changing faces asian plastic surgery david song beauty skin garance dore photos

8 years ago by

One day, Garance and I were talking about some of the crazy and surprising things we’ve been noticing recently in the beauty industry. Something that’s been pretty striking is the increasing popularity of plastic surgery in Asia, and even the Asian community here in the US.

It’s something I’m a little familiar with, having family from the Philippines — tattooed makeup, minor plastic surgery or lip fillers are a little more commonplace there than they are here! And our amazing intern Nicole (who we all love!) has a Korean background, and told us a little about the acceptance of plastic surgery there.

But it’s not something you hear everyone talking about, so we decided to look a little deeper. Our research led us to Dr. David Song, the President of the America Society of Plastic Surgeons who has a special interest in this topic as a Korea-born American. Speaking to him brought so much to light that I hadn’t known before, a really fascinating and insightful look into a rarely exposed corner of the beauty world…


What is your background in plastic surgery and how did you come to focus much of your attention on Asian-centric plastic surgery procedures?

So, I’m Korean-American. I was born in Korea and came here when I was three years old, and grew up in Los Angeles. I never thought I would go into plastic surgery. I went to UCLA Medical School and, during the first few operations, I saw someone reattaching a finger and, to me, that was the coolest thing ever. So that was what led me into plastic surgery, from the get go, which is microsurgery. Most of what I do currently is reconstructive micro-surgery, breast reconstruction is really my main focus.

I’ve done a lot of speaking on Asian aesthetic surgery from the academic side, and what this means socially. I’m the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons so that has taken a greater focus quite frankly just because Asian influence and Asian culture and popular culture has really become global. It’s sort of a convergence of forces; as the Korean pop culture and Asian culture has become more and more globalized, so has the importance of aesthetics, and then, of course, aesthetic surgery.

South Korea has really been at the center of Aesthetic surgery in Asia for quite some time now and, as you probably know, cosmetic surgery in South Korea is extremely common and prevalent. So that’s how I got interested in all this.

Asian culture has become more and more globalized, so has the importance of aesthetics, and then, of course, aesthetic surgery.

And what exactly falls under the banner of Asian plastic surgery, can you explain what are the most popular procedures?

A lot of Asian-centric plastic surgery revolves mostly around facial aesthetic surgery. There’s an increase in breast aesthetics and body contouring, but still the most popular procedures are in the face: eyelid surgery, nasal surgery, facial bone surgery. Those are very common and prevalent across Asia.

What exactly does an operation like the eyelid surgery involve?

Specifically in Korea, approximately 25 to 40 percent have a crease in their upper eyelid but most don’t. So many are looking to create a crease in the upper eyelid, creating a crease in the upper eyelid to give the appearance of a softer look. In the past it’s been confused with Asians trying to look Occidental or Caucasian and, quite frankly, is not that at all. Many Asians do not want to look Caucasian; they want to look more like their Asian counterparts. The standard of beauty has become softer features with a crease in the upper eyelid. I think that has been the biggest misconception and I hope you can emphasize that. It’s not Asians trying to look Caucasian; it’s Asians trying to look more like what’s celebrated in Asia.

I think that has been the biggest misconception and I hope you can emphasize that. It’s not Asians trying to look Caucasian; it’s Asians trying to look more like what’s celebrated in Asia.

What would you say is at the most extreme end of the scale in terms of number of surgeries and lengths that someone would go to?

It’s not necessarily the number of surgeries; it’s the surgeries that are more invasive. Like narrowing the facial width by cutting into the facial bones. That’s a pretty dramatic surgery, and that can change completely someone’s identity. So you combine that with rhinoplasty, which is a nasal surgery, and upper eyelid crease creation, then you literally change someone’s identity. They aren’t recognizable from their previous self. And there have been some issues where Chinese people who have been too creative with surgery have to come back with some sort of affidavit stating they are who they are because they look so different from their past pictures. That’s a pretty dramatic change in appearance.

…there have been some issues where Chinese people who have been too creative with surgery have to come back with some sort of affidavit stating they are who they are because they look so different from their past pictures.

How do you think it impacts their identity culturally?

