SÃO PAULO - We can all agree that Brazil is the country of beautiful beaches, sensual rhythms and slim, gorgeous bodies. Right? Well, at least for that last category, we may have to leave things loose on our definitions.
Once considered worldwide sex symbols of toned slimness, the ladies of Brazil are starting to look at their body images with a different, some would say, more realistic perspective. The Brazilian weekly news magazine Época published the results of a study of attitudes and self-awareness of some 15,000 women over the age of 16, from a range of different social classes. Most of the respondents (72%) claimed to like rounder bodies better than skinny ones. And 59% would be happy to have a fuller shape.
This trend can also be seen in the world of celebrities, where the Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen (see below) had long set the standard for what woman were supposed to aspire toward appearance-wise.
"The model for beauty is no longer that of the fashion shows. That is not considered so attractive or sensual anymore," says Renato Meirelles, CEO of Data Popular research institute, which conducted the survey.
Miss Brazil Plus Size, a beauty contest for overweight women, is an example of the changes in national culture. The most recent winner weighs 98 kilograms (216 lbs). Famous brand C&A invited the chubby chanteuse Preta Gil to be its ad girl, with a new collection based on her look set to be released this month.
In the pop world, singer Gaby Amarantos (see below), who tips the scales at 76 kilograms (168 lbs) and actor Tiago Abravanel are further proof of this change. Gaby sings sexy songs and Tiago will play a Don Juan role in an upcoming prime time soap opera.