I guess I was has really hit with a cultural shock when school started, a thought surfaced: image is everything, which ties into the elitist culture. Brazilian culture really revolves around the idea of how a person looks is who that person is, which by itself is complete true and legitimate statement for all cultures in the whole world.
Yet the interesting part is when people judge you negatively. For example, I have developed a very different style since those wonderful years at Campion Academy. I am a firm believer of self expression especially through clothing.
Any who I was attending school activities because that is what a good PUC student should do. Some of the things I attended include: the LGBT club/ comity Sapatone de Bush, the socialist debate, local maracatu and just all around socializing with the students in my broken Portuguese. It was definitely a great time to meet and see different types of people and realize my one of my main goals, make Brazilian friends and be “immersed” in the culture.
The goal was somewhat successfully met. Then I realized that most of the people which whom I had made friends with are gay. Then I was later questioned on my sexuality and informed I dressed as though I was gay by Brazilian standards of femininity. I heart gay people on all levels! Never a bad thing to have gay friends (I find that everyone needs a gay friend; to put things in a different perspective; different debate), yet it was slightly uncomfortable for me because I felt like I was being judged as though I was gay, which I am not. Just from the way I was dressed I had been judged and found guilty of being a sexuality I am not. There is an awkward feeling that arises when someone or ones think that you’re something you are not, as though I am a fake (something I strive not to be).
After sleeping on this thought, and figuring out how and why people judge each other I also thought of the differences between cultures. What entails for say an immigrant arriving in the US for the first time? Or for a Muslim arriving in the US or while you’re at it Brazil! Culture shocks are a scary thing for many people and I never really took account of it until now. Thank you Brazil. My father was right when he spoke the words of wisdom, “Ahora vas a ver y sentir como es ser un imigrante de verdad.” (Now you’re really going to know how it feels to be an immigrant) I don’t think he was necessarily talking about this specifically, yet it applies.
So, after being judged on my appearance and realizing that looking like your gay in Brazil means looking “hipster” in the US, I realized that I have a choice to make.
Should I be true to what I believe and express myself through the art of (what I think is) fashion?
Should I give in to the cultural norm, and betray myself and not be judged as being a sexuality that I am not?
As I was told by an older wise lesbian woman: “and welcome to one of the main culture complaints Americans have of Brazil…”
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