Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

#1

A shockingly sad commentary on life in Asia. I wonder if it will end up catching on here in Taiwan to the extent as it has in Korea and for many Chinese looking to improve their “ugly asian” faces. Cutting the muscle under the tongue in order to have better English pronunciation? :loco:

A tragedy, I say! :cry:

[quote=“CNN”]

Lee Min kyong stretches on the ballet bar in the dance studio. The 12-year old is a little awkward and nervous in front of strangers, until the music begins.

Min-kyong moves to the classical tune, springing easily onto her toes, the very picture of childhood grace and poise. But when the music stops, she falls back into an awkward stance.

She lacks confidence, explains Min-kyong’s mother, a problem she hopes will be solved when her pre-teen undergoes plastic surgery, to westernize her eyes.

“If I get the surgery, my eyes will look bigger,” explains Min-kyong. Everyone, she says, points out her small eyes. It’s why she doesn’t think she’s a pretty girl. A surgery which cuts a fold into her eyelid to create a double fold will widen her eyes. The effect will also be to give her a slightly more western look.

What does plastic surgery mean to you?

Gallery: Teen’s quest for ‘prettier’ face “I’m excited. I think I’ll look better than I do now,” she says shyly, breaking into a small smile.

Her mother, Jang Hyu-hee, says her daughter didn’t ask for the surgery.

“I’m having her do it,” says Jang, “because I think it’ll help her. This is a society where you have to be pretty to get ahead. She’s my only daughter.”

The definition of pretty, explains their plastic surgeon, is not the standard Asian face, but closer to a Caucasian face. Dr Kim Byung-gun is the head of Seoul, South Korea’s biggest plastic surgery clinic, BK DongYang. The clinic is a dozen stories tall, with all of its operating rooms full on the day of Min kyong’s surgery.

Dr Kim says his clinic, one of the most successful in a city dubbed the “plastic surgery capital of Asia,” performs 100 surgeries a day, ranging from eyelid surgery to nose reshaping to facial contouring.

The Chinese and Korean patients tell me they want to have faces like Americans

–Dr Kim Byung-gun
"They always tell me they don’t like their faces," says Dr Kim, explaining what his patients request prior to surgery. "They want to have some westernized, nice faces. They want to have big eyes like westernized people, high profile, nicer noses.

“The Chinese and Korean patients tell me that they want to have faces like Americans. The idea of beauty is more westernized recently. That means the Asian people want to have a little less Asian, more westernized appearance. They don’t like big cheekbones or small eyes. They want to have big, bright eyes with slender, nice facial bones.”

The surgeries, already popular among Koreans, are booming among newly rich, globally competitive, mainland Chinese, explains Dr Kim. About 30% of his patients are international and of that group, 90% are Chinese. It’s why he speaks Mandarin and is partnering with two clinics in China.

“We can see potential huge growth, with the number of patients from China. The Chinese people want to have the westernized face. They don’t like their faces. They have big cheekbones, big mandible angle without double fold, and a low profile nose. They are seeking to have westernized face, high profile nose, slender nice cheekbone, and mandible bone.”

Dr Kim believes in the global economy, investing in plastic surgery to slightly westernize the face will bring a return on the investment of 100 times, through more confidence, a better job and obtaining a better marital partner.

A global ideal doesn’t stop at the face, says dental surgeon Jung Hak. Dr Jung says he’s been fighting a trend. Korean mothers who have been bringing in their toddlers to have the muscle under the tongue that connects it to the bottom of the mouth surgically snipped.

The belief, explains Dr Jung, is that it will help a Korean speak English more clearly. People from the Asia Pacific region have difficulty in pronouncing the “L” sound, says Dr Jung. But he calls the surgery, if it’s only for pronunciation, misguided, and caused by the hyper-competitive drive in Korea.

“For 10 years, there’s been this crazy drive for early English education. Mothers long for their kids to have better English pronunciation,” says Dr Jung.

