- Title: VENEZUELA: Venezuelans borrow for plastic surgery in hard times.
- Date: 27th November 2009
- Summary: VARIOUS OF DOCTOR PETER ROMER PERFORMING BREAST SURGERY GENERAL VIEW OF BREAST SURGERY
- Embargoed: 12th December 2009 12:00
- Topics: Health,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA5CRUUR4LOET1Y0YC99I1E607Q
- Story Text: Venezuelan's plastic surgery industry booms despite a recession.
Unfazed by a recession and rampant inflation, image-conscious Venezuelans show no signs of cutting back on the facelifts, liposuction, and breast augmentation that have become de rigueur beauty treatments.
Venezuela's inflation is the highest in Latin America, up more than 20 percent in the first 10 months of this year and the South American nation is in recession after a five year boom.
Hard times may even encourage cosmetic procedures as people look for ways to lift their spirits, with many dipping into savings or taking on debt to get operations, surgeons say.
"At least here, in our country, image is very important, to be well, to see yourself as pretty, to feel pretty. The competition of female beauty is very strong so it's an investment that people make and they look for money everywhere," said Peter Romer, a plastic surgeon in Caracas.
Despite the hefty price tag, the choice to get cosmetic surgery for some is considered a reward for hard work.
Mother of two, Graciela Diaz, told Reuters she believes in rewarding herself.
"I work during the day, I work nights, I do extra things to make money to maintain my family, to take care of my two children, to have luxuries and obviously, a part from that, I do think of beauty as a gift for myself," she said.
Competition among women, by far the biggest consumers of plastic surgery in Venezuela, to look their best is fierce, and social pressure to get work done is high.
Alvaro Rincon, a social psychologist, said the pressure to look good was more intense than ever.
"This surgery is for any Venezuelan woman, regardless of their social class because for them, it is now a requirement because for them this has a very important symbol which is to feel acceptance within that social group or that society which for them has significance," Rincon said.
In this image-conscious country, famous for beauty queens who win record numbers of international pageant titles, the idea of getting cosmetic surgery is instilled at a young age.
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