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Bitches Unleashed

Performance and Embodied Politics in Favela Funk

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Raquel Moreira

This book challenges white and Western feminist approaches to embodied politics, or the use of the body in everyday enactments of resistance, while mapping transgressive performances of femininities by the funkeiras, marginalized women and transfeminine people of color artists in Brazilian favela funk. Often studied from a white feminist perspective, embodied politics reflects debates about agency and structural change that are generally applicable to white women in the West. Concurrently, studies of femininity tend to universalize experiences of gender oppression encountered by white women to women across the globe. In this work, the author offers a transnational perspective on the performative force of embodied politics as a possible means to disrupt white, classist heteropatriarchal structures that oppress particularly poor women and transfeminine people of color in Brazil. This project has a threefold goal: first, it challenges the theoretical shortcomings of white feminist approaches to embodied politics, providing instead a transfeminista take on the concept. Secondly, this project aims to shed light on how traditional methodological approaches have hindered nuanced understandings of women and people of color and their performances. Third and finally, by challenging and re-envisioning the potential of embodied politics from a transnational perspective, the text intends to contribute to the field of critical intercultural communication’s growing but still limited research around bodies and performance, especially of those who are marginalized in global contexts.
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Chapter Five: Anti-Blackness and Racial Consciousness among Funkeiras

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Even though this book privileges a transfeminista approach to performance and embodied politics in which issues of race, class, and gender are weaved through the analysis, I feel that it is necessary to explicitly address the particular challenges Black funkeiras face in favela funk. This chapter has a twofold purpose: to address how the anti-Blackness present in Brazilian culture is expressed within favela funk and to highlight funkeiras’ fight against it. First, I focus on a previous analysis of Tati Quebra Barraco along with two personal interviews of Black funkeiras, Deize Tigrona and MC Dandara, and their perspectives on how racism limits their career. These reflections on race are significant because they were generally unusual in Brazilian culture. Given that foundational myths of racial democracy have previously pushed racial discourses aside in favor of discourses about class and social mobility, making direct references to Blackness has been uncommon among funkeiras and in favela funk until very recently.1 The chapter also examines the recent wave of public, Black-affirming positions held by several Black funkeiras. These come at a time in which there have been ←133 | 134→growing conversations about race in Brazil facilitated by Black folks, especially Black women and travestis.

This chapter relies on a variety of qualitative methods and a diversity of texts in order to capture how funkeiras handle issues of race in favela funk. I use personal and media interviews, news reports, analysis of music videos, and funkeiras’ social media posts to provide a comprehensive...

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