Youth Maze

Youth Maze

Who is the Brazilian teenager? He/she is passionate and apathetic,
abstemious and drug-addicted, criminal and compassionate. Their numbers are growing faster
than any other age bracket. They will soon be Brazil’s movers and shakers.
By Émerson Luís

It would be hard to put a label on the 6,000 youngsters from across Brazil who gathered
in September in Brasília, the nation’s capital, for the I Festival Nacional da Juventude
(Youth First National Festival). "Unclassifiable" probably would be the only
fair designation. They are not leftist dreamers, conservative proselytizers, nor Pepsi, X,
mall or any other kind of generation, but rather, they are all of these. They are a close
portrait of Brazil today with its clubbers, rappers, skaters, Fidel Castro lovers, hippie
nostalgics, teetotalers and drugheads, punks, goody-goodies, and eggheads, bums and
career-minded boys and girls, philosophers and the stark crazy.

One in every five Brazilians is between the ages of 15 and 24. There are 32 million of
them out of a total of 161 million inhabitants, according to the latest figures by the
IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística—Brazilian Institute for
Geography and Statistics). While the population as a whole grew 7% between 1991 and 1996
the number of adolescents went up 11%. According to projections, this young population
will continue growing for two more years, and will be 28 million by the year 2020.

Although inspired by idols as diverse as black slave hero Zumbi dos Palmares, MST
leader José Rainha Júnior or late composer Chico Science, politics doesn’t seem to
interest them. The relaxed tone of the conference was reinforced by the daily generous
free distribution of condoms by the Health Secretariat of Brasília and a group called
Atitude (Attitude).

"The adults have to find out how we are and what we think. Young people need
information," said 18-year-old Josyane Nascimento to Correio Brasiliense, the
most traditional and most read daily in Brasília. This rap lover came from Rio with a
group of 35 other rap-loving Cariocas (Rio natives). "This event is going to
change my life," said André Luiz Lemos, 19. "I’ve already learned about
politics, punk, socialism and geography."

They didn’t come only for the song and dance even though the guitar parties and balls
were common during the event. The program of conferences started in the morning and went
through all day. While many were missing school by being there, they expected to have
their absences justified after presenting proof of participation in different conferences.
Among the themes discussed: globalization of the culture, violence, media and youth, the
job market, and the history of the Brazilian student movement.

Discipline was severe and no alcohol was allowed on the camping grounds. Order and
security were guaranteed by the military police and a 30-strong private security force.
According to Fórum da Juventude XXI (Youth Forum 21), the organizers of the conference,
the main objective of the Brasília event was to prepare a report with proposals by the
participants to be presented to state and local governments.

Among the organized political groups there were representatives from UNE (União
Nacional dos Estudantes—Students National Union), UJS (União da Juventude
Socialista—Socialist Youth Union), JPT (Juventude do Partido dos
Trabalhadores—Workers’ Party Youth), CDRC (Comitê de Defesa da Revolução
Cubana—Committee for the Defense of the Cuban Revolution), and UJC (União da
Juventude Comunista—Communist Youth Union) linked to the PCB (Partido Comunista
Brasileiro—Brazilian Communist Party) whose members sported a Che Guevara-styled
beret. The UJC members were actively trying to get new members for their cause while
reading from books by Lenin and Trotsky.

The organizers placed 800 seats in the main auditorium. They soon discovered that this
was way too many for the small groups that showed up for the conferences and debates
there. The themes that drew more attention and public were Brazilian culture and
education. There were always too many events going on on the same time including 15
different workshops on themes as diverse as percussion, circus, and community radio.

Nights were reserved for pleasure and the youngsters had fun listening to all kinds of
music, including samba and rock. Brasília’s Secretariat of Tourism offered five buses
with guides, so the youngsters could visit some city’s buildings and monuments like the
National Congress and the Justice Palace. The buses however were rarely used.

