Here I was, thinking that this might be a week without news. I should have known better than to rush to judgement on a Tuesday. After all, yesterday we commemorated the fall of the Berlin wall 20 years ago, tomorrow we commemorate the end of the First World War ninety-one years ago, but that’s all old news.
Today, CNN International repeatedly took time to highlight more important events, happening right now, in this world, that affect us all, intimately. Yes, I am referring to Geisy Arruda. If you have managed to get through your day without knowing who Geisy Arruda is and why she is so important, then you have a rich and fulfilled life. Here’s a link to a video that explains it anyway:
Geisy Arruda, who wishes nothing more from life than to earn herself a career in Tourism, has raised all kinds of heck by raising her hemline. Brazilians everywhere are outraged. There is a significant social split in Sao Paolo over this controversy. As you can appreciate, Brazil is famous for its decorum. Though widely known for their Carnaval, an essential part of their tourism strategy, Brasil is also a conservative Catholic culture where morality and propriety is of significant importance. This generates a problematic paradox. After all, the event that leads to women dancing in the streets in body paint and feathers, is in fact a religious one, marking the beginning of Lent. Mmmm…Mixed messages, anyone? I suppose the discussion has everything to do with the concept that there is a time and a place for everything and the time and place to dress for Carnaval is at Carnaval, not while attending a class at University, but I remain unconvinced and conflicted.
Not by the hemline. Frankly, what this young woman needs is my Nana, God rest her soul. I can remember with a smile the many times when, as I was leaving the house, she made her characteristic guttural sound of disapproval and uttered her famous warning: “I hope you don’t fall from that hemline, you’ll break your neck.”
Not by the concept that people should fight for the right to be educated, even when under-dressed. In fact, ironically, also on continuous loop on CNN International was the interview with the Taliban leader in Afghanistan who is pondering whether women should be granted an ongoing education at all, and proposing that if they are allowed to learn then certainly they should learn separately from men and still wearing a veil.
My conflict is with CNN, what it considers news, and what it chooses to present repeatedly in order to nurture a following. The incessant showing of the girl in the mini-skirt led to a lot of showing of the girl in the mini-skirt. No women in veils were shown during the Taliban leader’s interview, and to cap it all of, Anderson Cooper in his 360 degrees showed all 360 degrees of Miss America in a bikini, to compensate for the censors forbidding their showing the full topless shots, presumably.
The women in Brazil, who stand by Geisy Arruda as she battles for re-admission to the school that expelled her for taking the level above the knee to a level just below her crotch, are claiming they are fighting machismo. I argue that they are protesting in the wrong continent. On this same night that the news broke out, the power grid went out in Brazil, an unprecedented power outage, possibly related to the increased demand for pictures of Geisy’s thighs from people around the world who get CNN International as their sole English news offering…I’m just saying.
Will CNN take responsibility for the outage of worthwhile information? Probably not. Hemlines have been making headlines for years. It used to be considered a bit of Yellow Journalism, but in an era of Yellow Journalism gone mad, it’s Carnaval everyday.
In the end, CNN is probably just applying a bit of my favorite female philosopher’s wisdom:
Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.
..And That’s a Penny for Your Thoughts