It’s so difficult to comment on that because everyone has their own personal reasons for doing surgery it. I think many people do it to gain more acceptance and then, sometimes, they find that they look so different that their friends and family don’t recognize who they are. And other times it’s celebrated because it’s a way of transforming into your true beautiful self. Some would actually say that your external appearance matches your inner beauty. That’s talked about a lot in Korea.

So would you say that having plastic surgery is, overall, viewed as a positive thing within certain Asian communities?

It’s definitely not a negative stigma anymore. Is it a positive thing? It’s hard to say because it is so personal. I was struck by, just a week ago, walking around an area called Apgujeong-dong where many of the plastic surgery clinics are concentrated in the Gangnam of Seoul. I probably saw half a dozen patients walking around with bandages around their foreheads and splints on their nose shopping. It’s really not something that’s secretive or hidden.

It’s really not something that’s secretive or hidden.

Outside of Korea where are seeing the growing popularity of being open about plastic surgery most commonly?

China, for sure. And to be clear there are many, many Chinese coming to Korea for their surgeries. I think that there are new statistics out by our society saying that China by 2020 maybe will be the third most prevalent cosmetic surgery nation in the world. That’s just within our news today: plastic surgery in China is predicted to hit 125 billion by 2019 for the third largest market.

What is the age range of people having these surgeries? What stage of their life are people having these surgeries?

Once again it’s an entire spectrum of older patients wanting to look rejuvenated, younger patients wanting to change and enhance their facial and body features. I’ve seen people that are in their late teens, 17 or 18. Then of course someone who is in their 80s. I would say it’s more concentrated with the 20s and 30s and probably more prevalent amongst women.

Do you think social media has had any impact on increasing the popularity and acceptance of plastic surgery in Asia?

For sure. It’s also a commonplace thing to see on TV – in most dramas and movies, as well as everyday news. Ten to fifteen years ago it wasn’t necessarily that prevalent in the media but now it’s everywhere. You see advertisements in the subway, you see advertisements in magazines. You see columns written about it, blogs written about it, and obviously on network TV as well in Korea.

It’s also a commonplace thing to see on TV – in most dramas and movies, as well as everyday news.

And these people who are selling plastic surgery procedures, the models and the actors and the spokespeople, are they usually people who have had operations themselves?

Many yes, and many will actually talk about it. Some will not talk about it. Not to be purposefully vague, it’s just a personal decision. It spans an entire spectrum of people that are well known to have had plastic surgery and people who don’t want to talk about it but clearly have had plastic surgery to maybe some that have not have plastic surgery.

Would you say it’s less taboo to talk about work that you might have had done in Asian countries than in Western countries?

I think so. I think particularly in Korea and in China because the incidents and the prevalence of cosmetic surgery is high, relatively speaking to the States, it’s less taboo and less taboo and stigmatized to talk about.

When did you really started to see more people in the Asian community here in the US embracing it in the same way that you have seen in Asia?

It has been a steady rise. I would say that 7 or 8 years ago is when we started to see an increase in Asian patients and now annually it’s been a steady rise in Asian patients looking for aesthetic enhancements and aesthetic surgery.

What are the risks involved in having procedures like this? The narrowing of the jaw and the eyelid procedure and other procedures that falls under this Asian-centric plastic surgery banner…

For any aesthetic surgery, people have to know that it’s real surgery. I think there’s a misconception. The flip side of the coin is that when the stigma is taken away and the taboo is taken away, the dangers and complications are glossed over and it’s glamorized. So it is real surgery. It’s real anesthesia. There are real potential complications related to it including bleeding, effects on vision. Particularly when it comes to jaw surgery, your teeth not lining up properly. Complications such as infection. It’s been reported that people have anesthesia reactions that aren’t talked about. Those are the extreme rare situations but these patients have to know that this is real surgery.

The flip side of the coin is that when the stigma is taken away and the taboo is taken away, the dangers and complications are glossed over and it’s glamorized.

What is the recovery time like for operations like the narrowing of the jaw?

The narrowing of the jaw the facial bones are actually cut and plated. There are plates and screws that are used to put them back together. This can mean 6 weeks before they see semblance to return to normalcy. For things like eyelid surgery it’s less, probably 2-3 weeks. For nasal surgery some say it take several months to get a stable long-term result because of the swelling, so it does vary.