Editor of Giant Robot magazine and Asian American commentator Martin Wong, sees these westernization surgeries as far more insidious than just simple procedures. He sees it as a form of “cultural imperialism.”

“They’re making a statement about their own race, about where they come from, who they are,” says Wong. “They’re not doing it on purpose. They’re not saying that they think they’re inferior looking. They’re not saying they’re ugly, but that’s the message that they’re giving nonetheless.”

Message or not, for Min-kyong, the 20-minute surgery has been well worth the cost and post-surgical discomfort. A few weeks later, she and her mother email to say she’s happy with her new look. And when this 12-year-old stares at herself dancing in the studio, she no longer just sees her eyes. She sees a prettier girl.[/quote]

#2

She looked exactly the same post procedure! That is the biggest tragedy.
Americans spend all their time nipping and tucking and whitening and straightening and sucking and snipping. And as for the tongue thing… Americans have their stomachs opened and have them stapled up because they are incapable of not stuffing excess calories down their neck all the time. The world is full of people who act strange and who believe strange things. If anything, it is the American obsession with perfection which is driving other cultures to behave similarly. That is not to say that Americans are to blame, they are simply the ones driving the surgery bus.

I am going to the dentist this afternoon. As always we will have the same conversation, “Your teeth are in excellent condition, but they are stained and crooked. I can fix all that for a few thousand pounds.” So essentially I can pay some guy to strip away my enamel and break my bloody jaws just so someone else can enjoy looking at them, despite the fact that the work will damage my teeth in the long term. Have we all got tooth OCD now or something?

#3

It looked to me as if the reporter misunderstood.

What I saw in the video was ankyloglossia, and I suspect the dental surgeon was showing a classic case of it as opposed to the cases he is always against treating. The case in the video was a moderate case, and one which could possibly impact speech and/or feeding, though only a full evaluation could tell us for sure. A moderate case is usually better for demonstrating the disorder since a severe case can have the tongue unable to move above the lower teeth, so you couldn’t see the linguil frenulum and tell that it is responsible for the limitation on range of motion. The typical treatment for cases in which articulation and/or feeding is impacted is linguil frenectomy, though I feel current best practice is to first refer to an oral surgeon to attempt stretching before moving to surgical intervention.

If the child is able to pronounce all of the lingua alveolar phonemes of their native language (and, if used, retroflex /r/), I would certainly not expect that the ankyloglossia would impact on English, though.

In any case it would not be cutting the muscle, but instead cutting the connective tissue. Cutting the muscle would have the opposite effect of what is intended since it would serve to limit range of motion as opposed to increase it.

#4

uhm,… what? is it really how it is over there?
I’ve heard that they were obsessed with looks, and that the majority had surgery, but at 12 and under the knife?
I’m currently stuck in an environment on which the smart (and the scoundrels) are higher up than the pretty…

#5

uhm,… what? is it really how it is over there?
I’ve heard that they were obsessed with looks, and that the majority had surgery, but at 12 and under the knife?
I’m currently stuck in an environment on which the smart (and the scoundrels) are higher up than the pretty…[/quote]

To be fair, nowhere does it say in the piece that the majority have surgery, in fact it’s apparently somewhere around 0.2%:

factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=136

Also, many western countries have significantly higher rates (about 3% in the USA):

juvemedspa.com/articles/how- … each-year/

census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

As well, children appear to be getting cosmetic surgery in the west at alarming rates:

"160,000 U.S. Children Had Cosmetic Surgery in 2008"
naturalnews.com/027728_cosme … ldren.html
Keeping in mind this appears to include cleft repairs, etc., though another article listed 2000 breast augmentations for girls under 18 in the US.

nhs.uk/conditions/Cosmetic-s … ction.aspx

[quote]Over recent years, the number of people having cosmetic surgery has increased considerably. For example, in 2010 a total of 38,274 cosmetic procedures were carried out in the UK, compared with 10,700 in 2003.

