#BBCtrending: What do Brazilians really think of their maids?
- 23 May 2014
An anonymous Twitter account is highlighting the poor treatment of maids in Brazil.
"My maid is really dumb. Sometimes I feel like chopping that fat of hers with a kitchen knife."
"Once, as a bet, I kissed a black woman, and she was very similar to my maid - but fat."
Last weekend, a dedicated Twitter account, "My Maid" (@aminhaempregada), began retweeting examples such as these, as a way of showing how bad attitudes towards maids are in the country. It already has more than 8,000 followers.
"I think it's right to show the world that we are a racist society," the man behind the account told BBC Trending. "I just want to make it a better world for maids and others."
Brazil has around seven million maids - more than any other country in the world - and it is estimated that more than half of them are black. Many come from poor regions in the north-east of the country. Those who employ them tend to be middle class and urban.
Some people whose tweets he has retweeted have gone on to delete them. Others have defended their comments. But most of the feedback has been positive.
Reading the Twitter feed was like "a slap in the face", says Thiego Piruka, a journalist in Brasilia. "I didn't feel good. I was like, 'Wow, I say that a lot,'" he says. "I felt a little bit ashamed. But at the same time, I thought, 'I can do better, I can stop saying these things.'"
Piruka has never tweeted negative comments about maids, but says he has often made derogatory remarks with friends. Maids are the butt of many a joke in Brazil, he says.
Relatives of maids have also got in touch to share stories. Ellen Dias, whose mother is a maid, says she was well aware of the discrimination.
Her mother has been called "lazy" and "stupid" but she was surprised to see people making such derogatory comments in public on social media. She hopes the attention the site has generated will put pressure on the government to pass a proposed law granting maids more rights. A vote is due to take place next month.
The man running the account lives in Sao Paulo and is in his 30s, but has asked to remain anonymous. He says he's not interested in taking credit for the site. Like many Brazilians, he himself was largely raised by maids. "Maids are responsible for taking care of that most precious place - your home," he says. "And most of the time they leave their own kids at home to raise somebody else's. So I think we should show love and respect for them."
Reporting by Ricardo Senra and India Rakusen
This story first appeared on BBC Brasil's new #SalaSocial project
All our stories are at BBC.com/trending