Consequences affiliated with artificial beauty

What happens if make-up isn’t enough? Some people choose plastic surgery as an option to permanently alter their appearance. In America, people stress the idea of natural beauty and individuality, but in countries like South Korea, people actually pursue artificial beauty. Major reasons for plastic surgery are insecurity and peer pressure. Some instances of plastic surgery are done to avoid Asian stereotypes and acquire Western beauty. Plastic surgery is so popular that it has become a tradition in Korea. The beauty-seeking trend has developed so quickly that people feel comfortable discussing it in public. According to a 2009 survey by the market research firm Trend Monitor, one of every five women in Seoul between the age of 19 and 49 state that they have undergone cosmetic surgery. This is  significant considering that 20% of the female population in Seoul has undergone plastic surgery some point in their life. A major consequence of this boom is the peer pressure to keep up with the trend of plastic surgery. For example, when lots of people undergo plastic surgery, they directly raise up the standard of beauty. So, what was once considered a decent, yet natural, look is now dull and incomparable to the new artificial faces. It is like an invisible scale; some people undergo cosmetic surgery just so they can keep up with the standard of beauty. While most of these cosmetic surgeries are voluntary, some aren’t. There have been a popular trend of people seeking surgery due to peer pressure; sometimes parents even force their children to undergo surgery just to avoid stereotypes. The most common stereotype associated with this is that Asians have small eyes, so parents pressure their children to do double eyelid surgery. Double eyelid surgeries are very common in Asia, but in this blog we will focus on surgeries in South Korea because it has the highest number of surgeries performed per capita, according to The majority of these surgeries are done on the eyes because young women want to acquire a Caucasian look – big eyes, straight nose and pale skin. Their thirst for western faces is so strong that plastic surgeons almost never go out of business in Korea. Although the practice of surgeries is beneficial to those in that work field, it becomes an issue when it comes to identity. Personal traits and features are part of a person’s identity; undergoing cosmetic surgeries contribute to a loss of identity. When 20% of the population pursues artificial beauty, its society’s values become questionable. It is totally acceptable that people admire the use of plastic surgery; however, it is a problem if people are doing it to erase part of their identity or simply to follow the trend.

What are other consequences of plastic surgeries, except identity risk?

Here is a real life story about a man divorcing his wife after finding out that she has undergone plastic surgery.

As a summarization of this video and further research, a Chinese men Jian Feng sued his wife in China for “being ugly” as described by various media. Surprisingly, he won the sue case and got $120,000 out of it. Although many news and articles have titles that say Jian sues his wife “for being ugly”, it is somewhat misleading.  If Jian’s intention is to marry a beautiful woman, then he wouldn’t have divorced his wife – who became attractive after surgery. According to his own words, he feels betrayed by his wife because she wouldn’t tell him the truth before marriage. His divorce demonstrates that he doesn’t value looks as much as honesty and truth to identity. As mentioned before, plastic surgery causes a loss of identity, so this is one of the potential problems associated with stereotypes and social values.

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Before and after make-up: is this the same person?


Enough with celebrities for now; let’s talk about everyday life, people. With stereotypes growing in different countries, girls tend to be more self-conscious about their looks. Some girls feel insecure about how their eyes look, so they adopt a Western standard of beauty: big eyes are prettier. The influence of this is tremendous; double eyelid glues and tapes are sold everywhere in countries like China, Japan and Korea. They can be commonly purchased in any local stores and are reasonably cheap. In addition to artificial double eyelid products, some contact lenses are designed to enlarge the size of the pupil to make people’s eyes look bigger. There are a lot of side effects with those kinds of lenses, but we shall not dig into that. What we will look at in this blog post is a video from a famous Taiwanese show. This show invites well known beauty bloggers who are known for their looks and fashion to appear on this show without any make-up. Those bloggers are then told to only put make-up on half of their face, for the sake of a before and after comparison. One purpose is to show the audience that beauty is deceptive because so many artificial products and procedures are used to improve one’s look. Another purpose of this is to have those bloggers share their beauty secrets and motivations. Before I show you the video, let me show you two pictures of bloggers who only have make up on one side of their face.

miracle asian transformation makeup


As you can see, there is a major difference in their eyes before and after make-up. This is where the western standard of beauty kicks in. Young girls in Asia are praised for their big eyes, straight nose and fair skin after make-up. Therefore, they are influenced to think that true beauty is western beauty.  Part of the reason is that society doesn’t really encourage young women to embrace themselves, so their perception of beauty is distorted and westernized.  Here is a video of the show, since it is in Chinese, I will do some translation below the video.

Start at 3:30

*host talks to one of the blogger*

Host: Did you put lense?

Girl: Yes I did.

Host: Oh, I see. I heard those lenses are designed to enlarge the size of the pupil.