During 2010, 90% of all cosmetic surgery procedures were carried out in women. The top five most popular procedures for women were:

breast augmentation (enlargement) 
eyelid surgery
face and neck surgery
tummy tucks
breast reduction

For men in 2010, the five most popular cosmetic procedures were:

nose reshaping (rhinoplasty)
eyelid surgery
ear pinning 
liposuction 
male breast reduction[/quote]

None of this is meant to minimize the practice, I find it abhorrent, but to treat it as an Asian issue ignores the fact that it’s prevalent in the west as well.

#6

[quote=“skoster”]
To be fair, nowhere does it say in the piece that the majority have surgery, in fact it’s apparently somewhere around 0.2%:

Also, many western countries have significantly higher rates (about 3% in the USA):

As well, children appear to be getting cosmetic surgery in the west at alarming rates:

None of this is meant to minimize the practice, I find it abhorrent, but to treat it as an Asian issue ignores the fact that it’s prevalent in the west as well.[/quote]

Quite an interesting post Skoster, thank you for clearing some rumors I’ve heard with facts…
And yeah true… it is prevalent in the west as well… in the end, everyone can do whatever they want with their life, IDGAF… but srsly, the whole children and looking down on natural traits… that’s not something I’d condone, I find Asian eyes as attractive as light, bold, western, or latin eyes.

#7

The reporter may have chosen a more extreme case but the general point stands, Koreans, and now other Asians , have become obsessed with cosmetic surgery.

The anecdotes I have heard are that kids are given nose and eye jobs once graduating from home school, maybe it’s starting a bit younger now. A lot of people get the rounded eyes double lid surgery in Taiwan!

If you look at any idol or actor in Korea and even most of the celebrities in Taiwan, almost all of them have had their chins and eyes and noses done. Thats why they have a generic pretty look but I wouldn’t say it is aimed at a Western look only. There are also very few dark skinned women, again that is a big no-no and there is a huge industry, including many western companies, which are pushing out these products to meet the demand.

The tongue cutting thing for English pronunciation also seems to have been invented in Korea. If you have never been to Korea just imagine competitive Taiwanese people on steroids…

To me it’s a side affect of obsession with image and getting ahead in these ultra competitive societies. Whatever gives somebody a boost is going to be used, the end justifies the means.

#8

Cutting tongues? Really?? They ought to be obsessing over breast implants.

#9

I think it’s terribly sad all the way around, though I don’t think it’s all that different from young girls in western societies being encouraged to try to look like airbrushed models. Children starving themselves in the land of plenty to be like a figment of our collective imaginations… Such an odd world we live in.

#10

You must not have been home recently. Most people in the U.S., Australia, Canada, etc. could use a little starving.

#11

[quote=“skoster”]To be fair, nowhere does it say in the piece that the majority have surgery, in fact it’s apparently somewhere around 0.2%:

factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=136

Also, many western countries have significantly higher rates (about 3% in the USA):

juvemedspa.com/articles/how- … each-year/

census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

As well, children appear to be getting cosmetic surgery in the west at alarming rates:

"160,000 U.S. Children Had Cosmetic Surgery in 2008"
naturalnews.com/027728_cosme … ldren.html
Keeping in mind this appears to include cleft repairs, etc., though another article listed 2000 breast augmentations for girls under 18 in the US.

nhs.uk/conditions/Cosmetic-s … ction.aspx

[quote]Over recent years, the number of people having cosmetic surgery has increased considerably. For example, in 2010 a total of 38,274 cosmetic procedures were carried out in the UK, compared with 10,700 in 2003.