What do you, personally, feel are the benefits of having a procedure like this?

Well, the benefits are extremely personal. For patients it varies from self-esteem, to confidence, to feeling much better about themselves – and that’s the real reason to do this type of surgery or any other type of cosmetic enhancement. Generally the patients we see that have long term results that they are very happy with are patients that do it for themselves.

What do these procedures cost?

It varies. Eyelid surgery can be in the low $1,000 – $2,000 range. Facial bone surgery can be upwards of $25,000 dollars. Rhinoplasty is somewhere in between.

Why do you think this is becoming a more prevalent practice now more than ever?

I think that just media attention and the ability to have consultations and travel. I think you are seeing a rising middle class and a rising wealthy class in China, for example. You are seeing the rise in the digital age and importance of image more so than maybe 20 years ago. And just greater awareness across media, both Internet and more traditional media outlets you are seeing greater exposure to aesthetic surgery. So, I think a combination of all those factors is what’s driving the rise of cosmetic surgeries in Asia.

You are seeing the rise in the digital age and importance of image more so than maybe 20 years ago.

Finally, do you have any advice; physical, mental or otherwise, for someone who is considering one of these procedures?

I think the advice that I would give is to seek someone that’s a member of the American society of plastic surgeons. Do your homework. Make sure to build a rapport with your surgeon and ensure that your surgeon knows what your motivations are, what your expectations are, and what the potential risks and complications can be. I think that’s the most important thing. People spend more time researching their hair salon than their plastic surgeon unfortunately and that has to change. This is real surgery with real potential complications, it’s a serious endeavor and they should do their homework.

People spend more time researching their hair salon than their plastic surgeon unfortunately and that has to change.

Photo: Erik Melvin


Add yours
  • Changing your face is not accepting who you are …(i ‘m not talking about small arrangements…nose.. wrinkles..)
    before you are going to do something so important with your face i think you should see what is really behind this…
    and if it will really change your life or will be a fantasy for a short period and than the same problems will come back and hunt you….
    what makes us beautiful it’s the imperfections we have!!!
    Embrace your imperfections…
    with love
    Yael Guetta

  • Yes, I’m with you! But I also think it’s always such a personal decision. I think, mainly, that people should do what makes them happy – as long as they really take the time to make their decision and do it safely :)

  • surgery scares me! i’ll be 40 soon but i still do not consider it an option… :)

  • Merci pour cet article super intéressant.
    Je trouve ça complètement fou d’avoir recours à des opérations chirurgicales lourdes, risquées pour changer complètement de visage (et à des fins esthétiques évidemment), au point de ne plus être reconnu…
    Notre société actuelle accord tellement d’importance à l’image. C’est dommage! On a tous et toutes des parties de notre corps qu’on aime, d’autres moins. Au final, c’est ça qui nous rend tous différents, c’est ça qui fait la diversité:) Un monde où on se ressemblerait tous, quelle horreur!

    Petite and So What?

  • Lisa Walker December, 10 2015, 11:49 / Reply

    Rachel Weiss Was recently quoted as saying, half-heartedly– Botox should be banned (she then retracted, saying, it is personal, and she has no real opinion on what others do). I don’t think it should be banned but I do think that it is a reflection of body dysmorphic disorder, and probably enables more of the same. It’s a psychiatric disease that it so pervasive in American culture it’s frighting. We seem to get farther and farther away from what true beauty and self-worth should be– appreciating and accepting who you are.

  • Such an interesting comment, great food for thought. You’ve inspired me to delve even a little deeper!

  • This was very insightful – specifically the reason why Asians may want to get an eyelid crease and how it’s not to resembles Caucasians. I admit, I had misconceived this prior to reading this post!

    So all in all, great interview :)

  • Thanks so much, Thuy!

  • I am not at all convinced by these justifications and I wonder how these people’s children will feel when they realise they don’t look like their parents. This mass pressure sounds awful.

  • I agree. I’m not sure, in any case, that making an eyelid crease for a “softer look” is a less troubling motive than the desire to look more Caucasian. Both rationales stem from cultural assumptions that posit the “other” as more attractive.

