'Wigs off!' Female sports presenter scores a 'goal' against taboos
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Brazilian journalist Alice Bastos decided to make her disease a symbol of struggle.
While we repeat on social media the need to break taboos, television continues to be an arsenal of stereotypes, where the image, especially of women, seems to be everything.
It's even more so if you work as a sports journalist, a traditional fiefdom of men where more and more women who participate have denounced — both reporters and presenters — the dictatorship of a certain stereotyped beauty and the machismo that infects this sector of the media.
On Oct. 1, a Brazilian sports journalist, Alice Bastos Neves, decided to score a 'goal' against the system and above all, prove that women who have gone through breast cancer are real and can continue their battle without having to hide the reality from spectators or themselves.
Alice (36) presented the sports section of the midday news of Globo without a wig, showing off her baldness after having undergone chemotherapy. It's something she plans to continue doing, both on television and in the street, even though abandoning her wig was a hard decision.
"When I heard the diagnosis, the first thing I thought about was not necessarily pain, fear or chemo, it was baldness. First of all, I went to a wig store and tried out how I would look," Bastos Neves told the Journalist Review of the University of Texas.
"It was very enriching to have this wig, because it gave me the assurance that if I felt bad I could wear it. I think it's part of the way we were raised, of a series of stereotypes that society imposes on us," she added.
After receiving the diagnosis of breast cancer this year, the reporter thought that she could not stop and that, beyond the fear, working made her feel good about herself and was part of her world. So, while she faced the same struggle as millions of women around the planet, she continued to report sports news for Globo from her home.
As time went by and the chemotherapy treatment affected her body, viewers saw the changes in Alice's image and she sent them a message of courage and truth, which were definitive when the wig came off.
But that wasn't the only thing that changed. Her way of seeing the profession of journalist and sports as something that cannot be separated from social reality also changed, especially when you are a woman and live surrounded by taboos like the one that affects beauty and cancer patients.
"In sports the hostess has to be a pretty girl. People talk about the clothes I'm wearing, the lipstick, the shoes, the hair... When something escapes a little (the standards of beauty) it ends up being news, as was the case with my shaved head," said Alice.
In addition to a call for the prevention of breast cancer, affects 1 in 8 women in the U.S., Alice Bastos used her own program to change the narrative and launched a series of reports, 'Vitórias' (Victories), about women who overcame the disease with the help of sport, which will be shown by Globo throughout the month of Pink October.
Next Monday is International Breast Cancer Day and it is time to pay tribute to women like Alice Bastos Neves who are not afraid and continue to fight not only for their health but for all of us.