AuthorManthei, Jennifer Judith
AdvisorOrtiz, Ana Teresa
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation investigates the roles of color, class, and gender discourses in the lives of adolescent and post-adolescent girls in Brazil. Specifically, it examines girls' multiple perspectives, embedded in diverse social locations, and the ways in which girls interpret and deploy participular elements of color and class discourses in their projects of self-making. The results of the study provide insight into the diverse ways in which identity discourses may be experienced and a range of perspectives to contribute to qualitative analyses of color identity and relations in contemporary Brazil. Disaggregating the data according to the participants' color and class reveals distinct views on color classification, perceptions of racism, and the role of color in partner preferences. Whereas the lighter/wealthier girls (re)produce discourses of systematic racism, the darker/poorer girls (re)produced discourses of color equality and individualism. A holistic approach to their ideological systems reveals that each group selects discursive elements that grant dignity, self-worth, and personal integrity to their particular social location. The manner in which girls interpret and deploy color images is also variable. For example, the lighter/wealthier girls tended to dismiss the national image of the sexy mulata (female of both African and European heritage) as a product for export, whereas darker/poorer girls appropriated the mulata as a positive model of attractiveness and self-worth in their daily constructions of self. Furthermore, this research discusses how partner expectations and career aspirations are mutually constructive and lead to an ideal life trajectory culminating in financial independence. Although the ideal shared by all young girls, their ability to pursue the trajectory varies, patterned by color and class. The fact that poorer and darker girls cling to high professional goals in an unsupportive environment, bolstered by the ideology of individual willpower, is interpreted as a specifically adolescent discourse of hope. In summary, this dissertation illustrates multiple ways in which discourses of identity may be experienced, interpreted, and deployed in daily life and self-making. Investigating how color discourses are invoked by these adolescent girls representing particular social locations contributes to a more complex, heterogeneous understanding of color identities and relations in contemporary Brazil.
Degree ProgramGraduate College