Queen of the Sesquicentenary, Mother of the German-Brazilians: Beauty, Fertility, and the Construction of Ethnic Identities in Brazil
Among the most publicized events were two competitions drawing contestants from all corners of the state: the “Queen of the Sesquicentenary” pageant and the “Oldest German-Brazilian Mother” award. The two competitions placed both beauty and fertility at the intersection of idealized ethnic and gender identities. How did judges (and contestants) construct German-Brazilian femininity vis à vis the national imaginary? What role do conceptions of beauty and fertility play in the construction of German-Brazilian ethnic identity? More broadly, how did these competitions represent a strategy to further the rehabilitation of German-Brazilians as a desirable part of the Brazilian nation? My paper uses both the sesquicentenary committee’s materials—including the judges’ deliberations—as well as local and national print media to explore these questions.
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