During 2010, 90% of all cosmetic surgery procedures were carried out in women. The top five most popular procedures for women were:

breast augmentation (enlargement) 
eyelid surgery
face and neck surgery
tummy tucks
breast reduction

For men in 2010, the five most popular cosmetic procedures were:

nose reshaping (rhinoplasty)
eyelid surgery
ear pinning 
liposuction 
male breast reduction[/quote]

None of this is meant to minimize the practice, I find it abhorrent, [color=#FF0000]but to treat it as an Asian issue ignores the fact that it’s prevalent in the west as well.[/color][/quote]

I understand that cosmetic surgery has exploded all over the world to include western nations, which of course is also troubling. However, my main point and concern is that according to this article, the asians are doing it to change their asian features to become western because they feel that the western look is more attractive than their natural asian look. Slanted eyes bad, round eyes good. I haven’t heard of any western people going under the knife in order to change their look to become more asian in appearance. So, although plastic surgery may be even more prevelant in western societies, I’m pretty sure that surgery to make yourself look more western is only a trend in asia and asian people who have a screwed up view of what is considered beautiful.

For me, I like the natural asian features and find them very beautiful. I cringe every time I see an asian woman who has tried to chemically lighten her skin or had plastic surgery to westernize her nose or eyes. In fact, I can’t stand it when they even dye their hair brown or blond. Why can’t they just leave it naturally shiny and black? :ponder:

#12

The other point is that, it seems that Asians perform cosmetic surgery at a younger age (I don’t have the statistics for this, it’s just my impression). Increased peer pressure to look a certain way for young people is not something that I would like to see happening, especially if it is explicitly encouraged by adults.
Judging people on looks happens, but if kids are exposed to this type of pressure at a young age what chance do they have to be themselves? It’s bad enough with designer wear but designer noses and eyes :noway: . It’s an extension of winning at all costs, paying for expensive buxiban lessons, getting into the right school, wearing the right clothes, living in the right area.

theage.com.au/lifestyle/beau … 1jsye.html

[quote]Meredith Jones, media lecturer and author of Skintight: An Anatomy of Cosmetic Surgery, believes the answer lies far beyond the assumption that non-Caucasians want to “Westernise” their appearance. “I think our attitude to so-called ‘ethnic’ cosmetic surgery is [inherently] racist. For example, a very common procedure for white women to have is lip augmentation. But nobody would accuse them of wanting to look African or of ‘de-racialising’ themselves,” says Jones.
In fact, according to Sydney cosmetic surgeon Dr Peter Kim, Asian-Australian patients tend to model their idea of a “perfect” face on Asian stars rather than Hollywood celebrities. “People usually bring me pictures of Korean actors and singers,” says Kim. "I’ve never had anyone bring in a photo of a Caucasian star and say they want to look like them."
Performing more than 100 double-eyelid surgeries a year (the procedure involves making incisions in the upper eyelids to create the desired “double fold”), Kim maintains that many clients see the procedure not as an act of vanity but a form of “self-improvement”. “For example, in Japan and Korea, cosmetic surgery is the norm. If you’re not born with double eyelids, most people will end up getting it done … It’s almost as common as mole removal in Australia.”

[/quote]

[quote]Grace Park, 21, has felt first-hand the pressure to conform to the global template of beauty. The fourth-year medical-science student recalls the trauma of getting a silicone nose implant and double-eyelid surgery at the age of 18. “My mum has always said, ever since I was four years old, that I was going to get double-eyelid surgery one day. She would keep bringing it up periodically, and we’d end up getting into a huge fight every time because it wasn’t something I wanted to do,” says Park.
At 18, Park was flown to South Korea and taken to a prestigious plastic surgeon for a consultation. “At the appointment, I just pretty much sat there, bawled my eyes out and hyperventilated the whole time … I’d never cried so hard in my life. My mum literally dragged me into the [operating] theatre.”
[/quote]

#13

You guys should visit South America some time. Not only are a ridiculous number of women getting cosmetic surgery, a lot of them can’t afford real surgeons so they use back-alley quacks who use whatever materials are available in stores.

In the U.S., that sort of thing tends to be limited to transvestites who go to what they call “pump parties” to have silicone (as in, caulk bought off the shelf at home-improvement stores) injected directly into their lips, chests, or asses.

