Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plastic Surgery in Ethnic Groups

 Updated 3/2017-- photos and all links (except to my own posts) removed as many no longer active.

Earlier this week @hrana twitted this:
News: Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look - Don't get me started on this topic. #health
The link is to the CNN article by Kyung Lah:  Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look
The article is an interview of a 12 yo Korean girl, her mother, and Dr Kim Byung-gun (head of Seoul, South Korea's biggest plastic surgery clinic, BK DongYang).
The young girl doesn’t like her eyes and wants to have a double fold created in her eyelids to give her a more western look.

Is it wrong to want to look like another ethnic group rather than your own?  Are you slighting your heritage or family if you chose to change your eyes, your nose, etc?
I was taught, as a surgeon, the neoclassical canons of facial attractiveness (1st reference below).  These don’t necessarily translate well into all ethnic groups (ie Asians, African-American).  Neither does the Marquardt facial mask. 
Media and the cross-culture of our society affects the idea of beauty.  M. Jain in her college paper (3rd reference below) notes “that women of different generations and locations have felt the globalization of a Western ideal- skinny, "white" features, tall, and non-curvaceous body.”
Is it a form of self-hatred to want to change the identifying ethnic trait -- Asian eyelids, Mediterranean nose (ie Roman), African-American nose?  Is this somehow different than someone who wants more hair, wants bigger/smaller breasts, fuller buttocks, anti-aging cosmetic surgery?

1.  History and Current Concepts in the Analysis of Facial Attractiveness; Bashour, Mounir; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 118(3):741-756, September 1, 2006.
2.  Ethnic trends in facial plastic surgery; Sturm-O'Brien AK, Brissett AE, Brissett AE; Facial Plast Surg. 2010 May;26(2):69-74. Epub 2010 May 4.
3.  The Cultural Implications of Beauty; Meera Jain; course paper at Bryn Mawr College, Spring 2005
4.  Differences in perceptions of beauty and cosmetic procedures performed in ethnic patients; Talakoub L, Wesley NO; Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2009 Jun;28(2):115-29. (pdf file)
5.  The Legacy of Narcissus; Scott Isenberg, J.; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 110(7):1815, December 2002
6.  Putting Beauty Back in the Eye of the Beholder; Little, Anthony; Perrett, David; The Psychologist Vol 15 No 1, January 2002 (pdf file)
7.  Physical appearance and cosmetic medical treatments: physiological and socio-cultural influences; Sarwer DB, Magee L, Clark V; J Cosmet Dermatol. 2003 Jan;2(1):29-39.
8.  Motivating factors for seeking cosmetic surgery: a synthesis of the literature; Haas CF, Champion A, Secor D; Plast Surg Nurs. 2008 Oct-Dec;28(4):177-82.
9.  Correlates of Young Women’s Interest in Obtaining Cosmetic Surgery; Charlotte N. Markey & Patrick M. Markey; Sex Roles (2009) 61:158–166; DOI 10.1007/s11199-009-9625-5 (pdf file)
10. Orthodox Jewish Law (Halachah) and Plastic Surgery; Westreich, Melvyn; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 102(3):908-913, September 1998

1 comment:

Chrysalis said...

This kind of thing breaks my heart. What is considered beautiful changes. Different eras value different things. If only we could learn self acceptance.

I, personally, would find it boring if we all looked like carbon copies of each other. Here these sweet girls are wanting to undergo this, while American women are using eyeliner to change the shape of their eyes.

I feel, women of any culture always seem to carry the burden in relation to their looks, and how the world perceives them. Self acceptance is very rare. Women are always feeling the pressure to live up to the world's standards.

We need to instill self acceptance into our little girls. Confidence, self acceptance, and the power to be just who God made them to be.