Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eye Widening

For the past fifty years Blepharoplasty has been the most popular surgery in large Eastern Asian countries, such as China, Korea and Japan. This is a surgery that modifies ones eyelid, the excess tissue and skin are removed or repositioned to make ones eyes look wider and more round. More popular in the women than the men, these people go under the knife to have eyes like caucasians and the western countries.
Though thousands of people have plastic and cosmetic surgery everyday, from liposuctions to rhinoplasties, this surgery is different because of the purpose behind it. Asian eyes are very different than most nationalities and it is that difference that makes them so distinct, unique and beautiful. However, since the first successful surgery in the 19th century, more and more people are getting it done. But, why? Why would somebody want to erase the part of their body that so distinctly describes who they are?
However, it is this distinction that they go under the knife in the first place and it all relates back to history.  Ever since the 17th century Eastern Asia has lagged behind the developing world, by their government, culture and especially their economies. It was only until recently, after WWII, there has been a significant increase in their industry and ways of life. In many countries they were determined to catch up to industrialized nations. Japan for example, before WWI, they were considered unindustrialized, now their economy is the third greatest in the world. China fifteen years ago, was a completely different nation, incomparable to the economies of the United States. And now-a-days, economists are conversing if China's economy can surpass ours. 
This race to become industrialized not only affected their economic behaviors, but also their perception of beauty. As the race continues, our industrialized culture is being embedded within theirs. 100 years ago, when Geishas were still extremely popular, their idea of beauty was pale skin, dark hair and small almond shaped eyes. Now, eyes are seen as the bigger the more beautiful. Western culture has had an incredible impact on unindustrialized nations, over the past decades. Though, only time can tell if this will be considered a good or bad thing. 

2 comments:

  1. I had no idea this was actually a popular surgery... It's interesting because it really contrasts your other posts. Usually you describe customs in other cultures that are considered beautiful despite their stark difference from beauty practices in the US. Here, you've shown how a trait from another culture that was once beautiful is no longer seen as so because of US influence. It's really, really sad. There's no reason wide eyes are more beautiful than Asian eyes.

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  2. I knew of this surgery being popular among Asian-American women in the U.S., but I did not know the popularity was as great in Eastern Asia. It goes to show how much influence the western world, specifically the U.S., has on the world. The standard of beauty we have here has reached other nations. Like Catherine was saying, it's a shame that the white European image has become a standard for many different ethnicities.

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