“Hung, Hot, and Shameless in Bed”: Representations of African-Descended Men in Brazilian Gay Erotic Media

Sunday, January 5, 2014: 11:40 AM
Cabinet Room (Omni Shoreham)
Bryan Pitts, Duke University
Between its founding in 1997 and sale in 2008, Brazil’s G Magazine, a gay monthly combining full frontal nudes with travel, fashion, and activism, featured 140 cover models, but in the country with the world’s second-largest black population, barely ten percent of these models were African-descended. On the rare occasion that they did appear, African-descended men were usually portrayed in accordance with race- or class-based conventions. Chief of a maroon community. Sexually insatiable. Urban hustler on the prowl. Immensely well endowed and hyper-masculine. At the same time, alongside these racialized discourses of desire, the magazine promoted a political discourse that condemned racial prejudice in Brazil and attempted to foster solidarity between the Brazilian black and LGBT movements. Through a close analysis of G’s photographs, captions, and editorials, along with an interview conducted with its former owner, this paper discusses the interplay between these parallel sexual and political discourses.  It analyzes how the desires of editors, readers, and the models themselves create and participate in a marketplace of queer desire that draws on both seemingly contradictory discourses, as the magazine negotiates and blurs boundaries between the racial, the political, and the “pornographic.” The paper thus seeks to understand the changing discussion about race in Brazil and Latin America more broadly, where a growing consciousness of racial prejudice and efforts to remedy inequality have challenged, occasionally appropriated, but never supplanted enduring
popular discourses about race, class, and color.