Monday, May 23, 2011

Asians Seek Surgery to Look 'Western'

A story at CNN about Asians seeking surgery to have more "western" features, including a 12-year-old Korean girl who has her Korean mother's permission.  Reminds me of the adoptive father who subjected his Asian daughter to such surgery:
The speaker was a proud father. To illustrate his comments about a piece of art that celebrated the wonders of modern medicine (and which he had just donated to a local hospital), he told a story about his adopted Asian daughter. He described her as a beautiful, happy child in whom he took much delight. Her life, he told the audience, had been improved dramatically by the miracle of modern medicine. When she joined her new Caucasian family, her eyes, like those of many people of Asian descent, lacked a fold in the upper eyelid, and that lack was problematic—in his view—because it made her eyes small and sleepy and caused them to shut completely when she smiled. A plastic surgeon himself, he knew she did not need to endure this hardship, so he arranged for her to have surgery to reshape her eyes. The procedure, he explained, was minimally invasive and maximally effective. His beautiful daughter now has big round eyes that stay open and shine even when she smiles.
I said in that post, "Yes, as the article notes, some Asian parents have this surgery performed on their Asian children, but the meaning is completely different when a white parent has his daughter's Asian eyes 'fixed.'"  Several commenters disagreed with that assessment, but I stand by it.  I don't think it's a good thing for Asian parents to do to their children, but when a white adoptive parent does that it is a more profound rejection of the child's race/ethnicity/identity.


Linda said...

I stand by your comment as well. It makes me so sad for these children.

kyburg said...

I wish you could see the billboards in the neighborhoods near me filled with darker POC trying to look far more Asian (skin bleaching products, plastic surgery centers to make eyes narrower and tip-tilted, etc.) - it just doesn't seem like being 'something' is ever good enough. (And for us crackers, hey - we paint ourselves every color of the rainbow and why not? It washes off, neh?) Even if a child wants surgery, it's something that should be held off until maturity. Period.