By Rocio Arango Giraldo
COLOMBIA: The low necklines, meant to exhibit voluptuous breasts enhanced by silicone implants courtesy of the good work of plastic surgeons, are a regular scene of MedellÃn nightlife.
MedellÃn is now named “Silicone Valley.” It has nothing to do with software.
While it is true that the “paisas” women are beautiful, the cost of this manufactured beauty is too great on a large percentage of young women and girls who suffer through food disorders like anorexia and bulimia, just to keep their beauty.
Ever before history noted the divisions between “the beautiful” and “the pretty,” it has never been as complicated as it is now where image and looks are so important in our personal relationships.
Sadly, women are in the middle of this new direction in the Female Revoluion.
We are caught in a cult worshipping the gods of thinness. It is another strategy to conquer our human dignity and continue the alienation of women from obtaining our personal independence.
In addition to this pressure are added economic factors that have given birth to the “Slim Project.”
The Slim Project is a strategy to enrich the leaders of such industries as entertainment, fashion, clothing and other products that enhance the look of move star thinness to the average man and woman.
Being thin is a topic that preoccupies the minds of people, but especially women, who are obligated to sacrifice their objectivity to achieve an image that will “secure their acceptance and success” in life.
To attach such importance to the appearance of women in MedellÃn, as well as, to women in every other major city of the world is a triumph for the machismo mentality.
It is not that worrying about one’s look is bad, it’s that it is bad to forget to cultivate the other attributes that make up what it means to be a woman and a person.
I think that the situation in MedellÃn, Cali and other Colombian towns where these problems also occur is left over from the drugs and narcotraffic culture that preached ostentatiousness and unabashed luxury.
As good fortune would have it in MedellÃn, the Mayor’s wife, Lucrecia Ramirez, created a campaign to combat anorexia and bulimia and to present them as public health issues.
In a short time, she has been a leader in changing the culture and in teaching citizens that women have the right to be individuals.
In different places around the city, there are posters that say: “Women have the right to rest,” to be different, to be listened to, etc.
An important result of this culture change in MedellÃn is the celebration of events like “Women with Talent.”
In this event, women who are leaders in the community, science field, business arena and the arts are recognized for their talents and contributions to society rather than for being just beautiful and awarded a prize in tribute to belonging to “The Cult of the Gods of Thinness.”
The Administration for the state of Antioquia, (of which MedellÃn is the capital), adopted the Women with Talent campaign and created 125 public parks in other cities and towns of the state to highlight an alternative definition of beauty.
The Administration also helped create a t-shirt industry branding it “Modas Antioquia” where a woman’s group makes the t-shirts decorated with culturally relevant symbols and figures of Antioquia to sell to benefit the parks program.
I want to highlight the importance of the project’s mission of changing the culture in respect to women. Yet, the most important thing is our own perception of how we see ourselves.
It is sad to realize that our place in society is directly proportional to the size of our clothes — when we are so much more than that.
Learn more about RocÃo:
RocÃo Arango Giraldo is 21-years-old and lives in MedellÃn Colombia. She studied Political Science at the University of Colombia, as well as, Social Communication, Public Management, and Strategy and Public Knowledge at the Mexico City campus of the Technology Institute of Monterrey.
RocÃo is a member of the Conservative
I am member of the Colombian Conservative Party (Partido Conservador Colombiano) where she works in political marketing, social and policy investigation and foreign affairs.
She also works as a young democratic participant with the Democratic Christian Organization of America and has written for such prestigious Colombian publications as El Colombiano, El Tiempo and others.
But something she is most proud of is her advocacy for people with disabilities.
I fight for the rights of disabled persons like me.