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Scholarships For Breast Enlargements in Spain?

There are new rigorous obstacles in front of Spain's students with scholarships, but for one journalist that seems reasonable, because female students have been squandering their awards to get boob jobs anyway.

Journalist Paloma Cervilla published an entry on her blog “Pido la Palabra” (“May I Have the word?”) [es] on June 25, 2013, titled  “Becas para Ponerse Tetas” (Scholarships for Boob Jobs)[es], which has made sparks fly among social networkers, who have expressed their indignation in blogs, comments, and countless tweets.

Spain's new system for awarding scholarships, much more restrictive than in previous years due to sharp cuts in funding, is currently being revisited. Minister of Education José Ignacio Wert‘s original proposal required, among other things, that students maintain a grade point average of 6.5 out of 10 [roughly the equivalent of a C average in the U.S] and passing grades for all subjects (85% for technical degree programs). This has placed 30,000 students at risk of expulsion for non-payment [es].

Wert, one of Spain's most controversial government figures, has seen his proposal sharply rejected, not only by students, professors, and rectors of universities, but also by educational advisors within the autonomous communities, many of whom are also members of the governing party, leading Wertz to reconsider some of his original requirements [es].

At the time of this writing, Cervilla's article has been withdrawn and cannot be read on its original site, but several other websites have picked up the text. One of them, eldiario.es, published the deleted content [es] in its section called La Crispación ["Controversy"]. Here is the paragraph that has web users so incensed:

(…) me acordé de algo que un día me comentó una amiga, profesora en un instituto, precisamente sobre el despilfarro y el escaso control que hay sobre el dinero que se concede para las becas. Indignada me decía que conocía alumnas que habían utilizado el dinero de su beca para pagarse operaciones de aumento de pecho, vamos, para ponerse tetas. (…) Estos son algunos casos, pero seguro que habrá cien mil más.

[...]  I remembered something a friend of mine once told me. As a college professor, she was exasperated by the bad management and poor controls exercised over the scholarship money allotted to students. She told me she knew students who had used their scholarships to pay for breast enlargement operations -all right, let's just say it – boobs jobs. [...]  These are just a few cases, but there are probably a hundred thousand others just like them.

Captura de pantalla del blog de Paloma Cervilla, tras eliminarse el polémico artículo.

Screenshot of Paloma Cervilla's blog page after the controversial article was removed. Text reads: “We apologize, the page you requested could not be found or no longer exists.”

In record time, the internet was flooded with protests, like this one from Carlos Villar Menéndez, in his blog Luces de Bohemia [es] (“Bohemian Lights”):

En el colmo del cinismo, esta señora (…) no hace otra cosa que dejar a las claras su desprecio y falta de respeto hacia las estudiantes becadas.

Entiendo que las estudiantes becadas se vean ofendidas por estos comentarios, de estas personas mezquinas e hipócritas, que no hacen sino defender los intereses de sus patrocinadores.

At the height of cynicism, this woman [...] has done nothing more than show her contempt and lack of respect for female students on scholarships.

I understand why scholarship recipients would take offense at comments like these, made by such petty, hypocritical people who are only defending the interests of their employers.

Ignacio Escolar, in his article “Los Fraudes Imaginarios No Justifican los Recortes de Verdad” [es] (“Imaginary Abuses Don't Justify Real Cuts”) was also highly critical:

Quienes difunden semejantes infundios pretenden convertir la leyenda urbana en realidad, creen que el plural de “anécdota” es “dato” y confunden el “me lo comentó una amiga” con fuentes de toda solvencia. Sin embargo, el verdadero problema no es que propaguen estas mentiras sin contrastar; por desgracia, esto ya es algo habitual. La gran trampa consiste en utilizar estos casos fraudulentos –los imaginarios y los de verdad– como argumento para desmontar el Estado del bienestar.

People who spread these types of rumors are trying to turn urban legends into reality; they believe that “anecdotes” equal “statistics,” and they confuse “a friend told me so” with a completely reliable source. But the real problem isn't that they propagate such unsubstantiated lies; unfortunately, that has become rather commonplace. The big mistake here is that fraudulent cases -both the imaginary and the real ones- are being used as an argument for dismantling the welfare state.

Many tweeters, like Beatriz del Hoyo, Drogoteca and Xose Morais ridiculed Cervilla for her lack of journalistic rigor (links to the deleted article have been removed):

@BeatrizdelHoyo: Periodismo de ‘himbestigazion': “Becas para ponerse tetas”

@BeatrizdelHoyo [es]: “Scholarships for Boob Jobs”. Now that's what I call investigative journalism!

@Drogoteca: Periodismo calidad @PalomaCervilla: de “comprar TVs de plasma con el subsidio del paro” a “ponerse tetas con las becas de estudios”. Yuju!!

@Drogoteca [es]: Quality reporting @PalomaCervilla: from “buying plasma TVs with unemployment benefits” to “paying for boob jobs with student scholarships.” Woo-hoo!

