“With sugar, with affection, I made your favorite candy, for you to stop at home, whatever. With your prettiest suit, you go out, I can’t believe it, when you say you won’t be late. You say you’re a worker, go out in looking for a salary, to be able to support myself.”
These are the first stanzas of “Com Açúcar, com Afeto”, one of the many wonderful songs by Chico Buarque. The song’s story continues in a dramatic tone, which, to me, has always been ironic. The bohemian man returns home at dawn drunk and the woman in the song can’t resist: “When the night finally tires you, you come like a child, to cry my forgiveness”. “And seeing you so tired, ragged and mistreated, how can I get angry? What the hell. Soon I’ll warm up your plate, give your portrait a kiss and open my arms to you.”
This song was released in 1967 (yes, 55 years ago!). I’ve loved this song since I was a kid, but obviously it doesn’t fit the current times. Today it would be recognized as an example of abusive relationship history. How can a woman, after all this, still “heat” a man’s plate?
No, I will never stop loving this song. I even write listening to it on repeat and singing along. But that music dated, dated. This is even natural, since the music is more than 50 years old. It happens. For me, this song remains as a fond memory of the men of the composer’s and my father’s generation.
And Chico agrees with that. He said in the documentary “O Canto Livre de Nara Leão” (Globoplay) that he no longer sings this song live. The reason: he listened to feminists, who find the content of the music extremely sexist, decided to listen to them and gave them reason.
At that moment, I feel like giving a standing ovation. It’s not every day that a man listens to us. And, much less, who takes what we say seriously. But Chico proved that we have even more reasons to be his fans. “I enjoyed making (the song). We didn’t have that problem (the feminist criticism). It’s just that there is, the feminists are right, I will always give the feminists right.” It’s so rare for us to hear a man say that that we even get emotional.
I confess that I, personally, would like to hear this song at a concert (like any other, I’m a big fan). But does it make sense to sing a song that dated in this way?
He doesn’t think so—and I agree. “They (feminists) need to understand that at that time it didn’t exist, it didn’t cross people’s minds that this was oppression, that women don’t need to be treated like that. They’re right. I’m not going to sing ‘With sugar, with affection’ anymore and, if Nara were here, she certainly wouldn’t sing”. The song, for those who don’t know, was made at the request of Nara Leão, who “commissioned” for him a song of “suffering woman”
We understand that things were completely different in 1967, Chico. And thanks for your consideration and admires your ability to put yourself in women’s shoes.
It’s not censorship!
In recent days, when the subject came to light because of the series, many are treating Chico as a kind of “victim of feminists” (those “beings” considered by many to be “evil and capable of horrible things”). But it was none of that. He, Chico, made a decision.
Yes, men are able to do this without being pressured (contains irony). He listened to women, that rare thing that we ask for every day. And he put himself in the place of a friend, Nara Leão, who ordered the music for him. It’s that simple.
It’s not today that Chico is connected with our struggles. A friend sent me an interview that the singer gave in 1972 (50 years ago!) to journalist Maria Lucia Rangel. There, he talks about these suffering woman-themed songs he produced:
“In general, the women in my songs are arrested, they stay in the window. They are not independent. Of course, I do all this with a dose of criticism.”
Today, women are infinitely more independent. Of course, 50 years have passed and things have changed. “Com Açúcar, com Afeto”, despite being beautiful, would look really strange in a show.
It’s not about censorship. It’s just the attitude of a man who, at 77, still listens to younger women and is able to take criticism into account. Oh, if everyone was like you, Chico…