#14

Asians have been bonkers about their eyes for a really long time. How many folds? How wide do they open? Around this they have many strange beliefs and prejudices. I had a Taiwanese friend lose his job in Taiwan because his Taiwanese boss said his eyes were too narrow. “How can he be trusted to work hard if he can’t be bothered to open his eyes all the way?” Of course, this is just one example. What I believe though is that the underlying cause of this behaviour is not a desire to become a Westerner. It is a desire to feel happier in yourself or to gain certain advantages within your own community. Otherwise these people would move to the West, if they wanted to be more Western. Also, it is likely that the term ‘western eyes’ is just an accepted code for, ‘more rounded eyes.’ So I don’t really think things have changed all that much apart from the ease with which people can do something about it. We are, after all, talking about cultures which have trained the female foot to shrink and the neck to extend over time as a matter of aesthetic beauty. You want rounded eyes, knock yourself out. It doesn’t mean you want to be Western though. Otherwise we’d be talking about them all going in for skin bleaching and whatever the opposite of a gastric band is. A gastric sack? :smiley:

#15

Asian youth face a lot of pressure -unnecessary pressure, BTW- to perform to impossible standards by parents raised on a completely different economical and social environment. That they are doing this surgeries on kids who have not even fully developed yet is an act of cruelty. Good for kids that question the validity of these assumptions. Yet, if you are beautiful you do earn more, in spite of your qualifications. But fueling these concept it is not the way.

I also believe that seeing these operations as “Westernization” is not entirely right. It is mostly about imposing a female idea of beauty and what it entails to you economically. In Latin America, putting on huge breasts and padding your derriere is a matter of social and economical importance. It opens doors that otherwise would be closed to people without connections. And at a certain social status, plain and straight is not acceptable. Lots of good these ideas have done to our economy -except for a very lucrative plastic surgery business. I think we can correlate the kind of surgeries and the motivation behind them with social problems. In teh US, it is aging as a taboo, as old people cannot succeed on the work force. fat people are considered “stupid” and hence that must be kept in check. In Latin America sexy is more important than intelligent, an intelligent woman is dangerous to the System and in danger herself. In Asia, a pretty face must complement the right school and the right skin tone.

In summary, we people as a collective are silly, putting so many barriers to economic development on things that are not exactly economic spurs.

#16

Wait a tic…please don’t take my quote out of context. The correct quote should have been,

[quote]"
[color=#FF0000]according to this article,[/color]
the asians are doing it to change their asian features to become western because they feel that the western look is more attractive than their natural asian look. Slanted eyes bad, round eyes good."[/quote]
I’m not suggesting that this is my idea or opinion on this matter at all. In fact, I don’t know and I’m looking for others’ opinions and as to whether or not others agree with the direction and tone of the article with which I started the OP.

So, you’re saying that you disagree with the article or you’re saying that the article isn’t saying that asians are undergoing these cosmetic procedures to have a more western look?

Here are some quotes from just the written article in the OP which leads me to understand that these cosmetic surgeries are specifically done to change the asian face into a more westernized face. Do I understand this article incorrectly?

[quote]
She lacks confidence, explains Min-kyong’s mother, a problem she hopes will be solved when her pre-teen undergoes plastic surgery, [color=#FF0000]to westernize her eyes[/color].

The effect will also be to give her a slightly [color=#FF0000]more western look[/color].

[color=#FF0000]The definition of pretty[/color], explains their plastic surgeon, [color=#FF0000]is not the standard Asian face, but closer to a Caucasian face[/color].

The Chinese and Korean patients tell me [color=#FF0000]they want to have faces like Americans[/color].

"They want to have some [color=#FF0000]westernized, nice faces[/color]. They want to have big eyes [color=#FF0000]like westernized people[/color], high profile, nicer noses.

The idea of beauty is more [color=#FF0000]westernized[/color] recently. That means the Asian people want to have a little[color=#FF0000] less Asian, more westernized appearance[/color].

