Women who undergo cosmetic surgery to look better, experience only a temporary boost in self esteem.
Despite people denying it, skin color has always been an influencing factor in hierarchical status in society. A white skin colored person has always been considered superior in society. Owing to this and the need to look beautiful, many women often undergo cosmetic surgery. Especially in Venezuela, black women are constantly undergoing nose surgery to resemble their white counterparts and to get the Caucasian nose structure. Breast implants, face lifts and liposuction are some other cosmetic surgeries among women.
The growing trend urged Lauren Gulbas, an assistant professor of anthropology from Dartmouth College to examine how aesthetic ideals promoted by the cosmetic surgery industry interact with local ideas about race in Caracas.
For the study, she looked into 63 white, black or racially mixed women. Among these, 24 had undergone rhinoplasty and 39 wanted to change their nose through rhinoplasty. One thing common among all the women participants was that they all wanted a "well-formed nose," which was sharp, slender and associated with being white. However, the black and racially mixed participants said they wanted to undergo rhinoplasty to increase their self-esteem by looking whiter. The term white here used in terms of facial structure associated with the Caucasian race.
"Rhinoplasty is offered by physicians and interpreted by patients as a resolution to body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem," Gulbas writes in a press statement. "Patients' efforts to alter the nose reveal attempts to change not only how the body looks, but how it is lived. As a result, cosmetic surgery only acts as a stop-gap measure to heighten one's self-esteem and body image."
Racial discrimination in Venezuela is predominately based on skin color. Though they claim to have a flexible social system made possible through mestizaje, or racial mixing, which promises equality among all skin colors, the Venezuelan nation thinks of light skin people as more superior.