Carnival kicks off next month in Brazil, and this year, two of Rio’s most famous samba schools have chosen women in their 40s as carnival queens.

According to the Times of London, being a Carnival queen is a coveted position. "For months beforehand the battle of the queens is followed in every magazine, newspaper and news bulletin." Model, actress and former Playboy cover girl Luma de Oliveira, 44, is one of the lucky ones, as is Luiza Brunet, 46. Joyce Pascowitz, "Brazil’s elder stateswoman," who runs a fashion magazine and website, says: "It’s interesting that women over 40 are serving as examples of beauty. This puts a value on Brazilian women over the age considered the maximum. It shows that, yes, there is life after 40. And not just intelligent life."

Of course, Ms. de Oliveira and Ms. Brunet are not "ordinary" 40-year-old ladies. The Times notes:

The role of Queen of the Drums, which involves dancing pneumatically in a bikini, heels and giant headdress, in front of 400 or so drummers is not for the fainthearted. “The queen is a model of beauty, charm and swing,” said Ms. Pascowitz. Ms. de Oliveira celebrated her appointment in front of the cameras at a Portela rehearsal, wearing a transparent mini-dress covered in thousands of Swarovski crystals.

Question: Is a woman being objectified regardless of her age really a victory?

Maturity Trumps Youth In Brazil's Battle Of The Carnival Queens [Times of London]