More Impossible Beauty Standards

Today on Twitter, Bitch Magazine asked the following question:

What do you think about the surgery many Asian women get to make their eyes appear rounder? Hmm... great question!

I recently blogged about impossible beauty standards, but since there are so many, I'm going to choose my favorite, being thin, to illustrate my point.

On a daily basis, we are bombarded with images of skinny women. We are exposed to marketing every day that tells us in order to be beautiful, we must be thin. However, Mother Nature has different plans for us. As we grow older, our metabolism slows down until it grinds to a near halt at menopause. In addition, as we get older, we become less active. Slower metabolism, less muscle mass and less activity...This is a no brainer. We're going to gain weight as we age, and this is true for almost everyone. There is one upside to getting older, which big business is well aware of: as we age our disposable income also increases.

Wow! Great money making opportunity here. I know! Tell women they're not thin enough...
by repeatedly bombarding them with images of thinness and then sell them something that doesn't work, so they keep buying more. Isn't this called the "diet industry?" Or you could have a medical professional drain the fat out of you or staple your stomach in exchange for a big wad of cash...

Enter Asian women who want to make their eyes rounder. Wow, sounds like another impossible beauty standard cooked up to make women spend a small fortune on being more "beautiful." I mean they are your eyes, not much you can do about them. Right? Wrong. Start with a popular actress who appears to have had this surgery done and then overexpose her. Presto, an iconic round-eyed Asian beauty. Once a few more highly visible women get it done, you have a trend. And plastic surgeons can walk outside with their pockets open, as it rains down money.

There is also the more disturbing aspect of elective surgery for rounder eyes. It reeks of ethnic self-loathing, like some women are ashamed of their Asian eyes. It's a little bit like someone with dark skin using skin lightener, except this is a lot more costly, and once it's done, it's done. Or maybe, plastic surgeons can charge another small fortune to have the operation reversed.

But should we really be surprised by this trend? China, once the world's largest untapped market, is now open for business. There are potentially billions of dollars to be made by telling women that there is something wrong with them. Not outright of course, but subliminally, by hiring only models who have surgically altered round eyes to sell everything from cars to toothpaste.

That is how thinness has been sold to us in North America. Today, even female opera singers are expected to be thin. How did we get here? By being constantly exposed to images of the impossibly thin. These images slowly eat away at our own idea of beauty until one day, we relent and buy into theirs. Big business is banking on it.

For further information on this topic go to:

The following is a video of a beautiful Asian girl gluing...yes, gluing her eyelids back to make her eyes appear rounder. Young women who do not have the money actually glue or tape their eyelids back. I had to see it to believe it.


Anonymous | February 27, 2009 at 4:30 PM

This is a troubling trend -- rounding of Asian eyes. And you're right it fits into the whole mess of American culture expecting women to all look exactly the same -- tall, pencil thin, with big boobs, blonde hair and slim hips.

Finally, at age 42, I have stopped dieting for the first time in my life (since I was 13.) I'm not thin, but I'm not fat. I'm the way I'm going to be.

I worry about my daughter coming of age in this perfection-based culture. That's what spurred me in part to start accepting myself for who I am. How can I expect her to accept herself for who she is, if I'm always talking about losing that last 10 pounds.

Sabrina | February 27, 2009 at 7:01 PM

This concept, to me, is horrible! Why, you may ask, well, as a male, I find Asian women, because of the eyes to be very beautiful and sexy. :) Just being honest with that one. I have always been a fan of Asian beauty.

Thanks for posting, and giving me the opportunity to check it out. I picked this up on Twitter, by the way.

Heather | February 27, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Thanks for writing Gina. I'm a big fan of your section on Save the Media! Thanks for the Twitter tips and commenting!

Heather | February 27, 2009 at 8:34 PM

This is really sad, and apparently, from what I have been reading, every second magazine page in China is an add for plastic surgery.

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