Violence and Accidents

The conference participants learned that murder was the cause of 41.8% of deaths among
Brazilian youngsters between the ages of 15 and 24. The information was given by professor
Júlio Jacobo Waiselfisz from UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science and Culture
Organization) during a debate on violence in Brazilian society. Waiselfisz, who is
coordinating a study about violence among youngsters in four state capitals, used data
from 1996, the most recent information available.

The UNESCO official criticized the way the media treat the younger crowd.
"Youngsters are treated as if they were suspects of violence, when in reality they
are its main victim. Governments stage big campaigns against AIDS, which represents 3% of
the total of deaths among youngsters, but there is no comprehensive policy against
violence," Waiselfisz declared. He also criticized the lack of a national strategy to
deal with the situation.

According to him, contrary to the widespread perception, violence is not confined to
poverty pockets, but it is present in all social classes. Among the causes uncovered by
the study for the growing problem: individualism and competitiveness.

Last July Brazil was shocked by the death of João Francisco Jobim, 18, the older son
of late composer Tom Jobim and Ana Jobim, in a car accident in downtown Rio. His mother
had just given him as a gift an imported Volkswagen Passat for finishing high school. He
was coming back from a night of dance and beer with some friends when he lost control and
the vehicle tumbled several times before crashing into a tree. According to friends the
young Jobim was a very careful driver. The police report, however, concluded that his car
was going 140 km/h (87 mph) when the accident occurred.

There were roughly 7,200 adolescent deaths due to car accidents in 1995, the latest
year for which there is data about the matter. This was a jump of 75% over the figures of
15 years earlier. Thirty thousand youngsters had a violent death in 1995 when there was a
total of 42,000 deaths among those between 15 and 24. While 24% of them were victims of a
car accident, another 45% were murdered. Mortality rates for this age bracket are
approximately 50% greater in Brazil than in the United States.

Voting Apathy

The first generation who grew up in a society where the free vote was allowed after the
1964-1985 military dictatorship doesn’t seem drawn to politics or convinced of the
importance of their own vote. The 1988 Constitution kept the compulsory vote for people
over 18 and extended the voluntary vote to everyone between the ages of 16 and 18. There
has been little interest in the privilege though, and there were fewer applicants than
ever in this age bracket this year, despite the fact that the country had national
elections in October for governor, congress and President.

In Rio, for example, a mere 18,539 16-year-old adolescents applied for their título
de eleitor (voter card), a number three times lower than in past polls. This
represents 0.09% of the total Rio’s electorate. Nationwide there was a slightly larger
interest with 1,299,437 applications or 0.28% of the country’s voting population.

In an interview with Rio’s daily O Globo, political scientist Nélson Carvalho
remarked that in contrast with Europe, where teens have oscillated between alienation and
adherence to neofascist groups, Brazilian youngsters show interest for politics as long as
it is not linked to parties.

"The political theme is not that appealing to youngsters anymore," Carvalho
said. "They get organized for other tasks like promoting a demonstration for students
rights. They don’t have the same disposition though to be active in a party."

Sixteen-year-old Filipe Cândido explained why he passed on the chance to vote that
last time around: "If I vote for a politician who does something stupid, I will also
be responsible. I intend to put off this responsibility for as long as I can."

Clubber Mentality

Inspired by British youngsters there is a growing number of tattooed-and-pierced
clubbers from Rio who frequent Ecstasy-laced raves—rowdy parties with a techno-sound
background—and are adept at the ritual known as chill-out, a party after the party,
that can last hours or days. Among the drugs consumed during this period there are
marijuana and speed (encapsulated cocaine-based powder).

