Asian Eyelid Surgery Getting Dirty Looks in America
There's Nothing Wrong With My Eyes from Alternet By Sandy Kobrin, Women's eNews. Posted August 17, 2004.
Some young Asian-American women are rejecting the eyelid surgery that is commonplace among their peers.
Alyssa Lai grew up thinking she was pretty but noticeably different from most of the blonde, blue-eyed girls native to her San Jose, California, neighborhood.
This fact was not lost on her mother, father and grandmother, who had emigrated from China. Five years ago they offered to get her plastic surgery, specifically, blepharoplasty, for her 14th birthday. Commonly known as "Asian eyelid surgery," the procedure entails stitching a permanent crease into the eyelid.
Her parents told her that when her eyes were rounder and more Caucasian-like, her eyes would look even "prettier."
After quite a bit of soul searching, Lai opted to decline the surgery. The pain of the surgery, which can be intense for a few days to over a week, was only a small part of her decision to keep the eyes she was born with.
"To be beautiful you don't have to look beautiful in a Caucasian sense," she said.
With eyelid surgery the fastest-growing type of plastic surgery in the Asian community in California and across the country, numerous other young women are facing the same decision. Approximately 75 percent of all Koreans and 50 percent of all other Asians are born without the double eyelid crease.
At the cost of about $2,000, a rapidly growing number of young girls both in Asia and the United States are opting to have the crease surgically added.
But unlike their peers in Asia where blepharoplasty is the No. 1 cosmetic procedure young Asian-American women who consider the surgery are more likely to grapple with the idea that the procedure will also alter their ethnic identities, according to Dr. Charles Lee, a plastic surgeon in Los Angles who specializes in blepharoplasty.
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