In the past few years, I have noticed that societies may tend to operate at extremes. Well-founded movements against the shaming of bodies different from the ideal image as portrayed by Western media can quickly become thin-shaming. Initiatives to raise awareness regarding the power of words to offend can give rise to a use of language so restrictive that society comes to be confused by what is considered politically correct. Although well-intentioned, movements to remedy some issues in society sometimes trigger backlashes. The same occurs in literature on Western influence in Brazil; in an attempt to preserve the country’s origins and tradition, scholars tend to claim that everything that comes from the West has harmed Brazil. In this essay, I take up a political lens to analyze whether or not this is true. I argue for a middle ground, recognizing the legitimacy of previous scholars’ arguments but adding to the literature by offering examples of circumstances in which Western influence aided the development of Brazil as a democratic society.

MARIA CLARA BEZERRA, an International Relations major, was born in Bahia, Brazil, and attended international school from the age of two. In this international context she came to be interested in understanding how cultural clashes within her immediate international community related to diplomatic issues in the field of international studies. Maria Clara came to the university to broaden her horizons and pursue her studies in IR in the cosmopolitan context of Boston. She plans to return to Brazil after graduation to apply her training in international studies in support of the struggle for rights of women and minorities in Latin America.