@XoseMorais: En ABC, “Becas para ponerse tetas”. Basado en el riguroso principio de ‘me comentó una amiga'. Literalmente.

@XoseMorais [es]: Read it now in ABC: “Scholarships for Boob Jobs,” based on the rigorous principle of “a friend told me so.” Literally.

Others, like Rubén and Virginia Azagra, took personal jabs at the reporter

Imagen tuiteada por @Eva_Casanova_

Photo tweeted by @Eva_Casanova_. [Text on student's hand reads: "6.3. Fail."]

@VdeRuben: Infame artículo “Becas para ponerse tetas”  la usó para ponerse cerebro, el resultado salta a la vista

@VdeRuben [es]: “Scholarships for Boob Jobs” -what an outrageous article! @PalomaCervilla must have used her scholarship money for a “brain job,” and the results are obvious.

@Papapagina: @palomacervilla fue a ponerse tetas y le metieron la silicona en el córtex frontal

@Papapagina [es]: @palomacervilla went in to have her own breasts done, but they accidentally injected the silicone into her frontal cortex.

BarbijaputaPedro Cervantes and ferpectamente tied this issue in with other current news:

@Barbijaputa: No sé por qué se empeñan en reflotar un país lleno de filoetarras que se beben el PER, se gastan las ayudas en plasmas y las becas en tetas.

@Barbijaputa [es]: I don't know why anyone would insist on bailing out a country like ours, full of ETA lovers who drink away their farm subsidies, waste their unemployment checks on plasma TVs, and spend their scholarships on boob jobs.

@CervantesrPedro: Alumnas que utilizan las becas para ponerse tetas y alumnos que guardan ese dinero en Suiza.

@CervantesrPedro [es]: So there are women who use their scholarships for boob jobs and men who tuck their money away in Switzerland.

@ferpectamente: No negará Dña. @PalomaCervilla que las tetas que se han puesto todas esas chicas con las becas no van a abrirles un futuro en Eurovegas.

@ferpectamente [es]: @PalomaCervilla can't deny that all those girls with enhanced breasts, bought and paid for with their scholarships, might have careers waiting for them in Eurovegas.

But the majority laughed openly at the entire affair, as reflected in the following tweets (contributed, in order, by Celia Zaragoza, Blanco Humano, Little Black Owl, Carlos F. Gamabazo and Jorge Mendoza):

@_CeliaZ: ¿Lo de las becas sólo vale para ponerse tetas o también las habéis malgastado vosotros comprando Jes Extenders a lo loco?

@_CeliaZ [es]: Do these scholarships only apply to breast implants for the women, or have you men been splurging on Jes Extenders as well?

@blancohumano: Debo confesar que yo sí que me gasté el dinero de mis becas en ponerme tetas. Luego me las quité porque me veía raro con seis tetas, claro.

@blancohumano [es]: I have to confess that I did spend my scholarship money on new breasts. Later I had them removed because, as you can imagine, I looked silly with six breasts.

@LittleBlackOwl1: @PalomaCervilla Mi vecina se ha puesto tetas y labios de silicona, y de vez en cuando monta fiestas en su casa. Eso, ¿cuántas becas son?

@LittleBlackOwl1 [es]: @PalomaCervilla My neighbor had silicone added to her breasts and lips, and once in a while she throws house parties. How many scholarships did all of that add up to?

«Wert enseña las becas», imagen tuiteada por Dolors Boatella.

“Wert showing off his scholarships.” Photo tweeted by Dolors Boatella.

J. @jcfergam71: @Barbijaputa yo me gasté las becas de mis hijos en ponerme un par de tetas; como delante no quedaban bien, me las puse a la espalda.

J. @jcfergam71 [es]: @Barbijaputa I spent my children's scholarship money to have a pair of breasts added. Since there really wasn't any room in front, I had them put on in back.

@guladejorge: Yo digo que las tetas de silicona que se puso una chica con el dinero de las becas son de uso público

@guladejorge [es]: I'd say that any silicon breasts paid for with scholarship money should be for public use.

One final note: as Lara Cillan writes in her blog “Becas, tetas, pastores, ovejas y otras cosas oportunamente mezcladas” [Scholarships, Breasts, Shepherds, Sheep, and Other Things Well-Mixed; es], scholarships are essential in a developed society, and should be seen as an investment, in spite of any unforseeable anomalies:

Sí, hay becas que se dan a familias que no las necesitan, sí, hay becas que son gastadas indebidamente y sí, hay becarios que no terminan sus estudios, pero son una minoría insignificante respecto de los miles de jóvenes que, gracias a una beca, se han labrado un futuro y cuyo trabajo revierte positivamente en la sociedad cuando no tienen que salir al extranjero para poder trabajar.

Yes, there are scholarships offered to some families who don't need them;  yes, there are scholarships that are improperly spent;  and yes, there are scholarship recipients who never finish their studies, but these are an insignificant minority compared to the thousands of young people who, thanks to a scholarship, have built a future for themselves, and whose work will have a positive effect on our society, if they don't have to move overseas to find employment.

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