  • Your comment on parents & children brings to mind a real circus of a news headline last year over on this side of the world. It was about a couple (I think they were Chinese) who ended up divorcing after their first child was born. The kid looked very different from the two of them, which led the husband to find out his wife had extreme plastic surgery done before they had met & hadn’t told him about it.

    Regarding the eye creases though, wanting to have them is sometimes a way to fit in. Where I’m from in the Philippines, almost everyone you meet is born with them & I remember some friends who didn’t have them getting ribbed about it in school. Not necessarily a good reason to get them, but it’s an interesting culture quirk.

  • I agree. Awful

  • I keep feeling concerned about the growing popularity of surgery with young women. I remember how much more insecure I felt as a young person and would hate to see women turning to surgery as a bandaid for self esteem. Let’s celebrate our individual looks and the beauty that shines from within. I might be singing a different tune when I want my sagging skin lifted…but that seems a bit different than changing the look I was born with.

  • Une phrase m’a fait froid dans le dos : “allonger le visage en intervenant sur les os du visage.” Je pense qu’avant toute chirurgie esthetique lourde, le patient devrait consulter un psy afin de connaitre les vraies raisons de ce desir.
    J’ai rencontre un chirurgien qui m’a dit que nombre de ses patients (femmes et hommes) venaient le voir avec une photo de leur acteur(trice) prefere(e) pour obtenir un visage similaire !

  • Katherine December, 10 2015, 4:02 / Reply

    I too am not convinced by the doctor’s justifications. I suspect the popularity of an eyelid crease in Korea is related to it looking more Caucasian. Yes, Korean’s get the procedure to look like what is preferable in Korea, but why is that look preferable….because it looks “less asian?”

  • As an Asian I have to disagree with you saying double eyelid is preferable coz it is less Asian. As the doctor stated, 25-40% of Korean have a crease and the percentage is even higher in, say China. So it’s not a feature that soley belongs to Caucasian. It’s preferable simply coz it’s considered the standard of beauty. Just like long hair and how it’s preferable among women.
    So the question is why Asians are more confined to the standard of beauty.

  • As an Asian I have to disagree with you saying having an eyelid crease is less Asian. As the doctor stated, 25-40% of Korean have a crease and the percentage is higher in, say China. So it’s not a feature that solely belongs to Caucasian. It’s just more celebrated and considered the standard of beauty. Just like long hair and how it’s preferable among women in most parts of the world. The question is why Asians are more confined to the standard of beauty.

  • I definitely disagree with this comment. As an asian american, there is a clear and distinct type of beauty of Asia that is NOT based on the Caucasian profile. If anything, it is quite different. Asians prefer a soft, cute and elegant beauty that typically presents as a small face with soft lines. The american ideal is much more sharp and mature. It actually really annoys me how people assume just because asians want double eyelids that MUST mean they want to look like Caucasians. Like the surgeon and other people have mentioned, plenty of asian people have double eyelids (including myself).

  • Wrong, no, saying all East Asians who get eyelid srgery is to look white is like telling dieting white women who wear cat eye makeup thry want to look Chinese. Get the Occidental bias in check. Maybe travel and interacting with other cultures not just being a tourist would help. Or a venn diagram of some common traits (large eyes, non-obesity, straight hair, no bump on the nose bridget, etc.) and how they occur naturally in all ethnic groups. Ought to be an article on Jewish and Persian girls’ 16th birthday gifts or South American beauty pageant surgerical packages, come to think of it, would be a compelling series.

  • I respect different people’s ideas and beliefs and whatever they decide with their lives is their business. Even though I find it sad that we live in a world that people feel in order to fit in and be accepted they have to change themselves.

    I enjoyed the posts because it gave me insights into something I don’t know much about. Asia is such an interesting place to explore because it’s like a lab where people experiment a lot with identity, there’s a paradox of innovation and deep tradition, as well as some “weird” (to my eyes) distortions of the way we currently live, but might be how we will end up if we continue in the path we are in.

