A while back we posted before and after pictures of an eyelid surgery designed to give people of Asian descent an eyelid fold more characteristic of non-Asians (see also this post on eyelid glueing) with the idea that such an eye seemed more “awake.”
I recently came across a website advertising “Asian Rhinoplasty” by Dr. Younai. The surgeon argues that “there are many fine differences between an Asian nose and that of other ethnicities” and claims expertise in this area.
He makes the following observations about what is “wrong” with “Asian” noses. Notice how he uses a language of deficiency that is completely contrived (“underdeveloped,” “poor,” “lack”) (all emphases are his):
…most Asians from Korea, China, Philippines, Japan, Hawaii, and Malaysia have underdeveloped nasal bridge. This makes their eyes appear to be far apart.
The nasal tip in Asians is often round, wide, bulbous, and of poor definition. The thickness of Asian nasal skin also contributes to the lack of nasal tip sharpness.
Nostrils in Asians can be flared and wide.
Lack of nasal bridge height can give the appearance of a short nose.
His language is negative, but also inherently comparative to an unspoken norm. “Underdeveloped” compared to what? Of “poor definition” compared to what? “Wide” compared to what? “Short” compared to what? Of course, in this context, the implicit ideal is a white ideal.
Here are some of his before and after photos:
Anonymous — December 5, 2009
The third girl looks a lot better "before" than "after".
Richard — December 5, 2009
So, which one's before and which one's after? In my (caucasian) opinion the left ones look better...
kyleth — December 5, 2009
I have to ask why these women had surgery in the first place. They were all attractive as they were and now because they changed their features to a more caucasian ideal, their faces look less balanced.
Wendy — December 5, 2009
That's what I was thinking...wait which one is the before? They look better the way they originally looked.
conductress — December 5, 2009
They probably had surgery in the first place because they were constantly being evaluated on their appearances... Just like the comments thus far are evaluating them on their appearance. Fancy that. It is possible to give commentary on beauty standards without actually proclaiming that the woman in question does or does not fit your personal standards, you know?
Anonymous — December 5, 2009
I studied abroad in South Korea and was really saddened by how many advertisements were all around for getting rhinoplasty to look more "professional".
Janey — December 5, 2009
It isn't a matter of looking better, it is a matter of looking more white, so that they will get further ahead.
It is not a decision we make to treat white people better, it is more just the "feeling" that one person would be better at the job, without realizing what we're doing.
We don't think that one looks more white I'll hire them. It might be noted that it is not just white people who do this.
livinonfaith — December 5, 2009
This kind of thing just makes me sad.
There is a reason that people from different parts of the world look different. The shapes and features we have today are a direct result of the environmental and regional challenges that our ancestors faced thousands of years ago. As they spread out into every corner of the earth, many died of infection and harsh conditions before they could give birth to the next generation.
The shape of your nose could make a difference of life or death in a place where temperature dropped to negative double digits or soared into triple digits. The shape of an eyelid could be the only thing that protected you from the flying sand, ice or debris that could cause a life ending infection or blindness.
The color of your skin could be the only thing that protected you from horrendous burns in tropical places, or a lack of vitamin D in places with little sun.
Our features today are the result of thousands of years of survival. Up until a few generations ago, only the strongest, smartest and those most well adapted to their surroundings could survive to pass on their genes to the next generation. And because of their ability to survive, these people were also considered the most attractive, as mates, in their area.
So our features today are made up of the smartest, strongest, and most attractive people who ever walked the earth. But instead of seeing them as the gifts that they are, we hate them and change them to meet some strange "ideal".
Again, this makes me sad.
Sarah — December 5, 2009
Most plastic and reconstructive surgery has the aim of reaching towards an idealized appearance. While I can understand this kind of surgery for breathing problems (my mother-in-law often complains of having trouble breathing through her nose, which she attributes to it's flatness), it doesn't actually make them look "more caucasian" to me - rather, they look like Asian women who've had nose jobs.
Looking at this from a traditional Asian "ideal" aesthetic - for instance, having pale skin was popular in Asia long before "looking like a white person" was necessarily ideal - does anyone know if a narrower, elongated nose is part of the traditional "ideal" aesthetic? I ask because there's every possibility that this surgery isn't based on a desire to look like another race, but rather on a desire to attain an "ideal" appearance according to the standards of your own traditions.
