WINDHOEK – The obsession to look good is not uncommon among Namibian women who go an extra mile to enhance their beauty.
While it is common to see a woman with facial make-up, artificial nails and a fancy Brazilian hairdo, it is almost uncommon to see black women wearing artificial buttocks or breasts as Africans are generally perceived as having amply proportioned backsides.
But, like any other fashion trend, artificial buttocks and breasts are slowly creeping into the Namibian beauty market.
New Era this week visited shops that stock artificial breasts and buttocks at the infamous China Town in the northern industrial area.
Huan Xiu Zheng, a shop owner who stocks artificial breasts and buttocks for women at China Town explained that the products are mainly designed for women who have flat buttocks as well as small or sagging breasts.
“In China many women wear these because they are flat behind (buttocks). It’s very nice; you can wear it with a nice dress,” Zheng explains while demonstrating how the artificial buttocks are worn. The artificial buttocks that she sells are designed in the form of a female (spongy cotton and silk material) underwear and the artificial breasts made out of silicone breast resemble a female bra.
“This is good for women with sagging breasts. If a woman wears it for a long period of time, the breasts become firm,” she explained.
The artificial buttocks sell for N$130 while the artificial breasts sell for N$79 at Zheng’s shop. “This one, many wedding people buy. And the bra also many people buy (sic),” she says, adding that the products are surely gaining popularity among women here.
Zheng explained that people who are having weddings buy the products to enhance their features on their big day.
In addition, Zheng said many Angolan nationals also buy the artificial bras and buttocks in bulk mainly for resale.
“Namibians also buy in bulk to go and sell. People buy nice,” Zheng says.
Her shop assistant, Olivia Elifas, adds not many Namibians are aware of the products.
“Once many people get to know that there are such products on the market more people will use these products,” Elifas adds. The products come in different shapes, sizes and colours, the petite Zheng adds. “Like you, I think the large artificial buttocks will look very nice on you,” she tells this reporter with a grin on her face.
Claudia Moono, a bio-natural products enthusiast and owner of a beauty shop and a firm believer that women should look good, stresses that it is important for a woman to look and feel beautiful.
If it means enhancing her natural features with artificial beauty products to feel and look good, the woman should go for it, notes Moono.
“When you look back to the olden times, women were viewed as idols, as a result, they had to look good. Biblically, it’s correct for a woman to look pleasing in the eyes of men,” the neatly dressed Moono says.
A woman who chooses to do something about her flaws is a go-getter as opposed to one who does not do anything about it, Moono opines.
“There are many beautiful women in the world who go out and do plastic surgery. I’m not judging them, it is just that they want to enhance their flaws,” says Moono.
She adds that society labels women with flat bellies as beautiful.
“Society doesn’t seem to accept women with big bellies. They are not viewed as attractive,” she notes, motivating cosmetics and slimming products for women.
In addition, she sells breast enhancement and firming creams.
“The cream refills the breast to its natural size,” she explains.
She says it is mostly for women who once were lactating.
“It works. It’s tried and tested; it’s not like plastic surgery where the breast are expanded. The cream has a tightening agent that lifts up sagging breasts,” she says with a convincing smile.
Meanwhile, 42-year-old Tulonga Kadila says she prefers to remain natural as opposed to wearing artificial breasts or buttocks.
“I don’t see any interest in that,” Kadila adds.
She is quick to point out that women who do this ‘probably’ suffer from low self-esteem, explaining that people would be deceived into thinking that the person has well-shaped body features when in reality it is fake.
“What if you are undressing and the person, especially the boyfriend, finds out that what the woman displayed all along was fake? It’s not the original you. I don’t support that. Women must be proud with what they have,” Kadila advises other women.
A 28-year-old man, who declined to be named, says: “I love large buttocks whether it’s artificial or real as long as it looks good.”
He adds that there should not be a scar on the woman’s body depicting that she has undergone some kind of body transformation.
“If it’s the buttocks that women just wear and take off then it’s not good because you will feel deceived once she takes it off,” lamented the young man.
Another young man, Sibusiso Mtambo adds, “I believe that it is the best feeling in the world to be attracted to a person who is true to themselves and to you.”
Psychologist, Jurgen Hoffman says the motive for using artificial beauty enhancement products should be assessed before judging those who use them.
“One would not change anything if they are happy with who they are,” Hoffman commented.
He says how a person views themselves might affect how they think others see them.
He adds that in some instances people might be pressurised by their partners to look a certain way and for fear of losing the relationship, the woman will comply not necessarily because she has an unhealthy self-image.