Mannequins Shape Body Image in Venezuela

Media from the offices of Broadway

Mannequins Shape Body Image in Venezuela

Women across the U.S. have expressed frustration about the unrealistic body expectations that mannequins display. The current trend is for mannequins to have more natural figures that resemble everyday men and women. That’s not the case in South America.

Plastic surgery in Venezuela

In Venezuela, women have also noticed that their bodies don’t look like the clothing mannequins that display fashion trends. Venezuelans are renewed worldwide for their beauty, which has lead to the popularity of cosmetic procedures. Many believe that the Venezuelan fascination with plastic surgery began with their success in the Miss Universe pageant. Men and women are enhancing their bodies, changing the new standard body shape in that culture. Women are seeking cosmetic procedures to enlarge their breasts, shrink their waists, boost their booties and give themselves an ideal figure.

mannequins

Enhanced mannequins

Eliezer Álvarez wanted his mannequins to reflect the latest body trends, just like the clothes they wear. In Venezuela, nose jobs, tummy tucks, breast augmentations, butt implants and other plastic surgery procedures have become increasingly popular. Álvarez’s mannequins are designed to reflect that. These mannequins have larger busts, tiny waists and shapely butts, a true reflection of what Venezuelan women want to look like. Store owners and customers complained that the mannequins imported from the U.S. and Europe were too skinny. The mannequins made by Álvarez have a physique that more closely resembles women in Venezuela.

Clothing sales grew with the increased proportions of the mannequins. Stores across the country invested in these new figures to model their clothing. High-end brands, low-end brands and all the clothing brands in between are being displayed on these augmented mannequins.

Mannequins reflect the women, women reflect the mannequins

The new, shapely mannequins were meant to reflect reality but they’re also working to carve a new beauty standard for women in Venezuela. It works both ways. The mannequins are built to resemble the women but the women see the mannequins and want their bodies to look like that. Women see these figures and want their bodies to match the enhanced physique, even if it’s an artificial one. This desire motivates some women to pursue plastic surgery solutions to their body insecurities.

Women who undergo plastic surgery tend to receive an elevated social status in Venezuela. It’s a common practice among the wealthy but the women living in poverty have embraced cosmetic enhancements too. In response to this, people who can’t afford a certified plastic surgeon have attempted to get their dream bodies with back-alley procedures and unlicensed clinics. These risky cosmetic surgeries can have disastrous results.

Álvarez’s mannequins have been the subject of controversy since they became international news in 2013. Some women celebrate the plastic figurines while others protest the enhanced physiques. Whether you’re a supporter or not, these mannequins leave the question of whether real life women shape the fashion industry or whether the fashion industry sets the standard for women in real life.

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