Rio’s daily O Dia interviewed a 18-year-old student named Bernardo T., who
talked about his experience as a drug-using clubber: "I’ve participated in a chill
out in an Ipanema (upper-class neighborhood in south Rio) penthouse for four whole days.
We smoked pot, took Ecstasy and snorted cocaine and speed to the sound of techno. We are
not mere drug addicts or little addicted playboys. We have another world and we use drugs
only for fun. Only a real clubber can understand what we feel during these drug

In raves in Rio, São Paulo and other large cities, the public can generally be divided
into two broad groups: the mostly well-behaved and conventionally dressed "pats"
(for little Patricia) and "boys" on one side and the hardcore clubbers on the

Pats and boys just add a few out-of-the-ordinary items to their wardrobe including
iron-beaded chains and colorful snow eye glasses. Shiny make-up is de rigueur for
the girls. Hardcore clubbers on the other hand are more prone to shock the older crowd
with their tattoos, navel and tongue piercings, all kinds of accessories, and psychedelic

To the surprise of many parents, a rave can be much less wild than their own youth rock
parties. While dancing, the participants seem to fall into a trance in which there is no
talking, no touching, and no romancing. Two of the favorite places for rave are the
beaches of Ipanema and Barra da Tijuca in Rio, which are filled with hundreds of
youngsters who dance non-stop from sundown to sunup.

While confined to a ghetto until mid-1997, the clubber culture has gone mainstream in
Brazil lately. Bands like Massive Attack and Prodigy can be heard now at the most popular
dance clubs. Piercing has become more and more widespread and the same is true for clubber
synthetic clothes and items that can be found in large chain stores like C&A, but are
also sold by street vendors.

Pecado Capital (Sin Capital), Globo Network’s new 6-PM novela (soap
opera), has a group of clubbers among its characters. The soap, which premiered in
October, is a remake of a highly-successful story that first aired in the ’70s. Rewritten
by Glória Perez the new version is introducing the clubbers group in place of the
original motoscooters gang. The Globo team visited rave parties and talked to clubbers to
understand their style and philosophy.

This popularization of the clubber movement is giving pause to some diehard clubbers,
some of whom have abandoned the night in protest. Rio’s daily O Globo cites Paulo
Roberto de Oliveira, someone who considers himself a real and original clubber: "For
more than a year I have not gone out to dance. Today I prefer staying at home with my
imported records and magazines. There are 200 fake clubbers for every legitimate one. This
is their moment."

Sex Practice
and Education

While the media pours out a never-ending flow of sexual stimulation, sexual education
is still very basic. Lack of sexual information does not seem to be a major problem
though. According to São Paulo state’s Health Secetariat, 96% of the state’s teenagers
said that they know of ways to avoid pregnancy, even though many of them had not used any
kind of contraceptive on their last sexual encounter.

The main papers in Brazil have columns or sometimes entire sections dedicated
exclusively to teens. There are at least 32 publications catering to the youth and new
ones are testing the waters all the time. They have names like Atrevida (Daring)
and Capricho (Whim) and sex is an ever-present theme in their pages.

When asked by CPM—a polling organization specialized in youngsters—to name
their favorite music group, kids from 9 to 18 from seven Brazilian capital cities chose É
o Tchan, a band better known for the prominent derrière of its dancers and the double
entendre of its lyrics. They have popularized across the country such hits as dança da
bundinha (little butt dance) and dança da garrafa (bottle dance), both simulating
sexual intercourse.

When the same CPM asked the youngsters who were the Brazilians they most admired, the
kids talked about the late Betinho—Brazil’s mother Theresa —and the athlete of
the century, Pelé, but they were low in the list that was lead by Xuxa, a TV hostess who
has always used he sex appeal and scanty clothes to build an audience of kids and their
fathers. Carla Perez, whose main claim to fame was the ability to shake her buttocks
during a É o Tchan presentation, came in fourth place before Pelé and Betinho. She left
that band recently to star on her own TV program on SBT, the second largest TV network.

For the president of Flapia (Federação Latino-Americana de Infância—Latin
American Federation of Childhood) the erotization of children is out of control in Brazil.
"All these dances are an invitation to erotization," she denounces. We are
diseducating the youth, skipping stages, causing difficulty in the learning process."

In Brasília roughly 50% of the youngsters have their first sexual relation before they
are 18, and among those 75% were less than 16 when they lost their virginity, while 11,9%
were less than 12. For most of them (59,4%) the first sexual encounter happened between
the ages of 13 and 15.

