"I say that inner beauty does not exist. That's something that un-pretty women invented, to justify themselves." -Osmel Sousa (Director of Miss Venezuela Pageant)
There have been numerous articles recently on the mannequins in Venezuela, and the extremely large and ever growing plastic surgery obsession there to meet this 'unattainable' idea of beauty. Osmel Sousa (quoted above), takes credit for this artificial aesthetic trend. Even stating, "In the rules for the international pageant, women do not have to be completely natural, they have to be beautiful. Where that beauty comes from, doesn't matter." You can see the full NY Times interview below, where they also address the crazy looking mannequins you may have seen floating the internet coming out of Valencia, Venezuela. Either way, Osmel Sousa's smug demeanor will have you wanting to either gag or laugh hysterically in amazement, knowing that he is totally serious and delirious. Here's a visual….
Yeh. That's what I'm talking about.
I personally know SEVERAL women who have done and/or still do pageants. It's no secret, that in these pageants, a good majority of the women go under the knife. Brazilian pageant contestant Juliana Borges who is ONLY 22 years old, who competed in Miss Universe this year, even admitted to getting 19 surgical procedures in a year. She is quoted in an ABC Primetime News article saying, "I had several surgeries, but they were all totally subtle, so I wouldn't have any marks, any scars and so there wouldn't be a big difference to how I was before." I'm not sure what subtle means to her, but some of these so-called 'subtle' surgeries included, breast implants, bioplastic sculpting in her cheekbones, silicone remolding in her chin, a sharpened jaw, pinned back ears and liposuction in her waist and back. I don't know, maybe the word 'subtle,' has changed since the last time I looked it up.
Still, one could argue, 'don't hate the playa, hate the game!' I don't lose sleep over how much surgery these women have done to look this way, or what they will put their bodies thru to achieve this sense of beauty. It's their choice to go into these pageants to begin with, but more importantly it's THEIR CHOICE if they want to go under the knife or not as well. This goes for the public too. No one is holding a gun to their head saying they HAVE to get the surgery. The issue here is the the IDEA that you can't be any good or beautiful WITHOUT it. The idea that the poor are mortgaging their homes to get implants, nose jobs and liposuction is quite disturbing. What's interesting is that even though America still leads the globe in plastic surgery procedures, it takes on an elevated status in Venezuela with the importance of beauty there, and the idea that cosmetic procedures will help project a successful image. What's also different about Venezuela vs. the U.S. is that plastic surgery is spoken about freely there. Here in the U.S., women will jump thru hoops to avoid talking about procedures they have done, or even outright deny them.
Since we're talking about plastic surgery and it's growing trends around the globe, we can't leave out South Korea. According to 20,000 plastic surgeons polled worldwide, even though America lead in procedures being done, South Korea, had the highest proportion of it's population having plastic surgery, with the patient OFTEN wanting a more 'Western' look. One of the most popular surgical procedures is double eyelid surgery, or Blepharoplasty, that reduces excess skin in the upper eyelid to make the eyes appear bigger. Last year, 20% of women aged 19 to 49 in the capital city of Seoul admitted to going under the knife, that's 1 out of 5. Plastic surgery has become so popular that it's not uncommon for Korean high school girls to go under the knife. In fact, it's believed that the earlier you do it, the more "natural" it looks as you grow into your features. Some parents even encourage their children to get plastic surgery. "Everyone is getting prettier and prettier and some parents don't want their child to be the 'ugly' one," one Korean woman told VICE last year. Can you even imagine?A Tumblr called "Korean Plastic Surgery", posted a few of these before and after photos... What's crazy is that these young men and women are not only having nose jobs and eyelid surgeries, but many on the above individuals also underwent bone shaving to completely change the shape of their faces. And the idea that a parent would actually encourage this is almost hard to believe. What type of message does this send? If you think about it, it's not too far from the message that our dear friend Mr. Sousa stands behind (above). The idea that it really DOESN'T matter what's on the inside, but what's on the outside that really counts. Listen, I have NO problem what so ever with plastic surgery. If there is something you want to change about your face, body etc., then by all means do your research, and look into it if you think it will truly change how you feel about yourself. Why do we love these full body makeover shows so much? It's the idea that physical beauty is very much attainable. But when does it go from wanting to make the change for yourself and your own personal reasons, to listening to some crazy man and this unrealistic ideal of what a woman should look like. The idea that women and men could be influenced by this and conform, is actually quite sad. What ever happened to being unique and individual? I look at some of these pageant shows and think they all kind of look the same anyway. Case in point, check out these photos of pageant contestants in South Korea. They all look very similar.
I think what's important to take from all of this is NOT that the women of Venezuela and South Korea are having more and more plastic surgery, since we as Americans still beat them in that arena. The larger issue as a whole, whether you are from South America, South Korea or elsewhere, is the trend towards conforming to this idea that there is only one type of beauty, external. And that this 'external' beauty comes in the form of augmented breasts, unnaturally slim waist and hips, narrow nose, and larger eyes, just to name a few. So women in their teens and early 20s are made to believe this is the way they will succeed in life. It doesn't matter what's on the inside.
Are we all supposed to look the same? Whatever happened to embracing where you come from and your heritage that makes you different? Mr. Sousa calls these natural traits/facial characteristics 'defects' . Saying, "When there is a defect, I correct it." It seems that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Having society dictate what is considered beautiful is one thing. That's been around for a while. It's the trend of all these young people conforming to it, at such an early age, when they don't know any better, being the larger issue.
So, what do you think?
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