Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Saturday, 6 February 2010

Should seven-year-old girl be made samba queen?

carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A row has erupted in Brazil after a seven-year-old girl is given the role of samba queen in the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

Children's rights groups have raised concerns that it is inappropriate for a child to take on the traditionally "sexy" role for the 80-minute parade.

BBC News website readers have been writing in with their views. Here is a selection.


So the problem here seems to be that traditionally little girls aren't put in as queen. Isn't this a bit similar to the tradition that women were kept in the home and shouldn't be allowed in the workplace? The reaction here reinforces that aged and sexist stereotype!
Mark, Exeter, UK

Child protection groups slander innocence with their perverse viewpoints. Why can these people not see that honestly awarding an innocent child the position of Rio Samba school queen is a step in the right direction?
Robert, Santa Barbara, CA, US

Kids are growing up faster these days, you see school girls carrying handbags instead of back packs to school and so on. This girl might be good at what she does and she should have every right to dance at the carnival, if she chooses to do so. We have been bombarded by child sex stories, so much so that men now feel it is inappropriate to show affection to their daughters in public, because they might be mistaken for a paedophile. There will always be perverts, so what should we do? We need to get out of this paedophile mentality.
Samuel Dontoh, London, UK

I would allow my daughter to take part in an event like this samba parade, since the dancing is a symbol of a freedom, of war sometimes, and a social and interracial communication tool between the descendants of African Brazilians and the white people, since the time of Portuguese colonization.
Carlos Koiti Ogawa, Tokyo, Japan

Is it not a good thing to portray a different image and give young people a leading role, instead of the stereo typical "carnival queens"?
Robert, Liverpool

Carnival is not a sexual event, it's a democratic event with free entrance, so making a little girl the queen is a very good opportunity to show the rest of the world that carnival in Brazil is a celebration of life, and a way to purify the soul. The Rio de Janeiro State Council for the Defence of Children and Adolescents and family court judges have more pressing issues to deal with, such as abuse, family violence, starvation, illiteracy and so on.
Rossano Soares Tavares, Sao Paulo, Brazil

If my daughter was as good as this girl, I would let her do it. Dancing is a good exercise, it keeps children from being obese, couch potatoes and off the streets where they can run into trouble. Sorry, but not every country has morris dancing or square dance as their traditional dance.
Miguelinho, London, UK

Let the girl do what she has already been chosen to do and she loves to dance, then discuss putting an age restriction on it, not after she has been chosen and is looking forward to being the queen, it's wrong to take it away from her. Children are allowed to be less children every day, don't take away their spark and joy in life. I see your other point but taking the girl out of her earned status in the carnival will not correct those sort of people. And samba is the appropriate dance for any age - as any dance is, stop taking the life out of children everywhere with restrictions that were never put on us as children - life has to go on.
Elizabeth Harman, Hull


Absolutely no way would I let a child of mine do this, the samba is a very sexy dance and wholly inappropriate for a child... what is her father thinking? I hope the court rules against her being allowed to do this dance in her skimpy dress!
Anne, Sheffield

Our generation has thrown caution to the wind. We have not only overstepped every boundary of decency but we are exposing our children to these things even earlier than we were exposed to them. We can all see how this vicious circle will end.
Adeola Adenrelu, Lagos, Nigeria

No. This is tantamount to corrupting the morals and robbing the innocence of a delicate angel. Michael Jackson's woes should teach us a lesson. Let's avoid retarding her adulthood.
Godwin Chepkurgor, Nakuru, Kenya

I do not have any kids but I would not let anyone I know dance like that at that age! It's not right seeing a little girl dancing like that, it's basically encouraging paedophiles! I really think what her father said was very amusing, "Any man who looks at a seven-year-old girl and feels any sort of excitement should go see a doctor." There are sick people out there and putting your daughter on display like that? He should be ashamed of himself!
Stephen, Great Yarmouth, England

I feel it's very inappropriate for a child to be involved in a very explicit, obviously adult event. Why are the women scantily dressed? It's been known for a long time that this carnival has a sexual focus.
Gordon Sherriff-Smith, Melbourne. Australia

Samba is part of the Brazilian culture and millions of children will dance it, not only during Carnival. My daughters did it many times, since the age of four, but they did with kids of the same age, during children's parties, in the afternoon. Becoming the "Drum Queen" of Viradouro is different. It involves dancing as the only child among thousands of alcohol-consuming adults, (not to mention other drugs), non-stop from 3 am to 4:20 am. Not an appropriate environment for a child of seven, boy or girl, regardless of the type of music.
Fernando Lanzer Pereira de Souza, Amstelveen, The Netherlands

I think an opportunity for any young person, like being the Queen of a Samba School, is great. What is unfortunate here is the traditional sexual focus on this young girl's role. While any once in a lifetime opportunity is great, I must say that this one is inappropriate as it will sadly encourage sexual thoughts, etc, towards young children. This is morally wrong since such people won't even be able to understand the situation they are in. What is necessary here is to respect the facts - the best thing is for this girl's role not to go ahead. It will do more bad than good.
Matthew, Worcester, UK

I am disgusted by the actions of this father and the school of samba for allowing this to happen. I am a primary school teacher in England from Brazil, and certainly think this is not appropriate for a child. If they go ahead, it just shows that is acceptable to exploit a child. Definitely, no, no. no.
Luiz Bento, London - UK

In a moral and civilised society, no woman would gyrate semi-naked in the streets, even as part of a show. Is it not surprising that years of adult role-models, performing semi-naked in the streets, would produce children wanting to do the same? Children would not see any harm in this activity, which is why there is so much concern from every educated person that decent morals are not being maintained and that the little child is being harmed.
Shafquat Ali Rajah, London, UK

Too many children these days are forced to grow up too quickly. This is an adult role and should be treated as such. This child has many years yet to fulfil her ambition and this role at seven years is not the time. Her parents might be pushing so fame and money will follow! The question is who benefits??
Anne Chuter, West Sussex, UK

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