Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

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Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby Northcoast Surfer » 18 Feb 2013, 19:11

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:



CNN wrote:
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.
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Re: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby superking » 18 Feb 2013, 21:00

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?
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Re: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby skoster » 19 Feb 2013, 03:35

Northcoast Surfer wrote:...Cutting the muscle under the tongue in order to have better English pronunciation? :loco:


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.
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Re: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby Pein_11 » 19 Feb 2013, 04:51

This is a society where you have to be pretty to get ahead. She's my only daughter."


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...
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Re: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby skoster » 19 Feb 2013, 06:22

Pein_11 wrote:
This is a society where you have to be pretty to get ahead. She's my only daughter."


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...


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

http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=136

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

http://www.juvemedspa.com/articles/how- ... each-year/

http://www.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"
http://www.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.

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cosmetic-s ... ction.aspx

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


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.

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Re: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby Pein_11 » 19 Feb 2013, 08:28

skoster wrote: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.


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.
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Re: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby headhonchoII » 19 Feb 2013, 09:14

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.
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Re: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby IdeaRat » 19 Feb 2013, 09:42

Cutting tongues? Really?? They ought to be obsessing over breast implants.
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Re: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby skoster » 19 Feb 2013, 09:45

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.
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Re: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look

Postby IdeaRat » 19 Feb 2013, 10:22

skoster wrote: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.

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