A Study of the Demonization of Black Women and the Myth of Black Female Sexuality in the Prose Narratives of José Lins Do Rego
This paper analyses the demonization of black women and the myth of black female sexuality in selected prose works – Menino de Engenho (1932), Doidinho (1933), Bangüê (1934), O Moleque Ricardo (1935) and Usina (1936) - of the Brazilian regionalist writer José Lins do Rego. Following the gains of Modernism, Brazilian writers embarked on the rehabilitation of the non-European segment of Brazilian population, especially Afro-Brazilian blacks and mulattoes. However, the image of the black Brazilian woman (slave and ex-slave) depicted in this literature is full of stereotypical notions about her comportment and sexuality: devilishness, animality, a sexual/sensual creature par excellence, etc. The study discloses the realities behind the racial stereotypes, which are masked and misrepresented by the white Brazilian writer in his portrayal of black figures. It also debunks these racial and sexual notions as mere creations of the writer and the white segment of Brazilian society, without any social or biological justification. Lins do Rego‟s representation of black women as stereotypes are not justified, they are mere myths and falsehoods, made to bastardise the Afro-Brazilian and his image in the mainstream Brazilian literature written by whites. Indeed, the paper shows that the depiction of black women (and men) in racialistic and stereotypical manners are symptomatic of the hardened racial antagonisms prevalent in Brazil.
Keywords: demonization, racial stereotypes, myth, sexuality, patriarchy, Afro-Brazilians