Ethereal beauties and embodied sexualities: Women and the articulation of Brazilian whiteness

Jimmy Turner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article deploys an intersectional lens to refract discourses of race, gender, and sexuality and shine light on the lived experience of whiteness of self-identified white women from the middle-classes in Florianópolis in the South of Brazil. It demonstrates how a complex interplay between beauty and (a)sexuality constructs a culturally mediated expression of national belonging which casts white women outside the imagery of Brazilian womanhood, feeding an existential, although not socioeconomic, sense of loss. The alienation felt by the women in question is analytically located in whiteness, but this whiteness seems to evade culpability, preserving its dominance by pushing the women’s gender identities to the fore. Through analysis of both historical processes and contemporary lived experiences it isolates ‘beauty’ as a contextually specific ‘revealing construct’ which enables us to understand the processes through which whiteness preserves its dominance through the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and nationhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-586
Number of pages14
JournalPrzegląd Kulturoznawczy
Issue number34
Early online date20 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • whiteness
  • Brazil
  • beauty
  • sexuality
  • gender


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