This is crazy!!! WTF for real!
The BCC aired a documentary titled Extreme Beauty Queens: Secrets of South America, the things revealed in it are unbelievably disturbing and scary. Venezuela has long been famous for being one of the capitals of plastic surgery. They have some of the most beautiful people in the world, add many of them have been modified so in a way it is not surprising that the young women vying for the coveted Miss Venezuela crown wouldn’t hesitate to go under the knife to increase their chances of winning. Where it becomes scary is when they are encouraged to do so by the country’s “King of Beauty”, 67 year-old Osmel Sousa who oversees the pageant.
Sousa has a very discerning eye and does not hold his tongue when telling contestants to get surgery, fix their hair, and even have their front teeth filed down . Speaking of tongues, there was one contestant who has plastic sewn onto her tongue to make it harder to eat so that she could lose weight…
18 year-old contestant, Maya Nera, has revealed that not only did she get a boob job AND a nose job to try and win the crown, but she has also has a piece of plastic SEWN to her tongue to make it harder to eat food. Here is an excerpt from the documentary (at 2:38 Maya talks about all of her procedures and at 3:25 she reveals her slim figure is due to mesh sewn onto her tongue)
I find that this story, and the Biggest Loser scandal involving winner Rachel Frederickson losing 60% of her body weight and returning to the finale grossly underweight have a few troublesome things in common. The main thing is the actual competition aspect- one based on beauty, the other based on weight loss which in our society equals beauty. When we create competition out of genetics, there are no winners. There is a distinct difference between competitions based on talent or skill, take sports: basketball, golf, tennis etc. or art: Vocal and instrumental, dance, fine art, writing, drama, where the latter are more subjective and less clear cut then a score board declaring the victor, there is a criteria that is based on training and skill. Where genetics do come into play in sports and art competitions, the playing field can always be leveled by hard work, determination, and a work ethic that lead to mastery and superiority. Some might challenge that plastic surgery or extreme dieting are par for the course in a dedicated beauty contestant’s “training”, no different from a ballet dancer losing weight, or Michael Phelps eating a high calorie diet required to fuel his body for his vigorous workouts. The difference might be found in what the subject of the competition creates or contributes to society. Team sports and the training creates an ability for participants to learn how to work as a team and yet perform as an individual, it teaches players to support one another while striving for a common goal. It also fosters mental and physical strength fortitude, determination, and perseverance. Most importantly not only only how to win (graciously) and how to lose (graciously). Sports and Arts both build self esteem and self confidence by making participants feel capable, when they progress, and advance. With each marker pass they see their growth, strength and their development. These are character building qualities that run more than skin deep and last a lifetime. When a person exhibits a skill, or talent their looks fall to the wayside and their true value of their person is acknowledged.
I am sure that participants of beauty pageants would submit that their industry does the same thing, however when the starting criteria based on beauty, that superficiality creates exclusion and a sense of physical inferiority, after all they are not called intelligence pageants. That is not to say that the contestants are not smart. When the desire to win moves in to the realm of physical augmentation or extreme dieting it works against the empowerment of women. When young women are being told that they are not enough, when they are made to feel inadequate in their gender this is becomes detrimental to the women that it is supposed to glorify and promote.
In regard to the Biggest Loser and show of that nature I find it a gross contradiction that while promoting health and fitness, they create almost a hostile environment for contestants (that obviously have some deep seated issues) to lose weight in. The training moves easily from encouraging to debasing and shaming.
Jezebel.com writer Golda Poretsky, wrote on the subject and I thought that what she pointed out was right on target:
Here is what The Biggest Loser is NOT about:
Here is what The Biggest Loser IS about:
- Shaming fat people.
- Promoting diet products.
- Promoting other merchandise tie-ins.
- Manipulating viewers into thinking that their show is “saving lives.”
- Ruining the physical and mental health of contestants season after season.
I would say that were beauty is a commodity it is not a skill. Beauty is a Noun not a Verb, is is not something you DO…
She is calling for the show to be canceled. Read her article here and you be the judge.
Personally I think that we really need to take a look at where we are going with this. Obviously the world of pageants has changed with the prevalence of plastic surgery, and injectables. It completely changed the game, raising the stakes and making the physical requirements more extreme. Some one has to say enough, someone has to set a boundary. Young women should not have to self mutilate, even under the guise of upgrading, to gain an opportunity in life….
What are your thoughts?