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Video: Gender and Sexuality

"Miss": Women, Culture and Venezuela's Beauty Industry

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This film attempts to do something taboo in Venezuela - analyze from a social and cultural point of view the effects that the country's multi-billion dollar beauty industry has on the lives of ordinary women.

Indeed, the beauty "phenomenon" in Venezuela is so big that just about every young girl at one point in her life dreams of being a "Miss". Beauty pageants begin for girls as young as 5 and are celebrated events in grammar schools, poor shantytowns, wealthy resorts, rural farming communities and just about anywhere people get together. It is not uncommon for proud, wealthy fathers to buy their 15 year-old daughters breast implants as birthday presents and local banks provide loans for plastic surgery with the understanding that women will be more economically successful if they subject themselves to breast augmentation.

Our interest as filmmakers is to understand the driving forces behind this industry and the consequences of this beauty obsession. We intend to do this by following and observing the lives of young girls and women who actively participate in this world in order to understand their motivations, fears, and desires. The commodification of the female form will be compared with the high incidence of domestic violence that also plague the country coupled by the lack of attention and support given to women who have been victims of abuse. The case of Jennifer Viera, the 24 year old wife of boxing star Edwin Valero, will be central in the telling of this other side of Venezuela's legendary beauty.

Your donation will help us get this project off the ground by purchasing necessary equipment, funding important research, and giving us the resources we need. In reality, full funding for this project would require more than $5,000, but we intentionally set our goal low because Kickstarter only provides funding for projects that meet their stated goal. Please considering helping out in order to make this film a reality! To do so click on the link below. Thanks so much for your support!

- Edward Ellis and Flor Salcedo