Brazilian women care more about their appearance than any other women in the world, with half prepared to undergo plastic surgery to keep their looks, a recent study shows. In Brazil, where being called “vain” is often a compliment suggesting self-respect, 86 percent of women said they tried extremely hard to improve their looks compared with an average of 67 percent worldwide, according to the 2003 global women’s survey by cosmetics company Avon. 90 percent of Brazilian women classified beauty products as an essential rather than a luxury, compared with an average of 77 percent worldwide, Avon said, citing its survey of 21,000 women in 24 countries. Avon’s official explanation for Brazilian women’s beauty consciousness was their struggle to enter a job market where they are still well under-represented in many fields. “It’s important to look good, and feel good if you want to confront the male-dominated world,” said Marcia Gonsales, planning and marketing director at Avon Brazil. Looking good in Brazil is a national pastime. Nowhere on Earth is plastic surgery more popular on a per-capita basis than in this nation of 175 million people. Some male Brazilian writers attribute this to a national aesthetic that women should be sexy and sensual. Others point to the nation’s predominantly tropical climate where men and women wear less clothes and are more concerned about making the best of what they have on show.