Academic journal article Romance Notes

Um Bando De Louco: Corinthians and Masculinity in Boleiros and Linha De Passe

Academic journal article Romance Notes

Um Bando De Louco: Corinthians and Masculinity in Boleiros and Linha De Passe

Article excerpt

The recent success of teams like Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, champion of the 2012 Copa Libertadores de America and the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, exhibits the excellence of Brazilian soccer in today's global society. Even though these triumphs convey the country's pride for its unique style of play, the famed team from Sao Paulo and many of its followers uphold traditional masculine roles through aggressive stadium behavior, the presence of violent hooligans, and an obsession for glory. Films such as Boleiros--era uma vez o futebol (1998) directed by Ugo Giorgetti, and Linha de passe (2008) directed by Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, present Sao Paulo's most popular club and its societal impact. The following study analyzes the presentation of Corinthians and its fans in the aforementioned films and pro poses that the team's success unites Brazilians, specifically those of the lower class, while also fortifying a patriarchal Brazil.

Currently Brazil holds five World Cup titles, more than any other country. Janet Lever suggests that the success of the Brazilian game creates a national pride and serves as a unifying force in the country. Furthermore she concludes that soccer in metropolises like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro assist in eliminating the social distance created by the diverse ethnic, nation al, and religious backgrounds of the population (Lever 14, 48).

Notwithstanding that soccer in Brazil helps to unify the nation, it also contributes to the establishment of a heteronormative society. R. W. Connell suggests that people's specific behavior constitutes their masculinity. She explains that violence, domination, athleticism and sexual conquest represent typical masculine characteristics (67). Presently, sport tends to define masculinity more than any other phenomenon and according to Juan Jose Sebreli, sporting competitions in patriarchal societies like Spain, Italy, and Latin America institute traditional virile roles such as aggression, physical strength, toughness, an obsession to win, boasting, and the desire to dominate the inferior (Connell 54; 253-54). Furthermore, Connell proposes that the institutional organization of public sporting events and men's sporting prowess undermine feminist rhetoric while also strengthening the notion of masculine supremacy and governing power (54).

Even though bodily performances of male athletes often symbolize male dominance on the field of play, the spectator also displays traditional male roles. In particular, Soccer hooligans violently participate in sporting events in and outside stadiums. These fervent fan groups, known as Torcidas organizadas in Brazil, regularly provoke turmoil during soccer matches and in many cases kill rival members (Sebreli 49; Dunning 156). Sebreli adds that these youth subcultures typically exhibit sexist, nationalistic, and aggressive male traits (70). Although various studies propose that factors such as social status, region al differences, contrasting religious beliefs, and contradicting political views contribute to conflict between rival fans, many hooligans act aggressively in order to defend their team, territory/stadium, and masculine identity (Dunning 148, 155, 158; Dunning, Murphy, Waddington 218-24; Silva 1). Moreover, Dunning proposes that men living in patriarchal societies are expected to fight to defend family and country and these traits carry over into soccer spectacles (155). Humberto Abarca and Mauricio Sepulveda come to similar conclusions in their research over barras bravas in Chile. The study equates the hooligans to warriors participating in battle to protect their homeland while also striving to prove their excellence and superiority against rivals, both factors similarly demonstrating traditional masculine characteristics (165-67).

In Brazil, press coverage recognizes spectators as an important, if not influential, aspect of the game, although many times this increased media attention is due to violence (Lever 84). …

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