WHO IS THIS MR. JOSÉ FUZEIRA?
See the letter that set tongues wagging and the response from the woman who dared to face the prejudice.
Letter from Mr. José Fuzeira addressed to President Getúlio Vargas,
and published in the Diário da Noite newspaper.
(passages of the original letter)
Illustrious Mr. President of the Republic, Dr. Getúlio Vargas
Sir, my obeisance of respect. Please allow the sender, although not having the credentials of any educational or scientific authority, to request a few minutes of your attention to the great problem which is discussed below. (…)
I respectfully, therefore, ask for the clairvoyant attention of Your Excellency, so that a calamity that is about to collapse upon the female youth of Brazil is conjured up. I am referring, Mr. President, to the enthusiastic movement that is stirring up hundreds of young women, attracting them to become football players, without taking into account that women will not be able to practice this violent sport without seriously affecting the psychological balance of the organic functions, because of the nature that made them “a mother”.(…)
“According to the newspapers, in Rio, there are already over ten female teams. In São Paulo and Belo Horizonte, others are already being set up. And, in this increasingly rate, it is very likely that, within a year, 200 female football clubs will be organized throughout Brazil, that is, 200 health-destroying centers of 2200 future mothers…(…)”
“As you can see, such sporting nonsense has not yet appeared in any other country. Henceforth, to prevent their first fruits from degenerating into a calamity against the health and the sportive composure of the beautiful gender, I appeal to a sign of recognized and lofty sense of Your Excellency (…) seek the advice of a group of physicians, so that they can decide whether women can, without manifest and serious injury, effectively take part in a sport of rude and aggressive friction and nature as an active element…(…)
“May Your Excellency, Mr. President, aid and save these future mothers from the risk of destroying their precious health, and the health of their future children… And Brazil’s.”
Mr. José Fuzeira
May 7, 1940 (Diário da Noite)
Jornal dos Sports newspaper – May 10, 1940
In response to Mr. José Fuzeira’s letter, Margarida Pereira, AKA “Adiragram” – from Sport Club Brasileiro, defended women’s football practice.
(passages of the original letter)
“I read carefully the letter addressed by Mr. José Fuzeira to a newspaper from our city. At first, I took the case seriously. By reflecting, I asked myself: who is this Mr. José Fuzeira? I soon realized that this gentleman is unknown to the sport, and therefore lacked the authority to discuss it. He sought to become famous in sporting circles only with a letter addressed to the highest magistrate of the country”
“There are men whose occupations give them time even to deal with women’s affairs. (…) Mr. José Fuzeira should attend the practice of women’s football, to see how healthy this sport is and the benefits it provides to its practitioners.”
“It is true that football, like other sports, cannot be practiced by all, especially by those who have aversion to physical education and who only do gymnastics on the radio, afraid to perform in public…”
“Mr. Fuzeira will one day find that swimming is harmful to women because the water can make the athletes catch a cold and the short and sticking swimsuits are not appropriate to his way of thinking about future mothers.”
“Mr. Fuzeira is invited to attend the first women’s football match and publicly point out the disadvantages of this practice in the way it has been used among young Brazilian women”
“Before that, Mr. Fuzeira should be concerned about the boys who play football with sock balls in the streets of his house, breaking the windows of the neighborhood. In that case, the letter writer would do a great job and not have time to worry about things that only interest the weaker sex.”