Almost half of these kids do not wear condoms. Smoking is not considered cool by this
group. Only 10% do it, but 19.6% admit using or having used drugs. These were findings
from a 1998 study by Codeplan (Companhia de Desenvolvimento do Planalto—Highland
Development Company) with high school students (88% of them between the ages of 14 and 18)
from the Federal District private and public institutions.

The study also revealed that a more liberal posture in society did not translate into
candid talk about sex between children and parents. More than 65% of these youngsters
revealed that they do not feel at ease discussing sex at home. A mere 35% said they talk
to a parent about the subject.

More sexual freedom also did not eliminate some old expectations about women’s roles.
Only 15.2% see as irrelevant if a woman is not virgin at marriage. For 29.3% of the
youngsters, virginity is very important while 52% agree that this requirement has lost a
lot of its bite. On the other hand, just 15.3% of the students see virginity for men
before marriage as something important. And marriage is not a moribund institution. For
66% of the youngsters polled by Codeplan, marriage is important and necessary.

In Porto Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul state) a group of doctors of Hospital das
Clínicas (General Hospital) led by Dr. Alberto Scofano Mainieri were surprised by the
results of a study done in 1997 with 8,356 local youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18.
They found out, for example, that 11% of the boys interviewed had started having sex at
age 11 or earlier, representing a four-fold increase over numbers from five years ago.
There was also a jump of more than 300% in the number of girls beginning their sexual
lives before they were 14. While three years ago they represented 1.94%, this percentage
has increased to 7.1% today.

Curiously, for the most part the girls were the ones to take the initiative of starting
the first sexual relation. For many, the sooner the better to get rid of their virginity,
which is seen more as a hindrance than an asset.

Lack of information on sexual matters can be downright scary. Talking to Correio
Brasiliense, psychologist Oswaldo Rodrigues Júnior, director of Instituto Paulista de
Sexualidade (São Paulo Institute of Sexuality), described a visit to his office by a
young couple. "They were college students and they had been married for a year. They
wanted to know which was the hole to go into. Their biggest difficulty is to understand
how do you arrive at a wholly integrated sexual relation. The main concern of the girls is
still the fear of pain and bleeding."


While prostitutes have always had an educational role in the sex life of Brazilian
young men, it being common that the father himself would look for a prostitute for his
son’s first sexual experience, today they have acquired a new status among teens in the
big cities. They have been often used even by those kids whose girlfriends have frequent
sex with them, for variety, for their perceived ability to give more pleasure and
naturally for the lack of commitment in these brief encounters.

Daily Folha de São Paulo recently told the story of a 17-year-old that they
identified only by the initials, L.C.S.J.. At least once a month LC finds a prostitute at
rua Augusta or at Boca do Lixo (Trash Mouth), two places of low and moderate-priced
prostitution close to downtown. "Today all the gang does that," he told the Folha
reporter. "I started just for the kick of if, but I ended up liking it. I think
this gets you addicted. What happens is that hookers have more experience and know more
how to excite us."

Rosely Sayão, a sexologist who writes a column answering teens questions at Folhateen,
the Folha weekly teen section, has her explanation for the phenomenon: "They think
that their girlfriends are immature." She sees in this new trend another way of
treating women as a product. "It’s just another item on the shelf to be bought."

According to a working girl interviewed by the paper, the boys expect too much of them
and some have the naïve notion they will be able to get a free ride: "They think we
do miracles and they stay almost still expecting a truckload of things." She
describes her younger clients as very curious, asking questions about their daily routine
and about what other johns ask them to do. Rarely does a young client ask to have sex
without a condom, she said, something guys over 45 are more prone to do.

For a one-hour session with a prostitute the youngster has to pay around $80, even
though the price falls to $50 after 3 AM. Hotel prices are extra and can go from $10 to
$30. Sao Paulo has nightclubs where boys from the upper class can meet prostitutes as if
they were ordinary girls just looking for some fun. One of these famous nightclubs is Love
Story, which on Friday and Saturday nights becomes a techno-frenzied bacchanalia.