Audience: *surprised*


*Couple minutes later, host talks to a different blogger*

Host: Wow, you put those eyelashes on like it is nothing.

Blogger: Yeh, I just put on 4 and a half pair of eye-lashes

Audience:  *amazed*


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Celebrity influences stereotypes

How far can inappropriate behavior spread out? The answer is: pretty far, especially when celebrities who are viewed as role models convey such negative message publicly. Here is a picture of Miley Cyrus and a group of her friends making slanted Asian eyes despite of the presence of an Asian guy.


Did you notice something strange here? The only person not participating in this inappropriate behavior is the Asian guy, who is being mocked by his “friends”. He is singled out by the rest of the people. His inactivity can be viewed as a form of protest against this stereotype. The absence of his participation tells a message that it is not okay to mock other people traits. Miley Cyrus might say that she is not making fun of Asian people. Then what is it that she’s trying to convey, if not racism? Stereotypes like this denigrate Asian people and contribute to more racist controversies. This picture wouldn’t have been so controversial if Miley Cyrus wasn’t a celebrity, or if the picture hasn’t landed on the internet. However, the role in which the media plays in spreading message is tremendous. It is silly on Miley’s part to underestimate the power of the internet. Immediately after the release of this image, Asian communities demanded an apology. Miley Cyrus wrote her first “apology” in an unapologetic tone.

She said, “I’ve… been told there are some people upset about some pictures taken of me with friends making goofy faces! Well, I’m sorry if those people looked at those pics and took them wrong (sic) and out of context! In NO way was I making fun of any ethnicity! I was simply making a goofy face.”

So slanted eyes = goofy? Oh h*** no. Not only does Miley not realize her mistake, she finds excuses for her inappropriate behaviors. This is very bad because kids look up to her and might absorb whatever message that she puts out. This is an example of how negative stereotypes can be spread, not only through internet, but also from celebrity influences. Due to the continuation of the controversy, Miley posted, on her official fan-site, a much more sincere apology:

“I want to thank all of my fans for their support not only this week, but always! I really wanted to stress how sorry I am if the photo of me with my friends offended anyone. I have learned a valuable lesson from this and know that sometimes my actions can be unintentionally hurtful. I know everything is a part of GOD’s ultimate plan, and mistakes happen so that eventually I will become the woman he aspires me to be.”


This incident occurred a while ago, but its effect is still going on. It is important that society pays attention to what is being said through media about ethnicity and race. Negative messages can pass from one place to another instantly. In this case, Miley Cyrus’s actions has earned her some great controversies with Asian communities.

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Taylor Swift is Asian? What?

Have you ever check out stereotypes related to celebrities? Did you know some people think that Taylor Swift is Asian? It is ok if you haven’t heard about it. Here is a screen-captured picture for you.


This comment is from a Youtube video of Taylor Swift singing. Due to her make-up, her eyes looked small, so comments about her “Asian eyes” boomed. The following comment is a top rated comment with 40 likes. Seriously now? Those 40 people aren’t actually ignorant; they liked it probably because they enjoy the stereotype and think it was funny.  Stereotypes shouldn’t be used for amusement. It has a negative connotation and it is not appropriate. The fact that so many people liked that comment is the reason why it became a top comment. Top comments are easily viewable by others, thus contributing to more racist comments. This is the power of media; they spread messages and influence other to acquire the same belief. Another proof of this Taylor Swift Asian eye stereotype is the following picture:


I found this picture under two Google engine searches: “Is Taylor Swift Asian” and “Taylor Swift Asian Eyes”. I only screen-captured the first page from each of these two search results. There are probably more topics under similar search titles. However, this alone proves my point that some people relate personal traits to race rather than individuality. It gives a message that certain races must look certain ways.  Not only are these search results misleading, they are also racist. It is obvious that Taylor Swift is not Asian because both of her parents are Caucasian. However, some people still think she is Asian or part Asian because of her narrow eyes. Just because she has small eyes doesn’t make her Asian, but stereotypes lead people to make this correlation. It reflects society’s view of the Asians aesthetic. This is just as bad as stereotypes like “black people have big butts and white people have a lot of hair”. No one will ever find these stereotypes appealing because they degrade people based on look and race.

Usually people think that racial stereotypes are made by people from a different race. The influence of stereotypes is so strong that even some Asians use the same stereotypes. Look at the title of the last link in the Taylor Swift search engine picture, it says:” Taylor Swift has Asian eyes , it kinda bothers me, haha”. This comes from a tumblr(social website) user who is an Asian girl with big eyes. This is known as internalized stereotypes – when people absorb the racist messages about their race, and develop hatred toward their own racial group.  This may sound strange – an Asian girl bothered by Asian eyes; but it shows exactly the power of stereotypes. Its effect is tremendous because it conveys a negative connotation about a race, in this case Asians, in society.

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