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Veja and the Virginity Auction


We are all prostitutes
Everybody has their price …
The Pop Group

Source:  Lux | Portugal

Catarina Migliorini, the young Brazilian woman who became widely known for the «quasi-unprecedented» auctioning of her virginity, is on the cover of Editora Abril’s Playboy Brasil, January edition.

Catarina’s virginity was auctioned off to a Japanese bidder for $780,000, or about €591,000.

The contract must withstand judicial review before being consummated. According to Catarina, the deal  with the Japanese man is for the act to occur aboard an aircraft, during a private flight.

The young girl achieved such notoriety during the auction that she plans to film a documentary on the subject in Australia.


Feminist-libertarian blogger Cynthia Semíramis offers a close reading of the publicity stunt and its gender-political ramifications.

It is curious to observe how Veja, a bastion of capitalism and the free market, changes course when a woman decides to sell her virginity — as is her right! — in a process that is strictly capitalist in nature.

Expecting Veja to navigate according to any steady moral compass at all is poor political and cultural seamanship.

What I personally found curious was the double use made of the episode by Veja and its sister publication Playboy Brasil.


Is everything for sale? Votes? Political support? Citizenship? Justice? Blood? Kidneys? Babies?

The Veja cover — above — uses the case to promote a classic moral panic

Our barcoded Jezebel is framed as an allegory for money changers in the temple and the 30 pieces of silver and all the other elements of a sense of diffuse and pervasive moral decay: cultural, political, economic, religious. She is the muse of the «mensalão» — the money-laundering slush fund scandals affecting both government and opposition.

Those who start the panic when they fear a threat to prevailing social or cultural values are known by researchers as moral entrepreneurs, while people who supposedly threaten the social order have been described as “folk devils”. —Wikipedia


This commonplace theme is frequently found in the writings of Globo columnist Arnaldo Jabor, author of Pornopolitica. It is, in fact, Jabor’s one-note samba.

I have used up all the scale I know
and in the end I find
I’ve come to nothing, or nearly nothing

There is a long tradition of moral panic journalism over the past century in the Brazilian press — including the most tragic  moral entrepreneur of them all, Carlos Lacerda.

Take a trivial example: a comment on the Web site of the opposition-learning Consultor Jurídico regarding a recent influence peddling charge involving second- and third-echelon officials of  the federal presidency.

The big lie is one of the cardinal sins that make up the molecular structure of this gang of thieves, bums and scam artists that compose the PT and its “allied base” — the latter made up of measly little political prostitution rings who parade their wares in the public square.

Some enterprising rhetoric grad student should attempt some day a critical history of Brazilian indignation.

Paperback Writer & The Bearback Rider

The image of Catarina straddling a large white teddy bear borders on the pedophiliac.


The cover shot betrays the widely documented and typical preference of the Brazilian gentleman reader for the bunda rather than the breasts.

Nothing could be more distinct than the conceptual framing of the two covers.

The Playboy Catarina takes us on an innocent romp through the nursery  and extends to Elvis the invitation he sang about:

Let me be your teddy bear

I have not much time to bring to bear on the topic at the moment, but it would be interesting to compare the case of Catarina with that of Mônica Velloso, the political marketer and ex-Globo journalist who, during her long-term affair with a federal senator, secretly taped their pillow tall, in a scandal that led to the senator’s stepping down from the presidency of the Senate.


«Diogo Mainardi: All politicians are bums to some degree»

A curious set of synergies were at work in that case.

After Mônica and her lawyer negotiated an exclusive interview with Veja — Mystery woman reveals all! the same lawyer negotiated the fee for her appearance in the altogether — Mystery woman reveals all! — in Playboy, a sister publication to Veja.

The centerfold ran with an exclusive interview of Veja columnist and noted moral entrepreneur Diogo Mainardi, above.

It should probably come as no surprise, of course, that different magazines targeting different readerships would differ in their overall orientation and editorial line. It should probably not come as a surprise, by the same token, that Abril magazines engage in editorial synergies when they want or need to.

The degree of centralization and cross-promotion in content production at Abril would be an interesting factoid to have on  hand.

Remembering Fawn

Finally, the case is of a certain historical interest to note the parallels with the Fawn Hall scandal — the former secretary was named a sex star of 1987 — [*] named  during the Iran-Contra hearings.


Catarina signs a contract at the offices of the Abril group. Source: Veja.com