Laughter Out of Place: Chapters 6 and 7

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Laughter Out of Place: Chapters 6 and 7 by Mind Map: Laughter Out of Place: Chapters 6 and 7

1. Soneca's version of the story

1.1. Soneca began with the punch line, which was the fact that Anita screamed as loudly as Claudia on the night of the rape because, having recently lost her virginity, she was afraid of what Gloria might do to her if she found out she was no longer a girl, but instead a woman.

1.2. Soneca became more serious when she described what had happened to Claudia, emphasizing the fact that "Claudia lost the most that evening.

1.2.1. According to Soneca, Anita orchestrated her screams of anguish to be as loud as Claudia's no nobody, but especally Gloria, would suspect that she was no longer a virgin.

1.2.2. She exaggerated Anita's cowardice, in regard to both rapists and Gloria, and revealed her "false cries" as funny.

1.2.3. This twist manages to turn an evening of terror and violence into a story of Anita;s cleverness and resourcefulness in the face of Gloria's protective stance around her daughters' sexuality.

2. Battling mothers and daughters

2.1. Both Gloria and Anita wielded humor as a kind of weapon to either highlight or mask particular details of the event.

2.2. In Anita's version of the story, she tells of how she felt deathly afraid of her own mother, more afraid of her than of the rapists.

2.2.1. Anita used the story to explain the extent of her suffering under Gloria's strict command. According to her, the terror of the rape paled against Gloria's threats.

2.3. Gloria's retelling of the rape and robbery story in front of her friends ad family provided the opportunity to criticize teenage pregnancy and express her own expectations and frustrations regarding a man's obligation to provide financial support to his family.

2.3.1. Ideally, Gloria wanted her daughters to demand more economic support from their male partners. But demanding this form of financial participation from male partners is not always easy.

2.4. All of these women highlighted their own suffering in their narrations. Each of them managed to turn the evening of the robbery and rape into an amusing story that also served as a thinly disguised tale of the troubled nature of male-female relations and of everyday life.

3. Discourses of sex-positiveness

3.1. The documentary film O Amor Natural (1996) , by Heddy Honigmann, captures well the permissive and celebratory sexuality of Rio, as well as the inherent comfort level around expressions of eroticism and sexuality that range across class-, color-, age-, and gender-distinct Caricoa subcultures.

3.2. Caricoas possess a "sex-positive" attitude toward life. At the same time, however, nobody attempts to ruin the fun or to disrupt the narrative of sexual permissiveness.

3.2.1. No women in the film were found to be bragging of their extramarital sexual excesses. Hence, the double standard between what is expected of men and women will be discussed.

3.3. Sexual teasing and banter are common in Felicidade Eterna, These everyday practices of sexual joking and teasing are particularly interesting because of what they potentially reveal about the local sexual culture.

3.3.1. They permeate everyday relations and allow for commentaries that might be more difficult to speak about directly.

3.3.2. Instead, messages are transmitted through the subtlety of humor.

3.4. Honigmann captured a partial truth in her film, with the recognition of the interest in sex talk.

4. From boys to men: Normative masculinization and heterosexuality

4.1. Among working-class Cariocas, it is considered unhealthy for men to go too long without sex: it can provoke insanity.

4.1.1. As part of the expected ritual of turning a boy into a man, boys are encouraged and expected to become active seducres.

4.2. Gloria, for example, decided one day to make her eldest son, Roberto, take Lucas, who was soon to turn 18, to visit a prostitute.

4.2.1. Gloria was concerned that this 18 year old boy have a sexual experience, and she was determined that he have it without the possibility or responsibility of impregnating a young girl.

4.2.2. On the other hand, she would like her daughters to remain virgins for as long as possible, if only because their enforced virginity guarantees that they do not become pregnant and bring another mouth to feed into her house

4.3. Gloria's double standard regarding the first sexual experiences of her male and female children is not unique to her as an individual.

4.3.1. For Gloria, this double standard is consistent with a broader set of ideas about how male and female sexuality naturally operates. She wants Lucas and her other sons to gain sexual experience and become knowledgeable about sex so that they can be sexual initiators, and she wants her daughters to remain virgins until they are ready to commit to a steady partner who can support them.

5. Partial Truths

5.1. Without the institutional and juridical mechanisms available to the middle and upper classes, poor women are left as the guardians against a socially constructed transgressive male sexuality.

5.1.1. The other consistent theme to these stories is the underlying belief that teenagers, even very young children, are sexual and have sexual desires.

5.2. These particular aspects of local sexual culture, on the one hand, create what appears to be an epidemic of child sexual abuse; on the other hand, they point to a strange expectation of sexually transgressive male behavior.

6. The carnivalization of desire

6.1. Brazil's self-promoted image as an eroticized "tropical paradise" is an accurate one.

6.1.1. Caricoa culture, for example, is immediately recognizable in its penchant for clothing styles that hug and accentuate the body, particularly the buttocks.

6.1.2. During the author's fieldwork, she moved slowly in the direction from wearing baggy clothes toward more tight-fitting and revealing clothes.

6.2. In Rio de Janeiro, public flirtation is an elaborate and beloved game, not scrutinized as an objectification of women's bodies but rather appreciated as pleasurable and complimentary of women's bodies.

7. Ethnography: Local sexual culture in Felicidade Eterna

7.1. Metaphors about food and eating were often used to express ideas about sexuality.

7.1.1. The word comer, which means both "to eat" and to actively consume another person sexually, is connected to male sexuality.

7.1.2. Women and others perceived as being in the sexually passive position are generally the metaphorical receivers, and they dar, or "give."

7.1.3. Within this particular sexual hierarchy, females are to be consumed, and they are viewed negatively when they assume the role of "active" consumers.

7.2. "Eating" metaphors point not only to the nature of gendered sexual power relations where men are eaters and women are to be eaten but also to the intimate ways in which economic and sexual aspects of normative gender relations are intertwined.

7.2.1. The metaphors of eating and sexuality are turned upside down through humor, which functions as a window expressing their resistance to the traditional metaphorical and real constrains on their (sexual) selves.

7.3. Because of the naturalized ways in which male sexuality is perceived ----animal-like, uncontrollable, thoughtless---- male infidelity is disliked but perceived as part of the normal repertoire of male behavior.

7.3.1. This is not necessarily so in the opposite situation. Women are expected to be loyal to their partners simply because they are women, and their disloyalty shames and dishonors their partners.

8. An evening of terror in Duque De Caxias

8.1. Shortly before moving to Felicidade Eterna, Gloria and her family had been assaulted in their home in Duque de Caxias, a poor but working class neighborhood with asphalt streets and sturdier shacks.

8.1.1. Soon after the family settled down to sleep, two men claiming to have guns demanded that they be let in to search for a certain "Cesar," whom they claimed was a member of a rival gang.

8.2. Upon entering, the men told all the children to get on the floor in the bedroom with their heads covered, and they singled out Anita and Claudia.

8.2.1. When the two assailants were convinced that "Cesar" wasn't there, they decided to rape Anita and Claudia, who were only fourteen and fifteen years old at the time.

8.2.2. When Gloria's then boyfriend, Ignacio came home to the scene, the rapists robbed him of his watch, which was the only thing he was concerned about, not the girls' well being.

8.3. The telling of the robbery and rape story provided a way for sexuality, violence, and female victimization to be dealt with through humor.

8.3.1. The author realized that these stories, aside from their humorous twists and turns, also revealed a great deal of suffering that otherwise would have remained silenced.