mexico
    February 9, 2010 at 17:38

    Of course she is too young! Why their parents can wait until she is at least 16?
    The context in which she will be dancing is too sexually explicit. In the picture she is wearing a dress suitable for an adult dancer and I guess she’ll be dancing like an adult too.

  30. 32 subra
    February 9, 2010 at 17:43

    I think the father is really sick for considering his girl a Samba queen and exposing her in a sexy dress. He should be given treatment at the hospital instead.
    Small girl of such a tender age should be given the right education so that she becomes a decent member of the society. Nurture is more important than nature.
    Hope the judge will mete out the exact punishment to this unruly father. And he has the guts of pointing an accusing finger at others. Ridiculous.

  31. 33 Joseph D. Jackson
    February 9, 2010 at 19:40

    The fact that this child has even been permitted to apply or be CONSIDERED for this is wierd, sick, stupid and disgusting! Not only should this Judge reject this repulsive ‘application’ and tell the girl to go back to SCHOOL where she BELONG, the Judge should order the FATHER ARRESTED and charged with child exploitation and abuse!

  32. 34 Thomas Murray
    February 9, 2010 at 20:46

    When I was 5 years old in Rome, New York, all of us neighbor kids took dance lessons in town. When we learned a routine we put on a recital for our parents. the girl next door, Linda, one year my junior (and good friend) did a hula dance with about three other girls; I’m talking grass skirts, bikini tops, the whole kit. (I did a tap dance with a girl whose name I’ve regretably forgotten.) It was all fairly innocent, and not so public as Julia Lira’s event.

    It’s risky of her father to put his daughter so out there, but not totally impermissible … as long as she has bodyguards. There’s lots of nuts out there.

    As they said in old Rome (not New York) “De gustibus non est disputandum.”

    –(To each his own taste), Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  33. 35 Tom D Ford
    February 9, 2010 at 21:03

    I agree that she should not dance or dress in a sexually suggestive manner but if she has some great talent and joy and happiness in dancing Samba let her dance.

    The great movie dancer Leslie Caron said in an interview with Robert Osbourne that when her grandmother heard that she wanted to be a ballet dancer her grandmother said something like “she wants to be a whore?” Apparently in France back then, ballet dancers had a bad reputation. But Leslie Caron stuck to her dreams and grew into a wonderful dancer, dancing with all of the great dancers of her time like Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and others, and apparently helped change the reputation of ballet dancers.

    Lots of little girls and boys now want to grow up and dance ballet and the reputation is cleaned up.

    So I wonder, since Carnaval currently has such a sexualized reputation of debauchery, if this little girl will have a positive effect on it and help to tone down the overt sexuality so that little boys and girls can aspire to join in the celebrations of their country and religion. Can Samba be normalized like ballet has been?

    Frankly, I like the idea of Carnaval celebrating with half nude dancers dancing suggestively and wild partying, but maybe those more overt parades can be separated out from more child appropriate celebrations. Something like, half naked adults dance at night and kids and adults with clothing dance during the day, in those Samba-Dromes.

    I like the idea of kids learning by participating in traditions but I think that their participation ought to be age appropriate.

    Well, those are my thoughts on her anyway. Let her dance!

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