Venezuelan Mannequins Highlight The Country's Body-Image Problems



When most of us go shopping, mannequins are the last thing on our minds. Instead, we're focused on the clothes we're dying to buy — or, more accurately, the clothes we can't afford to buy. Sure, most of the forms that populate the Barneys and Bloomingdale's of the world don't give us quite the best idea of body image, but it's often not something that shoppers truly obsess over. After reading a recent New York Times article, however, we're realizing that's sadly not the case for the women of Venezuela.

Apparently, the country's culture has long been fascinated with an extreme version of perfection, and now it's starting to play out in store windows. Plastic surgery is seen as a sign of affluence, and implants are so popular that women speak freely and often joke about the subject. So, when the Times spoke with shop owners and mannequin salesmen, it found that the plastic models with large breasts and tiny waists served as inspiration for Venezuelans. "You see a woman like this and you say, ‘Wow, I want to look like her,'" said one manufacturer.

Of course, not everybody in the country is embracing the plastic-surgery culture. Several women's groups have protested, and local news media have reported that fatalities because of operations frequently performed at unlicensed clinics have been increasing in the past few years. Sadly, though, it doesn't seem to be doing much to change the nation's line of thought. Many of the women interviewed for the Times story said they'd either gotten plastic surgery or had the desire to do so, and several expressed an unhealthy mindset that revolved around the idea of beauty as only skin deep. "Beauty is perfection, to try to perfect yourself more and more every day," said one shop owner. "That’s how people see it here." (The New York Times)

oPhoto: Via The New York Times.