Friday, December 16, 2005

Ethnic self hate, the quest to reach for White Beauty

The other day I was watching a documentary on AZN about Asian women wanting plastic surgery to make them look more western (ie White).

The basic reason these women gave to why they wanted to change the way they looked is because they want to fit the Westernized standard of beauty. The reason why they want to fit more into the mode of western Whiteness may either be because they have been bombard with the ideal beauty pushed by the media or even because someone or people in there family push it onto them.

As I was watching this I realized that the ideal that the ideal beauty takes on more Caucasian characteristics is something that looms over many people and can have a strong effect on the self image of non-whites.

For example I know from an African American perspective that there have been in the past whole industries of products made to make on look whiter. Any thing form lye used to burn hair straight to skin lighting creams (which I remember reading a few years ago that similar products are being used in Africa). In fact even today there are Blacks who use plastic surgery to change their noises or lips.

And thinking about that something else hit me. Even thought the media mostly pushes whiteness as the standard of beauty it sometimes also absorbs little bits of characteristic of other ethnic groups. So although you get a Black person who want thinner lips, because they want to look more Caucasian, you also have White person want to fuller lips. Something that is more characteristic of people of African descent.

So now I am wondering does this mean that there are going to be a number of non-Asians wanting to look Asian. So as where the women in the doc wanted to get a fold placed in their eyelids to look more western, will there also be a number of people not of Asian descent wanting to get the folds removed from their eyelids so they look a bit more “exotic”.

If this isn’t happening already I would bet that it is only a matter of time that it does.

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