April 2001

Pregnancy Train

Rio's Health Secretary is worried that many girls
are showing up pregnant in the city's health clinics.
They all have the same story and they never know who
the child's father is since they had sex with so many men.

Rodolfo Espinoza

The story seems hard to believe and some even think that it was invented as part of a campaign to fight against funk balls, one of the rare options of fun for Rio's poorest youngsters. Rio's Health Secretary, Sérgio Arouca, called the press to report about a new form of unsafe sex being practiced by those who frequent these balls.

According to official reports, the rage now is for girls to go these parties in short skirts and wearing no panties so they easily can have sex with several different partners. The sex is performed in two different ways. In one version, known as musical chairs, the girls go around a circle of chairs all with sitting boys. When the music stops, the girl sits on the lap of the closest lad. The second method is called trenzinho (little train) and in this case boys and girls form a beeline and go around the dance hall in a very tight embrace.

"From what we have heard," said Secretary Arouca, "this is a compulsory action. The girl who doesn't comply is excluded from the group." The secretary is worried, he contends, because many of the girls who participated in this group sex are showing up pregnant in the city's health clinics. They all have the same story and they never know who the child's father is since they had sex with so many men.

Viviane Castello Branco, who is the coordinator of the Health Secretary's teen program, states there is no way of knowing how many girls became pregnant this way. She also reported that this kind of unprotected sex is responsible for an increase in STD's (sexual transmitted diseases) among teenagers.

"We don't know which disease is the most frequent because we only find out about the illness among these pregnant girls during the pre-natal exams. But we know there are cases of syphilis and even AIDS." According to the coordinator, the majority of girls know about condoms and pills and how to use them, but don't use any kind of contraceptive.

Branco revealed that only recently were health authorities made aware of the problem. She seems worried that the practice of promiscuous sex will continue to spread:

"For the girls the sexual practice is just plain fun. It is even a kind of rite of passage, a way of experimenting and affirming themselves. And, as it is common among teens, they believe nothing is going to happen to them."

From Rio's favelas (shantytowns) where it was born in the mid '80s Brazilian funk has conquered a good portion of the country and can now be heard in São Paulo and Salvador (state of Bahia).

Commenting on the little train story, Rio's journalist Tutty Vasquez wrote, "That was what society—worried more with funk sensuality than with juvenile delinquents—wanted to hear to justify its habitual intolerance towards the suburb's leisure. In the eyes of these people, the poor having fun is always more shocking than the poor killing each other…. The hate against funk has its origins in prejudice! Why do blacks, poor, and the excluded dance? The reaction is ideological, inspired by the right."

Funk has constantly been in the news. In mid-February, for example, Judge Siro Darlan made headlines by forbidding 7-year-old Jonathan Costa from singing "Jonathan 2000", a song that, according to the judge, has "pornographic content". Said Darlan: "I'm in favor of funk as a cultural expression, but I'm against any music that uses children to spread pornography."

Jonathan 2000

(Rômulo Costa e Dênnis DJ)

De segunda a sexta
Esporro na escola
Sábado e domingo
Eu solto pipa e jogo bola

Dance potranca,
Dance com emoção
Eu sou Jonathan da
Nova Geração

Mas eu já estou crescendo
Cheio de emoção
E eu já vou pegar
Um filé com popozão

Jonathan 2000


From Monday to Friday
Scolding in school
Saturday and Sunday
I fly kite and play ball

Dance, young mare
Dance with emotion
I am Jonathan from
New Generation

But I'm already growing up
Full of emotion
And will soon get
A filet with big butt

Some lyrics are much less subtle than this. "Máquina de Sexo" (Sex Machine), for example, says:

Máquina de sexo, eu transo
igual a um animal
A Chatuba de Mesquita do bonde
do sexo anal
Chatuba come cu e depois
come xereca
Ranca cabaço, é o bonde
dos careca

Sex machine, I screw
like an animal
Like Chatuba of Mesquita
from the anal sex tram
Chatuba screws ass and then
screws pussy
Screws cherry, it's the
bald men's tram

And "Barraco III" (Shack No 3) goes all the way:

Me chama de cachorra,
que eu faço au-au
Me chama de gatinha,
que eu faço miau
Goza na cara,
goza na boca
goza onde quiser.

Call me bitch and
I will do bow wow
Call me pussycat
and I will meow
Come in my face,
come in my mouth
come wherever you like



bruto (literally brute)—the boss
chapa quente (hot plate)—woman good in bed, crowded place
cachorra (bitch)—woman who's daring in bed
filé (filet)—pretty woman or man
gatinha (pussycat)—woman who's conservative in bed
pegar (to pick up)—stay with a girl during or after the ball
pepita—pretty woman
popozuda—big-butt woman, pretty girl
quebrar o barraco (to break the shack)—to have sex
tchutchuca—pretty woman

Send your
comments to

Back to our cover