Laura McNally talks about her trip to Vietnam and how body image issues exist everywhere.
During my life in Vietnam, I returned to visit Australia a few times. On my visits to Australia, women in Vietnam would ask me to purchase beauty products for them. They wanted Australian (or preferably American) cellulite removing creams, wrinkle reduction creams and so on. They knew the famous brands, and specifically they often picked products with ‘sexy’ or ‘beauty’ in the name. These creams were in the price-range of $50 – $100, normal prices for Australian products. The women who wanted these creams earned typical Vietnamese salaries of around $120 per month, thats $30 per week. This is a pretty average salary. These women were not wealthy heiresses; they were average income earners with meagre living standards. To give an indication of living costs, petrol is a similar price in Vietnam and Australia, rent is not as cheap as you’d think, $30 does not go far. But, these women were willing to give up nearly a month of income just to experience the luxury of a Western beauty product. These women are literally forgoing necessities like decent food, just to have a taste of Western ‘beauty’. When women overseas are living in poverty and now have the added pressure of being ‘sexy’ while they survive – this is a serious justice issue. And before you jump to any conclusions, these women were not divas, they were average mums and women.