Another girl of the night presented as Erika, 19, revealed that her younger clients
usually come in trios and love to make a festa (party), i.e., to swap girls among
them. Says Erika: "Two friends and I usually take care of them. It’s very boring
dealing with these boys however and they give you too much trouble. They act as if they
are playing a prank in school. Sometimes, when they drink too much, they become

Sex and Diseases

Most parents still avoid sexual subjects. In school there is no lack of information on
AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as on how to wear a condom. What’s
missing according to experts is the total sexual dimension. All the information has not
been able to deter the advance of AIDS among the young generation. Today the main victims
of the disease between the ages of 15 and 20 are not gay men and drug addicts anymore, but

This new trend has been noticed in family planning clinics and institutions that care
for those infected by the HIV virus, like the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) Casa da
Aids (AIDS House). "Today we get more women and they are getting younger by the
day," said Casa da Aids supervisor, Olavo Munhoz Leite. "The youngsters know all
the risks, but they think that these things will never happen to them," says
Albertina Duarte Takeuti, a World Health Organization researcher and coordinator for the
Adolescent Program in São Paulo. "The truth is that AIDS did not change the sex life
of teens."

The problem is not unique to Brazil. According to the United Nations at least 1/3 of
those infected with AIDS worldwide are between the ages of 10 and 24. Since 1982 when a
Brazilian adolescent for the first time was found out to have AIDS, 17,000 youngsters have
been contaminated by the HIV virus.

As for the choice of first sexual partner, the boys prefer a friend while the girls
would rather do it with their boyfriend. Surprisingly, the experience was considered good
by 74,8% of the interviewees and 72.6% used some kind of contraceptive, with the condom
being the most popular choice (61.6% of the youngsters preferred it).

Increasing Pregnancy

The number of pregnancies has fallen nationally across all age groups in recent years,
but this does not apply to youngsters between the ages of 15 and 19, according to
Codeplan. Many kids in this age group don’t use any birth control. According to the World
Health Organization (WHO), there were 1 million births last year in Brazil by mothers who
were 15 to 19 years old. At least half of these young moms didn’t want to have a child
just yet. Adolescent mothers are still 10 times more common among the poorer population
than the richer one, but the problem has become more and more prevalent in every social

An alarming 26.5% of the 2,718,265 deliveries performed throughout the country in 1997
by the SUS (Sistema Único de Saúde—Universal Health System) occurred among girls
between the ages of 10 and 19. While the SUS is used mostly by those without health
insurance, the system is responsible for 80% of all deliveries in Brazil. By comparison,
this rate is 2% in Switzerland, 7% in England, and 14% in the US. The majority of these
births occurred in the poorer states from the North, the Northeast and the Midwest.

The less schooling a girl has the greater the chances she will get pregnant at an
earlier age. 54% of all illiterate girls became pregnant while this number fell to 29%
among those with at least three years of school and to 4% when they have gone to school
more than nine years.

Traditional O Estado de S. Paulo has concluded in a recent article that the main
problem in Paraisópolis—a 60,000-people-strong shantytown in Morumbi, an upper-class
São Paulo neighborhood—is not violence, but the explosive growth of pregnant teens,
who are becoming mothers earlier and earlier. "Before, there were many 16 and
17-year-old girls with a big belly. But in recent years we see more and more pregnant
girls who are 13 or even 12 years old," according to Maria das Dores Gomes, director
of the Paraisópolis Residents Union. The Cartório do Butantã (notary public bureau) has
offered to issue free birth certificates in the favela (shantytown) and revealed
that 10% of all births are by mothers who are 15 years old and younger. But they have just
started their work in the last few of months.

The plight of the too-young mother is not one limited to Paraisópolis or large cities favelas.
Today, one in four children is born to a mother who is 19 years old or younger. In the
early ’90s the proportion was one in five. IBGE’s (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e
Estatística—Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics) figures show that the
number of mothers who are 15 years old or younger has tripled between 1970 and 1990. The
most common cause for hospitalization among girls between 10 and 14 is childbirth,
according to the Health Ministry.

