Friday, 12 December 2014

The Secrets of South America : Extreme Beauty Queens

I was trawling through my ipad on BBC iplayer to download something to watch on the train, and came across The Secrets of South America: Extreme Beauty Queens, and I couldn't not post something about it now I've seen it, it was such an eye-opener!

Billie JD Porter travelled to Venezuela for 6 months to follow the girls in the Miss Venezuela process, meeting the main main behind it all Osmal Sousa, and some of the contestants themselves, and I have to say it was a very interesting watch. I've never really agreed with beauty competitions, I find them quite degrading and it upsets me when I see young girls competing in it. However, this competition takes it to another level. Osmal basically dictates what the individual girl needs to be "perfect" and this could be anything from losing weight to having a nose job, obviously a very life changing decision. I don't think it is wrong to have plastic surgery, its a very personal decision, but the way it was portrayed in this documentary was shocking and upsetting.

A girl, competing from one of the slums (Barrios) was one of the competitors. Billie heads to hers to find out her story, and they have dinner whilst she is there. The most shocking part of the whole documentary for me was this part. The young girl, she was 18, had has some mesh sewn to her tongue so that she could not eat solids as it was too painful. She said it helped her to lose weight quickly. This girl was TINY already, with a 23 inch waist. It was madness!

Having disagreed with most things this girl had done to get to where she was, I was surprised to find myself teary when she was one of the five finalists! As a girl from a barrio, it was such a massive achievement for her to have got so far into the competition. Whilst she didn't win, it was undeniably going to change her life forever, hopefully giving her and her family the money to escape the dangerous place in which they lived, especially after her brother had been shot dead at 18.

The documentary was definitely interesting, and I could see the positives of it, in the fact that the police said that there was less crime on the streets when the programme was on. However, I do think it was upsetting that many young girls only had these "Misses" to aspire towards, and the fact that they basically HAD to have plastic surgery to be in the final was quite upsetting as well.

What do you think of beauty pageants? Do you agree with Osmal's suggestions about the girls having plastic surgery?

2 comments:

  1. I've seen this twice now and it astounds me the lengths that these girls go to and saddens me that this is their way to help their families.

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  2. I know - they really let it take over everything don't they? It saddens me as well, but I guess you'd do whatever you could for your family! xx

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