The universal idea of beauty has been definitely changed. Now, the most beautiful and most desired women are curvy. For many, the ideal woman is a combination of Jennifer Lope, Sofia Vergara and Beyonce
A new canon for female appearance places Latinas among the most attractive and desired women on the planet, which in turn fuels the existing cult of beauty and the women’s obsession with looking beautiful, young and fabulous.
It is no coincidence that countries such as Brazil, The Dominican Republic and Colombia have become the preferred destination for the so-called “beauty-tourism,” a new and innovative trend that has people traveling to other countries a part of promotional packages that include accommodation, medical expenses and cosmetic surgery ranging from breast augmentation to chin liposuction for a fraction of the cost they would have in the U.S.
The business of vanity or plastic surgery is a growing billion-dollar industry in Latin America, where professional success and social acceptance largely depend on physical appearance. This, despite the myriad of terrifying cases of deaths during surgery and of procedures performed in clinics operated by unscrupulous doctors or by people lacking proper credentials.
The social pressure Latinas feel regarding their beauty drives even the ones with the most limited resources to resort to desperate methods that may include a subtle form of prostitution called “chapeo.”
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the most popular types of surgery are buttock augmentation, liposuction and breast augmentation. Botox continues to top the list of most common non-invasive cosmetic procedures worldwide.
A CULTURAL MATTER
Latinas habitually worry about their appearance and the perception others may have of them, including their financial and social status. Looking good is equated to wellness and to doing well financially. We Latinas were raised admiring and wanting to be “just like” the leading actresses in telenovelas.
For most, going under the knife is considered more as psychological healing than a physical change. It boosts the self-esteem of women who were raised to be beautiful, even if that idea of beauty -which follows a European standard – fails to match the features of most of our countries’ population. It only takes a quick look at the most popular Hispanic TV networks or the famous Mexican telenovelas to see this.
From an early age, girls seem to covet having a full behind, voluptuous hips and stroke-inducing breasts, disregarding the effort required or even considering the risk of ending up being part of the terrifying statistics.
It is an emotional and physical balance. It is an mental attitude. It takes strongly believing that you accept yourself and love yourself exactly the way you are, and no letting advertising affect you and make no pursue and artificial idea of perfection.
We Latinas are more than our beauty. We are warriors who have fought for generation for the right to pursue our dreams in our countries of origin and in this new nation that opened its doors to us. And, of course, we also have curves.
(Originally published in the November 2015 Issue of Latin Trends magazine)