We live in a society governed by sick beauty standards, wherein everything from lips and noses to muscles and curves are alternately thinned or plumped, squeezed or stretched, injected with Botox or fillers in search of some unattainable ideal. The punishing quest for the “perfect” hump has gotten so bad that this month alone, more than 40 camels were disqualified from a Saudi beauty pageant because they had received cosmetic alterations in an effort to appear more attractive before the competition’s jurors.
This is the biggest crackdown yet for the contest, which is part of Saudi Arabia’s annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival. Competing for $66 million in prize money, breeders submit their camels and all their physical attributes — head shape, necks, humps, dress, posture — for judgment. Some apparently go to extreme measures. Per the Associated Press:
This year, authorities discovered dozens of breeders had stretched out the lips and noses of camels, used hormones to boost the beasts’ muscles, injected camels’ heads and lips with Botox to make them bigger, inflated body parts with rubber bands and used fillers to relax their faces.
This kind of cosmetic enhancement is not allowed; camels who are discovered to have had work done have also been disqualified in the past. This year, pageant officials have been enforcing this rule using “specialized and advanced” technology to detect artificial beautification, according to the AP.
It is unclear how the 40-some camels reacted to being cut from the pageant. Did they grunt and moan, plumped lips flapping while tears rolled down their Botoxed cheeks? Did they break down in anger and despair, cursing the unrealistic beauty standards that warped not only their bodies, but also their sense of self? Probably not, because they are camels. But I hope wherever they are, they know that their humps and their lumps are lovely just the way they are.