Plastic surgery impacts beauty standards in Venezuela

Plastic surgery impacts beauty standards in Venezuela
Does plastic surgery impact our beauty standards?

Many women might choose to get breast implants or other enhancement procedures to boost their own self-confidence, but are the results of plastic surgery reflecting what the world thinks about beauty as a whole?

Venezuelan mannequin manufacturer Eliezer Álvarez has capitalized on the nation's growing plastic surgery trends, designing retail mannequins that he believes better represents the body types of Venezuelan women. According to The New York Times, the mannequins have debuted in store windows throughout the country, boasting tiny waists, large breasts and rounded buttocks. While the mannequins might look like caricatures, the proportions of these plastic models purportedly resemble the popular body enhancements being undertaken by women in the South American country. 

New standards
The increasing popularity of "operated women" - women with breast implants - throughout the nation has given Venezuelans a casual outlook toward the plastic surgery procedure. While former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who passed away earlier this year, derided the practice, more than 81,000 surgical cosmetic procedures were performed in the country in 2011, according to a report from the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Overall, the country ranks No. 19 in the world for plastic surgery. 

"You see a woman like this and you say, 'Wow, I want to look like her,'"  Reina Parada, a mannequin factory worker who would like to one day receive breast implants, told the news source. "It gives you better self-esteem," she said, referring to the procedure. 

According to the news outlet, this idea seems to be prevalent across the country. Álvarez told the news source that he created these mannequins as a way to boost the sales for his small factory - and it worked. The mannequins are now displayed in retail stores targeted to both rich and working-class women.

Self-confidence vs. ideal
While the rate of plastic surgery procedures in Venezuela remains lower than many other countries, including the U.S. and South Korea, the status of "operated women" in the country has alerted several women's groups, the news source reported. Many women's advocates fear that the newfound beauty ideals, though attainable through cosmetic enhancements, might be damaging to women's beliefs, attitudes and self-esteem, and create unrealistic expectations.  

Álvarez called his mannequins "operated," acknowledging that their proportions are entirely enhanced, while a Venezuelan plastic surgeon admitted to the news source that he doesn't believe in "inner beauty." 

It's important to remember the positive benefits of procedures such as breast implants, which can include boosts in self-confidence. However, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery recommends consulting with a board-certified doctor before committing to the surgery to make sure it's the right fit for you and your lifestyle.