    One thing I didn’t like is that I found some of the arguments the doctor used (especially taking into account that he is such an esteem doctor) to be a little too superficial like “people in asia change their eyelids to fit in more to their standard of beauty not look like Caucasians” (I’m paraphrasing here), but if we try to understand WHY that’s the standard of beauty over there and the roots of it, it could be that we arrive to the original conclusion. Then again this could be might sceptic eye speaking (sorry for the pun) and limiting my openness. Also he gave 3 reasons to why people do plastic surgery, but to me it sounded like he was repeating the same thing: self-esteem, confidence and feeling better about yourself. It felt a little like platitude, as if he couldn’t find enough reasons to justify the need for the surgery itself, but needed to sound like their are many reasons for it. Unless there are subtle differences I don’t really understand between the three points that would make it three separate reasons. I liked however, the advise he gave in making sure the doctor and patient clearly understand the patients motivations, expectations and the potential risks and complications, as well as highlighting that this is real surgery and not a visit to the spa for a facial.

  • One thing I forgot to add is that it’s a shame all these radical surgeries are going on, because I find asian features so beautiful!

  • I really love your view on this, I think we have a very similar take! I’m glad you enjoyed this post, and thank you for your comment. We always love to hear feedback.

  • Also, instead of massive trends for plastic surgery what we need is a massive campaign of self-acceptance and of valuing our unique features and the character that our supposed imperfections give us. This is what needs to be pushed on tv shows, etc so it becomes the standard that everyone aspires to, and not being “beautiful” get destigmatized.

  • Yes, so right! Love that idea.

  • I find it quite offensive that some of the (presumably) Caucasian commenters doubt the surgeon’s clarification that the popularity of double eyelids has nothing to do with Caucasians. Why does everything have to be about you and about your standard of beauty? People in Asia coveted white skin long before there was even contact with white people, they might just as well have always admired double eyelids. I’m not a proponent of those surgeries, but projecting your own narrow minded view on other people is not helping here. Not everyone wants to be white, deal with it.

  • I totally agree! Asians definitely have their own standard of beauty but if someone cannot appreciate the nuances within Asian features (aka, all asians look the same) then it might be easier to assume double eyelids equals a non-asian feature. However, as the surgeon stated a large percentage of asians have double eyelids including myself. The simplest way I can point out the flawed logic is for example … if most americans are obese but Asians aren’t… then the standard of beauty to be thin amongst Americans MUST mean they want to look like Asians.

    Jeez, get over yourselves.

  • The issue with elective plastic surgery is that people have it, as this doctor admits, in order to feel better about themselves. Then afterwards, they look different, but they haven’t changed the way they feel inside. The problem lies within, it can’t be fixed from the outside.

  • This post was interesting. As an Asian myself based in the Philippines, I have many friends, family, & coworkers who’ve had work done & do talk about it. Every day on the way to work, I drive past billboards of famous plastic surgeons & see ads for them in the newspaper & fashion magazines. It’s a culture thing, I guess.

    I do agree that it’s not about looking more Caucasian in general, which I notice some people are skeptical about. For instance, where I’m from, almost everyone has natural eye creases & they’re certainly not Caucasian. Come to think of it, some people I know who don’t have the creases sometimes get ribbed about it by friends, particularly while growing up.

    Food for thought. :)

  • Hi Daisy!
    Thanks for commenting, always insightful to hear from someone who is living day to day within that cultural scope. My mom’s family is from the Philippines and I travel there quite a lot (which I mentioned in the post), and yes — it definitely feels like it’s far more openly talked about there than it is here in the US and other countries. As Dr. Song said, it seems that Korea and China are where it’s most prevalent, though.
    I hate to hear that people are ribbed by their friends about the eyelid crease.

  • Vraiment très intéressant! Merci.

  • Anonymous December, 11 2015, 3:14 / Reply

    In India and Africa women use household bleach to lighten there skin. It’s universal to want what you can’t have. What’s sad is to hurt yourself and go through pain/hell just to get people to like you. I regret the tattoo I got as a 18 yrs old….not because of the design…because of the AWFUL pain. It baffles me to think money and excrutiating pain and time to heal is worth all the ‘so-called’ aproval from others. Stupid… Fucking stupid… I wish i had spent that time/money on travel, savings or some Amazing jewelry!

