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Beach Democracy Posted by on Jan 12, 2009 in Culture

Though Brazil is a highly stratified society, one thing Brazilians pride themselves on is the democracy of their beaches. Unlike other locations like restaurants, clubs, and stores, the beaches are open to all, and all beaches in Brazil are considered public. The beach is supposedly a place where people of any social class can feel welcome. According to famous Carioca singer Fernanda Abreu, the beach “is where poor people, rich people, ugly people, pretty people, fat people, skinny people, black people, white people, children, the elderly, gays, straight people, transvestites, Brazilians, foreigners, Cariocas, good boys and criminals can meet.”

However, according to a survey done by O Globo newspaper in Rio de Janeiro, the beach isn’t quite as democratic as many believe it to be, at least in Rio. The survey showed that although Cariocas of all social classes feel comfotable at the beach, they usually go to specific beaches and sometimes even specific points on the beach. In Ipanema, for example, Posto 9 is known for being the spot for the young and wealthy, while farther down the beach in Arpoador, the crowd is mostly working class.

In the end, the survey showed that the beachgoers only felt at home when they were at their “regular spot” on the beach with people like them. In the end, Rio’s beach democracy is one more of a segregated democracy.

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  1. Cristiane Mattos:

    Hello Rachel,

    Congratulations! Your blog is very nice!
    So, democracy is a quite complicated word for all in Brazil. How can we speak about equality in a country where over than 100 million people dont have the same social and economical opportunities?
    Cristiane Mattos