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Nationalist strongmen are bent on controlling women’s bodies

3 53 252
13.02.2019

When Brazil, where I am writing from this week, became worried that almost two-thirds of its population was black or mixed race, radical steps were taken. Never mind that the blackness of its population was thanks to its own dependence on African slavery: in the first part of the 20th century, Brazil actively recruited European migrants with the explicit aim of whitening itself, or keeping, in the words of a presidential decree of 1945, “the most convenient features of its European ancestry”.

The resulting class and race inequalities in the South American country are part of a complex mix that has resulted in Brazil’s own variation on the populist theme. Now, under the Trump of the tropics, as Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is sometimes described, reproductive fascism is back, and focused – so far – on controlling women’s bodies.

One of Bolsonaro’s early acts in office was to replace the government department for human rights with a department for “family values”, and with a rightwing evangelical preacher at the helm. Damares Alves may have said she would help low-income women, but she is also anti-abortion, and is so comfortable with post-truth leadership that she has claimed the Dutch are taught to masturbate from the age of seven........

© The Guardian