O Estado told the story of 14-year-old L.S., who lost her viriginity at 13 and
soon after got pregnant by a 18-year-old boy from the middle-class, who then disappeared.
"I knew this could happen," said L. S., "but my boyfriend told me that it
didn’t happen in the beginning and I became careless." After becoming pregnant, the
girl who lived with ther dad in Fortaleza—capital of the northeastern state of
Ceará—was sent to her mom’s house in Paraisópolis. "Before I wanted to be
doctor, but now I don’t even know if I am going back to school," she said while
holding ther 3-month-old baby.

Abortions are frequent and risky. More than half of the teens seen by the Hospital São
Paulo’s Family Planning Center go through an abortion, one third of the time self induced.

Violence and Death

Brasília was shaken by several murders committed by youngsters’ gangs in recent years.
The most notorious of these crimes—with international repercussion—was the
assassination of Pataxó Indian, Galdino Jesus dos Santos, who was set on fire last year
while he slept on a bus bench. Those involved in the crime were all kids from rich
families who were looking for some fun and thrills. Those who thought that it was an
isolated episode have been disproved by the facts. Brazilian kids have been forming
unnamed gangs.

The new groups are becoming famous for their cruelty. In September, there were more
than 15,000 cases of crimes by minors between the ages of 12 and 17 being investigated by
the Promotoria de Justiça da Infância e da Juventude (Justice Prosecution Office for
Childhood and Youth). For the most part, analyses have shown that law breakers belong to
families where parents are absent or don’t offer proper orientation to their children.

Skinheads are among the most dangerous. They usually start a fight and beat people
without any provocation. According to Suzana Machado, director of Brasília’s Child and
Youth Department, gangs are becoming more daring and lethal every day: "These
youngsters from the upper middle class have bigger bodies and almost all of them practice
martial arts. With this craze of body cult, fights are always more violent."

Another problem with teens, one rarely shown in statistics, is the growing rate of
suicides. A study by Claves (Centro Latino-Americano de Estudos de Violência e
Saúde—Latin-American Center for the Study of Violence and Health)—an
institution in Rio—reveals that the rate of suicides of youngsters between the ages
of 15 and 24 has increased by 26% from 1979 to 1993.

Nine state capitals were involved in the research: Rio, São Paulo, Belém (Pará),
Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais), Curitiba (Paraná), Fortaleza (Ceará), Porto Alegre (Rio
Grande do Sul), Recife (Pernambuco), and Salvador (Bahia). The most dramatic increase
(80%) occurred in São Paulo where, in 1993, there were 8.06 deaths for every 100,000
people in that age group compared to 4.47 in 1979. Among the little good news: there was a
small reduction in the number of youth suicides in Rio, Belo Horizonte, Belém, and

With 21.7% of all the suicides for this age group in 1995, it only lost to the 25 to 34
age group (24%) as champion of suicides. Despite the severity, by world standards these
numbers are not considered high. By comparison, 29 in every 100,000 Australians aged 15 to
24 killed themselves in 1993.

Drinking and Drugs

According to the National Cancer Institute’s National Coordination for the Control of
Smoking and Cancer Primary Prevention (Contapp),12 is the average age at which kids try
their first cigarette. Half of them will become addicted. Peer pressure seems to be the
main factor behind taking on smoking. WHO’s data show that 75% of Latin American smokers
started the habit between the ages of 14 and 17.

Alcohol is the preferred drug by both male and female youngsters. A study by Cebrid
(Centro Brasileiro de Informações Sobre Drogas Psicotrópicas—Brazilian Center for
Information on Psychotropic Drug) showed that half of all children taste alcohol for the
first time between the ages of 10 and 12, and that 28.6% of the time they get their first
sip at home.

Cebrid polled 15,503 students from elementary and secondary schools from ten state
capital cities. The research also revealed that 23.81% were led to drink by peer pressure,
that 10.5% missed school after drinking and that 28.9% used alcohol up to the point where
they lost control. Other studies suggest that close to 10% of the kids who use alcohol mix
it with pot and cocaine.

