Get Yer Cheap Nose Jobs: On Sale Now in Bolivia

by Intern Brittany J.

Juan Carlos Calamar hated his nose. He was made fun of day in and day out; it was seriously affecting his self-confidence. But now, Calomar has gotten an operation, a new nose at somewhat of a discount.

The BBC has posted this story about how some Bolivian plastic surgery businesses are marketing toward people of indigenous origin, some using the words “nose deformities.” Apparently there are even ads on the radio offering half-price nose jobs. The point is to make surgery available to those who wouldn’t normally have considered it because it was too expensive. Richard Herrera, the surgeon responsible for the campaign says that they have “special discounts to poor people, and in every campaign we even operate on some patients for free.” While rhinoplasties such as Juan Carlos’s can normally run somewhere around 2,000 American dollars in countries such as Brazil and Venezuela, he paid a measly equivalent of $380. (This may still not seem all that measly in a country where the average
income is about $1,500.)

This new idea isn’t necessarily readily accepted by all. The country currently has its first indigenous president, Evo Morales, who wholly advocates pride. Bolivia’s former Minister of Culture Pablo Groux has spoken out against the phenomenon, saying that cosmetic surgery stems from the “global and Western idea of beauty that is now ruling the world.”

Whenever it comes to cosmetic surgery, I always wish that people would just be more comfortable with themselves, regardless of others’ opinions, but sometimes maybe that’s just impossible for them. Maybe sometimes it’s just too harsh of a situation. Juan Carlos says that he is happier and more confident now, that he feels he can accomplish all his goals. Can he? Is it because he feels different? Or because his nose is different? He made his own choice and he is clearly happy with it so I want to support him, but it still saddens me that so many people want to change the way they are, and also that so many people just could accept him for who he was. Maybe it saddens me more that he couldn’t and that, regardless of the actions of everyone else around him, he felt they couldn’t accept him and it hurt him more and more. So for him, I say bravo, if he feels better.

But to companies marketing the surgeries to people they say have “nose deformities”…ick. I mean, if they actually have real deformities, health issues, then okay, but honestly, just because people look different doesn’t necessarily mean they are deformed. I don’t like the idea of targeting those with lower incomes, and this can certainly be seen as that…as opposed to “making it more readily available” to them. Hm. Clearly I’m not in Bolivia and I don’t necessarily know the whole story and the whole culture, but, as always, these are just my brief thoughts on the topic based on what I know, have experienced and witnessed.

What do you think?

[before and after image and info: BBC]

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