A story about plus-size bikinis would be intriguing no matter what, but since we're talking about Brazil — a country with swimsuits so small a pubic hair wax was named for it — it's even more interesting. Apparently plus-size apparel is much-needed in Brazil, and that includes swimwear.
The AP reports that Clarice Rebelatto started Lehona, her exclusively plus-size beachwear line in 2010, and it is "a hit." But much like in the US, there are plenty of companies who refuse to add larger sizes to their lines. Luiz Rebelatto, Clarice's son and director of Lehona says: "Some brands, they don't want their image to be associated with chunky women… Only the thin, the rich and the chic."
Yet there is a market for Lehona's flesh-baring plus-size bikinis. And while the article itself seems to celebrate the brand, it also contains a cruel subtext. Reporter Jenny Barchfield describes plus-size beach enthusiast Elisangela Inez Soares as being "packed" into her swimsuit and "rubbing down the well-oiled bulge of her stomach and thighs." Seems like we're meant to feel that Soares' body — her bulges — should be covered; not shown off. Consider this:
In brash leopard spots and flower prints not meant for wallflowers, the label's 14 bikini styles aren't what you'd normally associate with plus-size swimsuits. The necklines plunge dramatically. Straps are mere strings. And while the bottoms provide too much coverage to qualify for the famed "fio dental" or "dental floss" category of Brazilian string bikinis, they're significantly more audacious than the standard US cut.
Translation? How dare fatties wear dramatic, bold swimsuits? Why draw attention to those bodies you should be ashamed of?
Luckily, Soares has a great attitude: "God makes some people thin but he made me like this," she says. "So who am I to think that he was wrong?"