  • post très intéressant et qui reflète l’évolution de la société actuelle : un besoin de changement dans tous les domaines notamment l’apparence.

  • Merci, vos interviews avec des experts sont toujours passionnantes !
    Je ne sais pas quoi penser de la chirurgie esthétique. Bien sur, comme il dit, “Pour les patients, c’est souvent une question de confiance en soi, d’amour propre, c’est pour se sentir mieux dans sa peau”. Mais derrière ça, est-ce que se trouver beau ou se plaire est important ? Si oui, pour quelles raisons ? Est-ce que ça ne pas vraiment se plaire ferait partie d’un travail important à faire sur soi afin que tout ne soit pas simple ou acquis ? Est-ce que ne pas faire ce travail a un impact sur la santé psychique ? Pourquoi veut-on se plaire extérieurement, si déjà on s’aime intérieurement ? Est-ce que si on s’aime intérieurement ça se voit extérieurement ? (là je pense que oui) Est-ce qu’on peut se tromper sur l’apparence qu’on croit donner ? Est-ce que c’est pas plutôt un avantage de ne pas montrer forcément sa personnalité intérieure à l’extérieur afin de garder une part privée ou encore une part de mystère ? Est-ce que c’est bien que l’intérieur soit à l’extérieur ? Et enfin, je trouve que les chirurgiens ont tous les mêmes canons de beauté et produisent tous la même chose, ce qui donnent des gens transformés qui finissent tous par se ressembler, je trouve cette perte de diversité dommage. Comment ne pas plier sous les canons de beauté d’un chirurgiens ou de son temps ? Comment dire à un chirurgien “je veux être moi” sans dire oui mais avec le nez de machin, les pommettes de bidule, les yeux de truc ? C’est à dire un patchwork d’autres personnes et non plus soi même ?
    Voilà je ne sais pas comment répondre à tout ça, ce sont des sujets profonds. Qu’en pensez-vous ?

    Un truc qui me gêne vraiment, c’est l’aspect assez définitif, comme le tatouage. Une transformation physique qui s’en irait comme une couleur chez le coiffeur, ça me plairait beaucoup plus ! Entrer dans la peau d’un autre personnage juste un temps et changer quand on veut.

  • Merci :)

  • Insightful post!
    I regret reading some of the reactions here. Let’s all agree that this is a cultural thing and if you’re accustomed to the Western culture, don’t criticize other cultures just because you don’t understand it.
    I am not for cosmetical surgery, but I’m not against it either. Every person is entitled to their own opinion and you have the right to do with your body whatever you want. If something has to change, it’s the media. Too often are magazines showing women in small sizes and perfectly made up faces, leaving out the opportunity to show natural beauty. Too often are Caucasians being picked as ‘role models’. What about Asians? Africans? ;)

  • Agreed! Thank you :)

  • The “statistics” seem mis-represented. It is strange for Dr. Song to group all Asians together as the aesthetic ideal greatly varies from nation to nation and even within a nation, particularly in a colossal country such as China. There are far more people born with creased eyelids in some Asian nations than others. Furthermore, the number of Chinese who have undergone plastic surgery may sound high, but it is a tiny percentage of the population. This is incomparable to South Korea, who has a smaller population but is said that 1:3 adult has undergone plastic surgery in some way, shape or form.

    I will reserve any thoughts of plastic surgery until I am in the later stages of my life. No matter whether you are for or against it, vive la difference!

  • Folks often say, “I’m against botox or plastic surgery but I don’t judge other people for doing it.” Well I have no problem judging other people for doing it (and the plastic surgery industry too) and here’s why. Botox (and surgery) takes things that are normal and makes them pathology, something that needs to be corrected or cured. Botox especially pushes the needle further away from what a normal face looks and acts like. The more folks who use botox, the more frozen faces look normal to us. Aging and wrinkles are what’s normal. Its the frozen faces, or smooth foreheads on wrinkly necks that’s freakish-looking. Years ago, I was in Ireland watching TV and I thought the Irish newscasters looked strange and I couldn’t figure out why. Then it hit me. They had natural faces (no blinding white capped teeth, faces that actually showed lines when they talked) and I realized that living in the US, I was so accustomed to seeing distorted faces on TV that when I saw a natural one, it was striking. Anyway, this argument equally applies to softball breasts on the clavicle, blinding-white chicklet teeth, and eyebrows as high as our hairline. To those who argue these procedures enhance someone’s self-esteem, I argue “stop looking at the mirror and focus on the inside.” I blame advertisers and plastic surgeons more than individuals who are susceptible to such influences, but make no mistake, distorting female beauty standards this way harms us all….