Veja magazine cites a recent study in 16 large cities by researcher Tânia
Zagury in which she found out that 57.7% of kids have their first experience with illegal
drugs before they are 14 years old.

Homo Apoliticus

Except for the few politicized ones, today’s adolescents seem indifferent to politics.
There is nothing that resembles the throngs of students defying tanks and police in 1968
or even the much tamer crowd of caras pintadas (painted faces) of six years ago who
went to the streets to demand for corruption-plagued President Fernando Collor de Mello’s

In São Paulo and Rio, less than 30% of the 16 and 17 year olds with right to vote have
applied for a título de eleitor (voter identication card). In a mere three small
states—Piauí, Tocantins, and Rio Grande do Norte—this number surpasses 50% of
the eligible voters.

According to a Unesco study with 400 youngsters from Brasília aged 14 to 20, only 0.5%
of them trust Congress or their own student representatives. The same study showed that
67% of the respondents would not participate in a strike in their own schools and that 63%
never go out on a demonstration, even though 59% of them say that they follow politics
through TV news programs.

The main concern for 97.8% of them: to have a good job, to have money, to have a family
and to be happy. Two percent only seemed worried about the country’s future. "What’s
going to happen in a few years when it’s time for these youngsters to take a position and
assume a political post?," asked political scientist Marcos Coimbra, director of the
research institute Vox Populi.


Some Personal Questions

In its October issue Capricho presented the results of a questionnaire given to
500 boys from São Paulo, Rio, Curitiba, Belo Horizonte, Brasília e Salvador. The
questions couldn’t be more intimate.

How many times a day do you think about sex?

Several times 77%

Once 15%

Rarely 8%

Is it uncool for a girl to have a condom in her purse?

No 80%

Yes 12%

Don’t know 8%

Is it uncool for the girl to be experienced?

No 49%

Yes 31%

It doesn’t matter 20%

Should the girl take the initiative?

No 54%

Yes 25%

It doesn’t matter 21%

Is it a problem if the girl is not a virgin anymore?

No 66%

It doesn’t matter 22%

Yes 12%

If the girl is menstruating, you…

don’t have sex 39%

stay indifferent 28%

don’t like it but go ahead 27%

get more excited 6%

The time to put on the condom is

nothing special 39%

exciting or embarrassing depending on the girl 35%

exciting 15%

embarrassing 11%

If you lose your erection you

try again 68%

say: "This never happened to me before." 16%

wait for her action 11%

give up 5%

If she wants to stop in the middle of the action you…

try to understand 57%

you insist 32%

you get annoyed and give up 11%

After sex you

keep to yourself 66%

take care of the girl 25%

lose the interest in the girl 9%

Teens of
All Colors

Earlier this year Correio Brasiliense tried to classify and map what they called
the teen tribos (tribes) of the nation’s capital. They came up with 12 galeras
(groups), which they divided in three groups: those who prefer to have fun at home, the
health and adrenaline generation, and those who gather in malls, clubs and streets. They
now even have their own magazine, Tribu, a bimonthly publication that started with
an initial circulation of 10,000 copies and covers fashion, behavior, and culture.

The street people, i.e. those who socialize in nightclubs, parties, malls and the like
are the skaters, the rockers, the clubbers, the patricinhas and playboys
(upper-class boys and girls) and the GLS (gays, lesbians and sympathizers). You
distinguish one tribe from the other by the clothes their members wear. The clubbers are
the most colorful, starting with the colorized hair, plus bright clothing, piercing and
appealing earrings.

For them, fun is a dance hall filled with noisy techno music. Their parties, also known
as raves, can happen in the most unusual places and have already happened in the subway
tunnel, a bathroom at University of Brasília, and even inside a moving truck. Nothing for
them could be more uncool than normal events and people. The GLSs have many of the
clubbers taste including the choice of meeting places and music, even though they usually
stay in their own places known as bares arco-íris (rainbow bar).

