Thursday, September 16, 2010

Plastic Surgery: Double eyelid surgery, the quest to fit the beauty mould

In today’s society, we are hounded with images of the ‘ideal beauty’ type. These images are splashed on magazine covers, fashion billboards, make up ads, music videos… you cannot escape it. The ‘beauty mould’ they sell include: pouty lips, big eyes, thin nose, big breasts, big bottom, small waist, flat stomach, small thighs… the list is endless.

When women differ from the ‘mould’ they can grow up hating their features and turn to plastic surgery to ‘fix’ it. Example, Heidi Montag, a young naturally beautiful woman, celebrity cracked under society’s pressure to look good underwent 10 extreme plastic surgery procedures to completely transform herself to fit the ‘beauty mould’ and become Barbie. Her nose was thinned down, her boobs augmented, she got lipo, botox…

In Korea, common facial features are small eyes and flat noses. These features don’t fit the ‘mould’ either; they aren’t featured on the cover of glossy magazines. This results in women and even men turning to plastic surgery to ‘fix’ their features. It was estimated that 2.4 million Korean women aged 20-50 have received surgical or non surgical cosmetic procedure(s) in 2008. Plastic surgery has become common amongst South Koreans. It is a sign of wealth when people get plastic surgery. The most sought out procedure is double eyelid surgery. South Koreans religiously believe that bigger eyes are considered more beautiful and more superior to small eyes. They think small eyes have a ‘sleepy’ look hence, to them it is critical to get double eyelid surgery.

The technical name for double eyelid surgery is blepharoplasty. The surgery involves the creation of a crease above the eye by a scalpel or needle and thread, or the removal of bags and fats around the eyes. I checked out a South Korean Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic Website, called IAAN clinic ( They have a nice looking English website with photos of beautiful blonde Caucasian girls… Which screams out to Asian Girls that this is what you want to achieve! The price of eyelid surgery is 1,200USD. People are happy to pay this large sum for a crease in their eyelid.

Interestingly, parents also encourage their children to get plastic surgery. Teens as young as 14 years old are getting eyelid surgery. ‘Eye jobs’ have become a popular graduation gift from parents. There is another reason why there is so much emphasis to look good, many believe that it will give them an edge to succeed in their career. They believe that being attractive will give you better prospects… I’m not sure what it would be like to grow up worrying about your inherited features and being encouraged to get plastic surgery to change it.

Rain, one of the biggest entertainers in Asia has small eyes. When he was starting out, agents told him he was talented but he wasn’t good looking enough because of his small eyes so they rejected him. A lot of agents told him to get plastic surgery but he didn’t. I was watching and reading his interviews and I haven’t found out the reason why he did not get double eyelid surgery. I am still curious to find out why he didn’t get the surgery that everyone was endorsing as essential. Look at him now, he is considered one of the sexiest males in Asia. Rain has made the small eyes more acceptable in Asia and I think that is a positive message to everyone, to accept and love yourself the way you are.

Beauty isn’t a mould, it comes in all shapes and sizes and it should be better represented in the media.

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