Revista Trip – O sexo da vovó

Trip… sabe bem como fisgar-me. En serio, you had me at “sexo da vovó”. But if there was any doubt, the cover from the retro porn rag sealed the deal. Something about erotica that involves the combination of wood panelling, body hair “au naturale” and birthday cake. Put them together and it’s like kryptonite. But with nossa Revista Trip it’s never entirely without a purpose. The editores at Trip are an elite group that I consider to be the undisputed cultural and intellectual maestros of legitimizing what would otherwise be a visual glut of gratuitous flesh. And as usual, there was something of some substance to back up the … fluff?

Revista Trip – O sexo da vovó [click the link to read Aubert’s essay]

Accompanying this slice of 70s nostalgia is a concise 4-paragraph exploration of cultural and critical theory that charts a course of progressive sexual repression. The author André Caramuru Auber begins with romantic early colonial visions of the New World as a morally taint-free haven for sexual renaissance. He then moves through the 20th century to reach the apex of efforts by the Church -and by extension the state- to reinvigorate the institutionalized traditions of sexual guilt and shame. As the photo may or may not suggest, this cultural-historical cartography becomes more a vehicle for Aubert to address the broader tension between the forward momentum of progress and the gravity of nostalgia. The fundamental question behind shifting attitudes towards sexuality is: How can things always be getting better if they were always so much better back in the day… ?

To lean on sex as the pivot point for his argument in a country as sexually charged and sexually posterized as Brazil is a natural move. Aubert is able to juxtapose the image of sexual innocence and freedom that Europeans projected onto the pre-Colombian indios with Foucault’s carceral vision of modern marriage as a sexually inhibited bourgeois institution. That historical framework gives more authority to the suggestion that Brazil can operate as a case study in sexual contradictions. A petri dish for breeding global sex-symbols and the home of this month’s carnaval – the ultimate celebration sin par of ritualistic debauchery, narcissism, and unleashed sexual energy – Brazil like many nations still identifies closely with a Catholic religious and cultural heritage and is home to one of the fastest growing demographics of evangelical Christians. Reflecting a tension that permeates the Americas, Brazil grows more permissive and more repressed at the same time.

So who had it better? You… or your Nana? Your boomin granny was expected to be a virgin at the altar but relationships and love and sex were supposedly so much more authentic back then…. right? And while you can masturbate to a virtual smorgasbord of internet porn, it leaves you emotionally desensitized …doesn’t it? Moreover, you’re always victim to the panopticon of societal judgment that dictates everything from your optimal cholesterol level to how you should groom the foliage of your pubic bonsai. (NOTE: We at HELA are still waiting for the 70s freedom-bush to make a comeback.)

So what does Aubert have to say? His simple observation – there is no winner. Progress is good and so was the past. And both are terribly flawed. In either case, while the grass may or may not be greener …everything has its advantages …and everything has its price. But if you were to tell this to the children of the 1980s post sexual-revolution AIDS generation with its conflicting message of mini-skirts and STDs, I believe their response would be something along the lines of “yeah… no shit.”

¿y… qué crees?

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