Erika <3 (apis_cerana ) wrote,
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It's IBARW!!! Misconceptions about eyelid surgeries

And I didn't really know what to blog about at first, since I'm constantly throwing out random thoughts about race without ever really focusing on it...but then I saw this Youtube video



It's a short, very interesting documentary about eyelid surgery.

I think the "are girls getting it to look more 'white'?"-sorts of questions have been discussed enough on other blogs so I'm not gonna get into that too much here...

What really bothers me about the ongoing dialogue about Asian eyelids are the white people who are vehemently and vocally opposed to eyelid surgery for Asians -- most of the time, they seem to think that they're trying to fit in with western beauty ideals and trying to look white, or believe the stereotype that all Asians have small, monolid eyes. And the people who are most vocal about this sound like they're very new to the field of anti-racism; they still don't know about white-knighting and how they can unintentionally silence POC about topics that don't concern them (it reminds me of discussions about Black women and natural hair, and how it always seemed like more concerned white feminists were discussing it, and POC voices were silenced and ignored).
In online discussions, I've seen Asian women who were basically told to stop being so influenced by society, they're beautiful the way they are, etc -- all well-intentioned, of course, but ignoring what most Asian and Asian-American women go through which makes them go and get surgery because, of course, they have no idea what it's like to be Asian.

Even my very open-minded, supportive mom told me while we were in Korea, that maybe I should get double-eyelid surgery there because it's cheaper and it will make me look better. I actually thought about it, but later dismissed it. I don't think she's ever brought it up since.
My other friends (mostly Korean; the Japanese people in this area are usually children of people who work at a company here for 1-3 years and leave, and I didn't have much of a connection with them) were not so lucky. They got pushed and prodded by their mothers and peers to get eyelid surgery; they were made to feel inferior because they didn't have double-eyelids.
Most of my friends only had Asian friends and lived in prominently Asian areas -- they would probably find the idea that they're trying to fit in with whites odd, and the thought that they're trying to look "white" rather insulting, because they have a very strong sense of cultural and racial belonging.

It's true that western beauty ideals do affect what the rest of the world perceives as being beautiful, but it's much more complex than "WOC want to look more white". In Japan, double eyelids are often seen in idols on TV, who are supposed to look "kawaii (cute)" moreso than "kirei (beautiful)", because that's the ideal there. Double-eyelids and bigger-looking eyes signify youth and innocence, and that's why the more loli-type Anime characters have bigger eyes, too.
There are more models who have less pronounced double-eyelids (known as "oku-butae") or monolids because it adds to their "kirei"-ness.

When I used to feel down about my looks (eyelids-wise, because I live in the US and have friends who don't care about my lids, I haven't felt badly about them in years), I looked at all the beautiful successful women who embrace their monolids:
Han Ji-Hye, Kayo Sakata, Ryo (fffuuuu-- she's so hot), Noriko Aoyama, Mikako Tabe (who randomly looks a lot like the [white] bride of the wedding I'm attending soon :x), Sayoko Yamaguchi (RIP), Ayako Kawahara...

Looking up their images made me happy again :)
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