Controversy Erupts as 7-Year-Old Girl Chosen Rio Carnival Queen

People hoping to see a scantily clad samba queen during the annual Rio Carnival parade will be in for a big disappointment. The Viradouro samba group of the world-famous Rio Carnival has picked a 7-year-old as its queen this year. The group’s decision to name Julia Lira as drum corps queen quickly stirred controversy, with one judge planning to prevent the girl from joining the parade.

A government agency in the city said Julia is too young to join the annual parade that starts next week. The Carnival queen role is usually given to sexy models who wear skimpy outfits. However, Julia’s father, who is also the Viradouro group’s president, said his daughter is capable of performing the samba throughout the more than one hour parade.

A city official said allowing Julia to join the parade would worsen Rio de Janeiro‘s reputation as a place where children and women are treated as sexual objects. However, Marco Lira said her daughter’s participation would help to lessen the sexual stigma attached to the parade. “Any man who looks at a 7-year-old child and feels any sort of excitement should go see a doctor,” he said.