It may sound like fifth-rate newspaper gossip, but the recent charge for artists and celebrities to take a stand on the world’s problems is a lesson in managing privacy and intimacy in modern times.
To those less accustomed to the controversies of the real Brazil, I’ll explain. The radicalization of politics, the ups and downs of the government of Jair Bolsonaro and the seriousness of social, environmental and economic problems has forced people who until yesterday were only concerned with the number of followers to take a clear stand on the dilemmas of contemporary life.
Today, there is no casual interview, Instagram question box or fan interaction on social media that does not place influencers at the crossroads of positioning.
Is it coxinha or bologna? Lula or Bolsonaro? By mining or by the indigenous people? For life or for the economy? Is it Coronavac or Pfizer? Tight or tight pants? With gluten or gluten free? Electronic ballot box or printed ballot? For forests or for agribusiness? For veganism or for cows? By males or by diversity? The old excuse of “I don’t know”, “I don’t understand these matters”, “I keep my opinion to mine”, “I don’t even know what to say” doesn’t stick anymore. The “gloriapirism” is over (the moment, transformed into a meme, that actress Glória Pires said she didn’t know how to give an opinion about the best film of 2015, in the broadcast of the Oscar 2016).
It’s not just the mess the world has become to blame. The problems have been around forever (perhaps, to a lesser extent—it’s true) The problem lies in the new conception of intimacy of public people.
The impasse caused by the actress Samantha Schmütz, right after Paulo Gustavo’s death, is symbolic of the moment.
Impressed by the lack of commitment of some colleagues to the turmoil that the country has become since the arrival of Sars-Cov-2, Schmutz decreed the “end of the game”. In a post on a social network, he said that “it’s no use using our voice to do a little dance on TikTok”, “it’s no use doing collective work to reality show from the lives of others”, “you can’t post the look of the day, you can’t sensualize more, there’s nothing else to do, except against what’s happening.” products and services for which they are paid to sell, but also make their own position on the problems of the world clear.
Juliana Paes, who makes a fortune with sponsored posts, put on her hat, entered the debate and defended himself saying that “it is not the obligation of any artist to have a public political position”.
It wasn’t, it is now. The blame for the turn is the artists themselves. The concept of intimacy has changed.
Before, as defined by Tércio Ferraz, jurist and professor at the USP Law School (University of São Paulo), intimacy was
(i) respect the desire to be alone
(ii) the right to confidentiality
(iii) the autonomy to freely decide on one’s own life
But in recent times, with the spread of social networks and the omnipresence of cameras, a new layer of meaning has emerged for the limits of public and private in the lives of famous people.
We’re used to seeing artists’ lives in the bathrooms of the house, voting in polls to find out what color they should apply to their hair, participating in debates about which clothes to wear. With the notion that the end of privacy is a reality for everyone, we have come to the conclusion that something so common, routine and public is no longer about intimacy.
The new intimacy is defined more by form than content. We are interested in knowing how others react, think and feel about the world’s problems.
the classes of Anitta about politics with Gabriela Prioli, Samantha Shmütz’s fight with Juliana Paes, the sequence of tweets with Paolla Oliveira rebutting fake news about prostitution — and taking a stand against child abuse — generates a buzz not because of politics itself, but because of our interest in knowing how public people convulse their emotions learn, disagree, get emotional, get angry and react to everyday life.
The last bastion of the intimacy of the big celebrities is in the way they expose or hide their emotions to the world. If what they eat, drink, watch is no longer a secret and they don’t make them different from us, it matters to know what they think, reflect and how they react to life.