Craig — December 5, 2009
Perhaps I'm just sensitive because I have a somewhat "underdeveloped nasal bridge" and a "nasal tip" that might also be considered a bit "round, wide," or even "bulbous." And of course, beauty is in the eye and no disputing tastes and all that...but you can count me with the group that thinks the "before" pictures are more attractive than the "afters," in which the faces look disharmonious and wildly out of balance. Does this sort of body modification really convey an advantage in life? I can't really know what my "blind" reaction would be to these people, but I can't help thinking that I just aesthetically _prefer_ their faces before they went to the time, trouble and expense of changing them.
julian — December 5, 2009
I'm confused about the bottom set of pictures. Is the red background "before" and the tan(ish) background "after"? Or are the top pictures "before" and the bottom "after"? Because the person with the red background doesn't even look like the person on the tan background, unless she had a handful of surgeries other than the rhinoplasty. The eyes are different and the tan-background face looks more angular (maybe she had lipo around her jaw and some cheek implants? I don't know).
Whatever the case is, the woman on the tan background reminded me of Sharon from BSG.
I agree with what Sarah said -- I'm not sure that there's really any amount of surgery that would completely erase any of these women being read as Asian, but it is/will become obvious that they have had cosmetic surgery. (Make of that what you will; I'm not sure it's my business to judge someone for it.)
Joshua — December 5, 2009
I'm all for people being able to modify their bodies if they want to, but cosmetic surgery always seems to be sold on a plate of externally-imposed self-hatred, which just makes me sad. There are so many BETTER reasons to cut yourself up, poke things into yourself, and otherwise change your body from the one you were born with!
Roxsie — December 5, 2009
Because Americans were the first white "ideal" people to go to East Asia and affect their attitudes and ideas of beauty.
And stop showing the rest of us up, Yank actually refers to a small proportion of the American population and even then it's derogatory in general use. I'm not America's biggest fan but not everything in the world is their fault. European colonisation has a lot to be blamed for too.
Jillian C. York — December 5, 2009
I'm sorry, but who perpetuated the idea of whiteness in Asia? Um, Europeans: The French, Dutch, and British who COLONIZED ASIAN COUNTRIES.
There's a lot wrong with America, but you're just being stupid.
Anonymous — December 5, 2009
Would you please stop going on about yanks every other post? It gets really frustrating, especially when it has very little to do with the post. I'm not from the USA and I don't really appreciate you constantly making everything about them.
Jamie — December 5, 2009
Get a new schtick, troll. Last time I checked white people lived in Europe, as well.
E — December 5, 2009
"A great and terrible shame but this is how it is"
It is a great and terrible shame that you hate yanks so much but continually visit a blog of the yank sociological association? And usually agree with the points it is making.
Crimson — December 6, 2009
I'm caucasian and live in Japan and my friend told me the other day that she's jealous of how I can see my own nose. I was caught between being amused (that she'd think about such a trivial thing) and saddened (because she'd think about such a trivial thing).
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Pauline — December 6, 2009
This is interesting - I'd actually been given the impression that non-asian 'big' noses were considered unattractive in asian countries. I used to read a lot of Japanese comics and every time they wanted to identify a character as an 'ugly foreigner' they would put this ginormous nose on their face.
The 'big eyes' thing is, I'm quite sure, an ancient ideal and probably has little to do with wanting to appear more Western. So these nose jobs really fascinate me.
But people have been altering their appearance to fit into trends for years and years and yeeears. I still get the shudders when I think of the Chinese women who would systematically break their own feet in order to make them smaller and more 'dainty'.
Steff — December 6, 2009
The sentiments being vented here are extremely common and not without validity. Unfortunately, though, they only account for one small part of the motivation behind deciding to seek ethnic plastic surgery. Two major but overlooked reasons behind Asians seeking rhinoplasty today have little to do with wanting to look "white," or Occidental, a fact that is especially true in the Orient.
In South Korea, for instance, the young population (age 15-30) could care less about looking European or American. Instead, they want to look exactly like their teenage pop sensations and 21 year old movie stars, almost all of whom have been operated on over and over by the age of 18 and are often described as looking like "alien clones" (which should probably be taken to mean neither Asian nor Occidental, "unnatural" EXCEPT when compared to each other to whom they bear an uncanny close resemblance).
Many (most) young South Koreans (and now the Chinese and Japanese, etc) want only to look like other Korean celebrities who they view as sexy and cool. But like Americans? Are you kidding? They would be insulted.
While this trend may have gotten started by wanting to look Western, it has now transcended that desire and taken on a life of its own, starting in South Korea and then washing over Asia--part of the "Korean Wave," which has nothing at all to do with California surfers.
