Lawmaker’s outfit stirs controversy in Brazil

  • In this Feb 1, 2019 handout photo provided by the Santa Catarina Legislative Assembly Press Office office, State Rep. Ana Paula da Silva takes the oath of office in the Chamber of Deputies in Santa Catarina, Brazil. What da Silva chose to wear to the inauguration ceremony has led thousands of men and women to take to Twitter, Instagram and other social media. Detractors argue that she crossed a line, while others say clothes shouldn’t matter and asked politicians to focus on more pressing issues. (Luis Gustavo/Santa Catarina Legislative Assembly Press Office via AP)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian lawmaker Ana Paula da Silva is causing a furor after wearing a red outfit showing deep cleavage for a swearing-in ceremony at the Santa Catarina state assembly.

Da Silva has been at the center of a social media storm since wearing the outfit to her Feb. 1 inauguration.

Her detractors, including many women, argue that her choice of clothing was “inappropriate,” ”shocking” and “vulgar.” Others say that clothes shouldn’t matter and ask that politicians focus on more pressing issues.

On Facebook, da Silva defended her wardrobe choice.

“This macho and prejudiced world you live in is not mine,” she wrote in response to a man who asked how her cleavage contributed to democracy. “I’ve seen a lot of men in suits and ties taking money out of the health sector, school meals, that’s unacceptable.”

While some wondered whether the state representative had crossed a line, her backers tried to refocus the debate around her strong electoral results and political action.

Da Silva received the fifth largest number of votes in last year’s state assembly election, and she previously served two terms as local mayor in the city of Bombinhas.

Da Silva, a mother of two, said she will continue to wear what she wants, but has threatened to sue those behind some of the most aggressive messages she has received.

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