“I say that inner beauty does not exist. That’s something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves!” That’s the first comment in the video below, by the director/producer of the Ms. Venezuela pageant in Venezuela.
This opening line sets the tone for the story recently published in the NY Times. The story reveals how beauty and an over-inflated image of the woman has far reaching effects in Venezuela. While Hugo Chavez, the now deceased leader of Venezuela, denounced the use of cosmetic surgery to achieve this ideal due to the financial debt required to do so, the trend is stronger than ever.
While the US has it’s share of image obsessed consumers, it’s interesting to see how this has played out in Venezuela. Even the mannequins are a reflection of what society expects women to look like. As the video shows, stores with bustier mannequins sell more clothes!
It’s easy to criticize Venezuela for its focus on image but I’m not sure the US is any different fundamentally. Maybe our mannequins don’t reflect that societal expectation that women have a plethora of sex appeal but it is reflected in uncomfortable stiletto heels and lips over-inflated with Juvederm or Restylane. It’s reflected in our obsession with Hollywood and people clamoring to be on reality TV or shows like Jerry Springer for that 15 minutes of fame. I’m not critical of Jerry Springer. He didn’t invent vanity or a person’s need for attention. That existed already and he’s giving those people an outlet. Albeit a Southern-twanged, ignorant-laden outlet.