  • Dermatologist here. I’d have to disagree. If any procedure (botox or surgery) is considered pathological because it is not natural, then what would you say about oral braces, cosmetics in general, and medicine?

    Everything in moderation with a skilled practitioner makes the difference between an unnatural look and a natural one. Of course people will notice the bad work out there but you’d be surprised how much work is actually being done across the board.

  • I’m with Terry.

    I used to work in Europe a lot, in various countries, and I always felt happiness on seeing the presentation of women on TV, etc. —they were allowed to be human beings. I imagine it’s changed a bit, but I hope not too much: plastic surgery is a real American disease.

    While I’m not completely comfortable with the cosmetic aspect of Dr Song’s profession, I appreciate his seriousness of approach.

  • I am very skeptical at the reasoning offered for plastic surgery to create a crease.
    They are changing their eyelids to conform to a beauty standard that is not entirely asian?
    Sure some asians have less hooded eyelids than others, but the surgery I see is to create a deeper more western crease to suit a more traditionally western aesthetic.

    Also, hooded eyes are a much softer look than eyes with a crease. This “to get a softer look” reason …Give me a break.

  • I am not against plastic surgery at all, as long as it is done well and people are owning it.

  • Too often the misconception is having surgery to achieve that tall, aquiline nose or those round, deep-set eyes. I have had blepharoplasty and to me it was about enhancing one’s features and “not about trying to look Caucasian”. It was so important that your article highlighted that! Thank you! I appreciate that the diversity of beauty is now being celebrated.

    I wish you can take Garance to the Philippines. I have deep respect and admiration for how she has evolved (I started following her in early 2009)– truly a role model! Keeping my fingers crossed for that day when I will see an invitation on my Inbox to meet your whole team! :D


  • Thanks for this insightful article.

    It’s true that stereotypical Caucasian looks, like white skin and double eyelids, are often admired by Asians. There are many reasons for this, but one major reason is simply because these features conform to traditional Asian ideals. These traditional standards of beauty existed long before Asians encountered Caucasian people, European colonialism or white-skin worshiping media. Caucasians just happen to conform to a pre-existing Asian ideal in some – but certainly not all – aspects.

    The other thing to point out is that no amount of eyelid surgery will make an Asian person appear Caucasian – not even close – and we are quite well aware of that. I have natural eyelid creases, but like most other East Asians, my crease is very narrow and sits below my socket line. In contrast, the typical Caucasian eyelid crease is much wider and normally sits ON the socket line. Asian women who go for eyelid surgery will usually get eyelid creases that resemble my (definitely Asian) eyelid creases, not the typical Caucasian one.

    Which is to say, white people: stop trying to make everything about you.

  • This ” white people stop making it all about you” comment is unnecessary and very typical internet comment thing to say. Caucasians are not the only race that have creases in their eyes. what concerns me is specifically Asian women altering a distinctly Asian feature. When it is done for reasons that have to do with coforming to difficult standards of beauty, I think its sad.

  • You wrote in your post “what concerns me is specifically Asian women altering a distinctly Asian feature.” Please keep in mind that the term “Asian” includes many people of differing backgrounds and nationalities with distinct phenotypes. I would be hesitant to say “Asian” features and would feel more comfortable using a more specific term – preferably referring to the facial feature itself. Indian women, Chinese women, Thai women, Japanese women, Korean women (and the list could go on) can all have very different facial features.

  • Within the context of the article, I rely in the intelligence of the reader to know that when I mean when I say distinctly Asian feature.
    I will give an example:
    A South Korean woman with hooded, asian eyes, surgically altering them to appeal to a standard of beauty that does not embrace her look, is unfortunate.

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