The Chinese people [color=#FF0000]want to have the westernized face[/color]. They don’t like their faces.

Dr Kim believes in the global economy, investing in plastic surgery [color=#FF0000]to slightly westernize the face [/color]will bring a return on the investment of 100 times.

Editor of Giant Robot magazine and Asian American commentator Martin Wong, sees these [color=#FF0000]westernization surgeries [/color]as far more insidious than just simple procedures.[/quote]

A personal anecdote: About 10 years ago, I went to Toys R Us in order to purchase a doll for a Taiwanese girl’s birthday. The only dolls that they had were blond hair, blue eyed western featured Barbie type dolls. According to the sales associate, they have never had any dolls with Asian or Chinese features. When I asked why, she explained that the western face is much more beautiful than the Chinese face and all the little girls want a blond hair, blue eyed doll. I decided to do an informal survey by going to every store in the Tanshui area that carried dolls. I couldn’t find even one doll with Asian features at any of the numerous stores I visited. Every single clerk that I queried as to why every doll had blond hair and blue eyes and why they didn’t carry even one doll with Asian features gave me nearly the same answer. The western features of big eyes, tall noses, blond hair and blue eyes are much more beautiful than the Asian face.

Your thoughts? Have you ever seen a doll with Chinese or Asian features in a toy store in Taiwan? If not, why do you think that is?

#17

if they want to look like westerners, then where is all the booty operations? that should be the first thing they want to change to become more western.

the kind of surgerys they get seem barbaric. eye largening. jaw bone cutting. fake nose bridge insertion. leg cutting and then putting back together to grow taller.

1 in 5 koreans get plastic surgery. fuck the korea.

#18

[quote=“Lros”]if they want to look like westerners, then where is all the booty operations? that should be the first thing they want to change to become more western.
the kind of surgerys they get seem barbaric. eye largening. jaw bone cutting. fake nose bridge insertion. leg cutting and then putting back together to grow taller.
1 in 5 Koreans get plastic surgery. fuck the korea.[/quote]

Yeah the breaking the legs thing is brutal… just for a couple centimeters… not worth it IMO.

As for the previous post, didnt look at it in Taiwan, but I’ve seen plenty of Asian dolls in the west, dunno whats up with that…

#19

NCS, I think it is the interpretation that the reporter gives to his observations, his angle on thsi piece. It would be like saying that whitening of the skin is just Westernization, when there is the factor of white skin = no work in the fields = higher social status. I do not see Koreans as the most Western-worshipping of Asian peoples, the large eye influence coming directly from Japanese manga -and manga probably yes, influenced by Western drawings, but that is another story.

I agree more with the concept of the common people following the celebrities path, and maybe many of those celebrities being half/half Asian/Western, with larger features. My Taiwanese friend and I were talking about someone’s surgery over the holidays and she was correcting me in the sense that some people here actually have it for feng shui of the face -dunno how it’s called. Apparently certain features comon with aging -eye bags, the 30-something smile line- are considered no-nos, so people have them removed. Big round nose is good, attracts money. I do not think Chinese people as a collective do not like their faces. I don’t agree with that conclusion in the article.

I feel it like saying that Asian guys have no chest hair. I assure you, there are many variations of the lot. I’ve checked.If they wanted Western, they would be going for rug implants.

Regarding the dolls, you have the cute Japanese style ones -the ones with the huge eyes, round face, cute outfits. There are also Asian barbies available at the department stores.

#20

While I agree that the beauty aesthetic is weighted more towards a Western look for women it’s more about not having ‘imperfections’ than anything else.

The double eye lid thing is really weird though. A minority of Asians have double eye lids but now they almost all want them. My wife has them naturally but people think she got them surgically.
For years I didn’t even know there was a thing called double or single eye lids! Who the fuck cares!

The amount of comments my kids get about their looks is ridiculous. Shuai Ge (two year old), big eyes, is their father a foreigner (to my wife all the time), Hun xie … on and on this obsession with looks is messed up.