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Photographer's Series "Beauties" Documents Plastic Surgery Obsessed Youths of Colombia

Manuela Henao is a London-based photographer whose latest project entitled "Beauties" documents the dismaying state of feminine beauty standards in Medellin, Colombia. It is typical for very young women to begin saving up for the multiple plastic surgeries they plan to have, starting in their teens and twenties. Risky procedures such as liposuction and injections are de rigueur for the young females of this culture, which seems to have far surpassed America's sometimes oppressive beauty standards.

Henao's subjects include Estefania, 18, who opted for liposuction at 15 and breast implants at 18, and Alejandra Remirez, 23, who models and sells weight loss pills. Remirez began saving for breast implants, nose surgery and liposuction when she was 18. 

See all of Henao's thought provoking series at her website. 

Via Design Taxi | Images: Manuela Henao

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I agree with your assessment for the most part. We have a few images that reinforce the tender age of the subjects and the rest are blatantly sexual, with the clothing (or lack of it) definitely designed to draw a sexualized, objectifying gaze.

I think the photographer is trying to provoke a reaction of questioning the series, discomfort or even anger. After all, no female, whether she's fifteen or fifty has breast enhancement that isn't part of reconstruction without thinking about the end result of her being more sexually attractive and noticed. Isn't that what these young girls are hoping to do after surgery, be more attractive (sexually and in general) to those who encounter them? Yet instead of putting on an age-appropriate sundress and trying for a better education, they feel that they should (or the culture dictates that they should) do this instead.

How else is an artist supposed to get that across without pushing that boundary? I see it like the photo essays we've seen here of child beauty contestants who are painted up and put in swimsuits and little heels. It's designed to trigger outrage.
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