Argentinian beauty hides an unhealthy secret
Argentina is often listed as having some of the most beautiful people in the world. The huge mix of ethnicities that formed the country has led to a famously attractive people. But there is also a darker side to this.
One in 10 Argentinians have an eating disorder. This gives them the second highest rate of anorexia in the world. The pressure to stay young and beautiful also leads to high rates of plastic surgery. The media plays an important role of setting a very high beauty standard for women, and Argentinian cities can be a very competitive place to live in terms of fashion and looks.
Argentina has a several Welsh speaking towns
In the Patagonian region of southern Argentina, you can find several rather surprising towns. The Y Wladfa region is populated by people descended from Welsh colonists who arrived in the 1800s. It is home to 2000-5000 Welsh speakers, living 12,000 km from Wales. Welsh road signs and place names can be found across this area of Patagonia. There are even several bilingual Spanish and Welsh schools. The dialect of Welsh spoken there is unique, but still easily understood by people from Wales. They are proud of their Welsh heritage, and many towns still hold “Eisteddfod”, a Welsh festival of music, poetry, and literature.
You can learn more about Welsh Argentina here.
There is a sunken town in Argentina, with a population of 1
Villa Epecuen was once a busy resort town on the shores of the peaceful lake Epecuen. The town was a destination for rich Argentinians wanting to get away from the cities, and bathe in the healing salt waters of the lake. But in 1985, the bursting of a dam caused the waters to rise 10 meters, submerging the entire town within an hour. It was totally abandoned for 24 years.
In 2009, however, the levels of the lake dropped enough to expose some of the buildings, and one 79 year old man decided it was time to return to his home. Pablo Novak (and his dog) are the only residents of the town. His family have been brick-makers since the founding on the town, and many of the bricks in the rubble were made by his hands. As far as I can gather, he is still alive at 87, living a hermit’s life in the ruins of his old home.
You can watch a short video about him here.
Argentina may have the oldest continuous protest on Earth
The “Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo” have been protesting in front of the presidential palace in Buenos Aries every week since March 1977. They are a group of Argentinian mothers whose children were abducted by the military dictatorship between 1975 and 1983. Their aim is to try and find out what happened to their children, and raise awareness about the human rights violations of this time.
The period between 1975 and 1983 is called the “Dirty War”. It involved the Argentinian military, working under the fascist government, trying to eradicate socialism in Argentina. Many people were detained, killed, or “disappeared” by the army for being associated with socialism. Around 30,000 people disappeared before the dictatorship ended. There are also thought to be around 500 children who were born in captivity, and given to families with friends in the military. Using genetic testing, 31 of these children have been reunited with their families.
You can read more about the protest here
They Lead the world in…
As well as a national desire for physical perfection, Argentinians are also very focused on mental perfection.
There are more therapists in Argentina than any country in the world, 196 per 100,000 people (7 times higher than the USA). Therapy is an accepted part of Argentinian culture, unlike many countries in which it is virtually taboo. It is common for many Argentinians to see a therapist 2 or 3 times a week. Argentinians are especially fond of psychoanalysis, the branch of therapy focused on understanding subconscious thoughts and desires. While most Argentinians do not see themselves as ‘mentally ill’, they recognise that everyone has parts of their subconscious that are better dealt with than repressed.