Sports, Spirituality and Self-Improvement Replace Botox and Bikinis as the Women of Brazil Find New Role Models
AS BRAZILIAN WOMEN BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH THEIR INDEPENDENCE, THEIR INNER BEAUTY, AND THEIR QUEST FOR A NEW DEFINITION OF SUCCESS, ONE AMERICAN AUTHOR IS WATCHING HIS SELF-HELP BOOKS FLY OFF THE SHELVES IN BOOKSTORES THROUGHOUT BRAZIL.
Parts of this story were originally reported by the Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-et-self26-2008jul26,0,2920383.story
Turn on your television in Brazil these days and you’ll see some shining new stars: Maurren Higa Maggi, Isabel Swan, Fernanda Oliveira, Ketleyn Quadros, Fabiana de Olveira, Thaisa Menezes, Valeska Menezes, Daiane Santos, Natalia Falavigna, Raquel, Pretinha, Cristiane, Thais, Maurine, and Marta. These women represent Brazil’s new definition of what it means to be a woman: strong, serious, smart and sexy. And for the women of Brazil, defining femininity brings some new buzzwords: Courage and Commitment.
American author Steven Carter has been learning a lot, and writing a lot these days about the women of Brazil. Carter’s classic self-help books are suddenly selling like crazy there, and he has been flying to Brazil to help his publisher spread a message of emotional health and growth that is helping to transform the social fabric of a country.
“What Smart Women Know,” originally published in 1990, has been a top-ten bestseller in Brazil for a mind-boggling 100 weeks, gracing the pages of Latin America’s most important newspapers and magazines, including Revista Veja, Revista Epoca, and Folha de S. Paulo. The sequel, “Men Like Women Who Like Themselves" has been on the lists since its release five months ago.
Marcus Pereira, co-owner of GMT Sextante (who published Carter’s books in Brazil) told the Los Angeles Times, “We are a very focused company in terms of our business -- one of the ways we try to find books is to establish what kinds of books would identify with the reader.” “The role of women in the Brazilian culture or economy has evolved,” Pereira continued, “If you think of the U.S. 20 years ago, I think this is happening now in Brazil. Women are rethinking their roles.” “This rethinking is happening fast” adds Steven Carter, “Women are embracing their success and independence while firmly rejecting Brazil’s machismo past. And they’re ready to deal with the push back.”
Carter returned from his second whirlwind tour of Brazil last weekend, a tour which included two evenings of book signings at the world’s largest book fair, the Bienal Internacional do Livros.
Despite Carter’s new celebrity status in Brazil, he has yet to master Portuguese (he always has a translator at his interviews). But the language gap does not seem to throw him; he believes that the messages in his books are not lost in translation. Noted Carter, “There is a sea change in the culture of Brazil, and my words of support are connecting with book buyers. Selling hundreds of thousands of books is never an accident.”
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