Skaters and rockers seem to prefer action to talk and when they open their mouth their
talk seems more like gobbledygook to the non-initiated. They use plenty of their in-house
slang. sometimes just recycled old slang. They wear baggy Bermuda shorts, T shirts with
bands or morbid themes including skeletons, and love their tattoos. As for hair they go
from the long-haired manes to the shaved heads. Their favorite hangouts during the day are
the alternative and imported CD shops.

Patys (or patricinhas) are the female answer to the mauricinhos. These
are well-to-do boys and girls who dress more conservatively. A cellular phone and an
expensive as-possible imported car are a must to belong to this tribe. Since they try to
mix only with teens of their own status, patys and mauricinhos end up having some
bars exclusively for themselves.

The healthy generation loves the outdoors, the fitness club, the special diet and
little or no alcohol and dangerous sports like rappelling. The domestic tribes on the
other hand find everything they need to have fun at home: the VCR, the computer linked to
the Internet, the telephone, or even the Bible.

Tribe Talk


Alô!—(hello) notice of someone entering the rink


Cacetada na mulera—(knock over the head) punk rock show



Ié!—salutation for a well-done maneuver

Nocar—to expel someone from a group

Punk—strong scenes

Sem miséria!—(lit. without misery) without limit

Shift + Del—to erase, to send into space

Uma vaca!—(a cow) to describe someone who falls down

Sport Lovers:

Pé de rato—(mouse foot) someone who bikes badly


Sarado—(cured) cool guy, healthy person


Burro preto—(black jackass) four-door black Opala car used by rappers


E aí, fera!—(and there, beast) what’s up bro




Muvucada—a crowd

Palha—(straw) boring person

Prego—(nail) boring person

Queimação—(burning) boring person

Rola aí!—send this along


Véi—brother, old chum

Xarope—(syrup) boring person

Patricinhas and playboys:

Ficar—(to stay) to engage in heavy petting


GLS (Gays, Lesbians and Sympathizers)


Biba—gay man (checkmeaning)

Bicha, mulher, senhora—gay man

Bolacha, fancha, sapê, tanque girl—gay woman

Barbie, Johnny Bravo—gays wearing baby-look blouses


Curra—(rape) thrashing

Do bem—pretty gay


Pão com ovo, pintosa, poc-poc, requenguela—effeminate gay man


Racha gay—friendly woman

Rio Clubbers:


Basi—Marijuana cigarette

E—(pronounced ee) Ecstasy

Fazer carão—to be obnoxious

Junkie—black clothes, dreary situation

Lombrou—it went wrong

Ó—terrrible as in Este a é ó (This acid is awful)

Tá parando—(it’s stopping) it is great


Nocar—to oust someone from a chat group

Shift + Del—to delete

Follows—right on!

A Taste of Daring

One of the most read teen publications is Atrevida (Daring Girl) from Abril
Editora, the same company that publishes leading newsweekly Veja. Take a look at
some titles of its extensive table of contents for the October 1998 issue:

Like dog and cat – She is constantly mistreating the boy she likes. Why?

What’s up, big boy? – Atrevida gives 25 hints on how to woo all kinds of boys.

Word of Boy – They prefer girls who cast a spell or are filled with charm.

"Sabe-Tudo Sobre Sexo" (Know It All About Sex) is one of the sections that
invites reader participation. It is a question-and-answer column. A sample:

Question: "Is it true that boys who are taller and have big biceps are better
endowed than the shorties?" M., 14 years old, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul

Answer: No. The size of the penis has no relation to the boy’s body shape. Short boys
can have a big penis or vice-versa. Another common folklore about this subject is that men
of certain races like Negro, for example, are usually better endowed than the
representatives of other ethnic groups. There is no scientific basis for that either.

The penis size has more to do with the hereditary factor. The son inherits the size of
his sexual organ from his father (who in turn got it from his grandfather or great

To summarize, it is good that you know that the capacity for having and giving pleasure
is not related to the size of the boy’s penis, but to other factors like intimacy that
exists between the boy and the girl or his capacity to notice what can give pleasure to
his partner.

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