Every year the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery tracks trends in the cosmetic surgery industry. This year the organization says an increasing number of Asian women are inquiring about procedures to ‘Westernize’ their appearance. Facial features like the eyes and nose are the most popular features to alter. Surgeries like a double eyelid surgery, which opens eyes and creates a crease in the lid, are in high demand. Rhinoplasty, commonly referred to as a nose job, is also popular. The procedure rounds out the nostrils and offers a more distinct nose.
In some cases, Asian parents are pushing their children to have these procedures done at an early age. At 14-years-old Danielle Ho’s parents offered to pay for a new nose. “In south-east Asia, there is an obsession with having a high-bridged nose, large creases on the eyelids and high cheekbones. I grew up with the idea that you’d look better if you had those features,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “The idea is to give the nose a bit more height which does several things: it anchors the mid-face, draws the eyes closer together, creates a shadow line down the side of the nose and actually makes the face look much more mature,” a plastic surgeon told the Vancouver Sun.
Jang Hyu-hee, another parent, took her 12-year-old, Lee Ming-kyong, to a surgeon for a double eyelid surgery. “I’m having her do it,” Jang told CNN, “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.” Ming-kyong, who is a young ballet dancer, told reporters, “I’m excited. I think I’ll look better than I do now.”
Dr. Kim Byung-gun, the head of Seoul, South Korea’s biggest plastic surgery clinic, BK DongYang, says he sees this scenario play out in his office everyday. Whether its parents or adults, Byung-gun says Western features are commonly requested. “They always tell me they don’t like their faces,” he says explaining what his patient’s request prior to surgery. “They want to have some westernized, nice faces. They want to have big eyes like westernized people, high profile, and nicer noses.” Byung-gun says American culture is currently dominating beauty trends and is a driving force encouraging women to make surgical changes. “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.”
Double eyelid surgery has been performed for years, but rhinoplasy is a more recent procedure. In any case, a board-certified surgeon should be consulted to ensure the procedure is performed safely and accurately.