One powerful force now perpetuating this movement is the aggressiveness of the Korean plastic surgeons. In the West, most plastic surgeons try to be considerate and politically correct in their advertising (although even that seems to be changing). Not so in Korea by a LONG shot. There, the surgeons will tell you to your face that you need double eyelids to have "pretty" eyes and an augmented nose to have a "pretty" nose. Forget terms like too short or too flat. In the Orient, terms like "ugly" to describe normal Asian features are used commonly on television, billboards, and the Internet.
I apologize for the length of this post, but do give the poor doctor mentioned in your main post a break. I doubt that he was trying to talk anyone into feeling inferior. He simply fell a little short at couching every phrase so it read as ethnically "correct."
Liyana T — December 7, 2009
There is something clearly wrong about our society (just like any other society duh). Malay society is equally similar to this and mothers actually force their children to pinch their noses while young to make it more 'white' or the ideal word 'manchung'. The ironic thing is aquiline noses is something the West disdain like no offence, Barbara Streisand's nose. Theres no escaping it, fair skin, long hair, coloured eyes and a good nose is something they would sell the soul for. I think I should send that picture of 'nipple whitening cream' that some women actually use. Apparently, black and dark brown nipples are something to be grossed about IDIOTS! I've had my hairdresser telling me that she has some sort of miracle soap that can turn dark nipples pink - I told her flat-out, shit, I like my black nipples thank you.
Christine Nectarine — December 7, 2009
I remember being surprised when I first learned that "Asian Rhinoplasty" existed, let alone that it was a trend. I'm a white woman, and as a child I always wished I had a more "asian" nose, because I thought that they were small, as opposed to my (what I thought) pointy nose. I therefore found them more "cute" and beautiful.
I've become comfortable with my nose and happy with my face. It makes me sad that so many people (mostly women) find it hard to feel the same.
Erika — December 8, 2009
I often find it rather odd that when stuff like this gets posted on the internet, a lot of white people -- typically women, talk about how much of a shame those poor Asian women aren't confident in themselves enough. Women everywhere go through the same bullshit regarding their looks, and are constantly told that they must be skinnier, blonder, bustier, etc. to fit into the ~*~beauty ideal~*~. It's not just because Asian women lack confidence. It's a much bigger issue that's ingrained in society.
Tadjio — December 8, 2009
When I first met my partner we were enlightened to find out that both of us thought we personally had "unattractive" noses, while admiring the other's nose as the peak of desirability. My partner, being Chinese, has a shorter and broader nose than mine, while I had a long, narrow, distinctly aquiline nose that I've probably inherited from my Jewish or Italian predecessors.
I'd always been self-conscious about my nose being generally too long and too tall (it got more proportional as I grew out of adolescence, but the self-consciousness remained) and was dumbfounded when my partner wanted to pet it like a toy while commenting on how "small" and "cute" it was. When I, very confused, pointed out that I had a positively enormous nose, my partner disagreed -- HIS nose (which was, to my perception, adorable and tiny) was the "big" one, and he hated it. Eventually we discovered that Asian noses are judged "big" or "small" by -width- (as they tend not to differ so much in length) while more caucasoid noses in the West are judged based on how far they protrude from the face.
I have to say it's improved our self-esteem to realize how arbitrary some of these "pretty/ugly" distinctions are. I'm not against rhinoplasty or most plastic surgery as a rule, but for a lot of the people pictured, the narrow elongated noses seem out of harmony with the rest of their faces (similar to what would result if my partner and I switched noses.) The exception might be the first woman pictured, but there's no front view to compare.
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Shae — December 9, 2009
Not to contribute to a discussion of what's "pretty", which one commenter rightly concluded doesn't help, but I'm baffled by why the second photos are supposed to be an improvement.
The "underdeveloped nasal brige" in particular, most noticable in the first pair of pictures, is a really strange judgement. It seems to me that even among white beauty contest contestants or what have you, that a deep dip there at the eyes, in profile view, is cute and young-looking.
Maybe these women are trying to look less "cute" and more "professional". But I just don't know. They only look barely different, and not for the better.
angela — January 26, 2010
whats your point. he did a good job! thank you for posting this, now I have a referral.
blork — March 19, 2010
they all look horrible...AFTER
Golshani Surgery — July 8, 2010
These are great pics to show how and what a nose job does to your face and how doctors perform their work
rhinoplasty melbourne — December 26, 2011
Individuals who are dissatisfied with their noses find it better to get a rhinoplasty, or a nose job. This is a procedure that improves the shape, width, and length of the nose, resulting to something that is more appropriate to that person’s profile.
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