Imagine a culture where plastic surgery was actually encouraged, expected, passed on through generations, and even given as graduation gifts. Whilst you might automatically think of Hollywood (Hollywood is it’s own little bubble, so we don’t count it!) – there is a society where this is happening on an even grander scale! One in five South Korean women have had plastic surgery, compared with one in 20 American women. And, according to the latest figures, Australians spend more on cosmetic procedures per capita than Americans. But we still don’t compare to South Korea, or the Asians in general. Why?
Does being beautiful mean you’re successful?
More than any other ethnic group, Koreans and Asians see being beautiful as being successful. And their beautiful is not necessarily to look more “western” but to better fit the “universal beauty” look. What is universally considered beautiful? It is generally agreed by cultures all over the world that open eyes, a perfectly shaped nose, full lips and a slim, oval shaped face are the characteristics that help to make someone appear more “beautiful”. Whether this is because of the bombardment of Western media or not, it remains a fact. And in Asia, or especially South Korea, being beautiful means better chances of jobs, finding a wealthy husband, and many other benefits. Of course, for better or worse, this tends to be the case in varying degrees all over the world. However, having cosmetic surgery to reach the ideal is definitely more commonplace in Asian countries such as Korea. For many young girls, it’s absolutely expected that when they reach a certain age, they will have surgery to enhance their appearance.
We asked Dr Lionel Chang, Plastic Surgeon based in Burwood, NSW who specialises in Asian plastic surgery, to talk us through some differences between Asian plastic surgery and more western style plastic surgery. You can also watch the video here.
Dr Chang Says, “I think it’s common knowledge that many Asians have a more slit-like, very narrow eye appearance. That they lack this secondary eye fold that most Caucasians have. But in fact, most Asians have that fold, but it is a bit low. It is so low that the skin hooding comes down and covers it. Sometimes it depresses the eyelashes so you can’t even see the eyelashes. When you lift that up, you create a second fold. You open up the eye, the eyelashes become visible, and that make them look more attractive. It also gives them a chance to put eyeliner on; create more interesting scenery so to speak, because you have more features. I think all these things add up to make them look more attractive. I think Asians, like everybody else, want to look better, or beautiful. I don’t think they want to look like the Caucasians. People think that they want to look like Europeans, but they don’t. They just want to look more beautiful.
“Another difference in feature between the Asian and the Caucasian, is in the bone structure of the face. If you look at the Asian face it tends to be more flat, more rounded, whereas the Caucasian have a very prominent supraorbital ridge. Their nose is very much forward. Their eye sockets set backwards. These are the main differences. In many Asian people, because of their flat bone structure, the middle is so flat that sometimes they don’t have any projection at all. This can make them look like a young child. It can lead to people not taking them seriously.”
Whatever the reasons, Asians, and South Koreans in particular, have a huge cosmetic and plastic surgery business. It’s also in part to their pop culture. Koreans are extremely devoted to following fads and their pop stars. Remember PSY and “Gangham Style”? This led to a huge increase in popularity to have cosmetic surgery to appear more like those women who appeared in the video.
Regardless of the whys, hows and wheres, Asian plastic surgery is a unique and popular business. Dr Lionel Chang has found himself an expert by default. Whilst he has patients from all backgrounds and cultures he has found himself at the forefront of the Australian Asian plastic surgery market and has fine tuned his craft to be able to specifically cater for Asian plastic surgery patients.
If you’d like more info on Dr Lionel Chang click here.