I’m a Glee fan. So I try to make sure I find ways to keep up with the show. In one of the episodes I watched recently. One of the main characters, Rachel, gets her nose broken while dancing. Her doctor suggests possibly getting a nose job, and the whole episode deals with people and the the many insecurities they have with their own appearances. I found it to be pretty intriguing, because it’s not just Americans who want to change how they look, I realize that it’s a pretty big deal here in Japan, too.
I am always find it interesting to see how appearance is viewed from country to country, culture to culture. And how certain parts of the the body or specific aspects of a person’s features are pinpointed from culture to culture. I have talked to several students (female) who have come up with some pretty interesting reasons as to why they’re not attractive enough. Some of the things are so minor (in my opinion anyway), that I didn’t realize people actually paid such close attention to them. Let’s look at a few cosmetic/genetic issues that I’ve heard women in Japan mention wanting to change.
The first one I have heard is about having a face that’s too round. In Japan, it seems as though both men and women find slimmer faces more attractive. I have heard a beautiful woman being described and one of the first things I hear, is “She has a slim face.” On a similar note, I’ve also hear white-skinned mentioned in the same breath. “She’s pretty. She has a slim face, white (light) skin…” So if you ever see a woman Japan riding a bicycle wearing gloves, or walking while wearing gloves, in the middle of a piping hot, Japanese summer, that’s the reason. I don’t see men paying any attention to it. But it’s a big deal to a lot of Japanese women. They don’t want their skin to get darker. I have heard this can be traced back to ancient Japan, when lighter skin was a mark of a higher-class women, a distinction of beauty. I gonna have to say I totally disagree on this one. Why? You ask. Maybe being African-American has a little bit to do with it . Beauty comes in ALL shades!Another one that I found interesting was the double eyelids. I had never heard of this until I came to Japan. Do you have double eyelids? Okay, well, look in the mirror. When you open your eyes. Does the skin of your upper eyelid fold, forming a crease (it’s would be above your eyelashes but below your eye socket)? If so, you have a “double eyelid.” If not, you have a single eyelid. I think these must be pretty normal in the U.S., because I never even thought about it. At the same time, single eyelids must be common in Japan. One of my female students actually told me that she and some of her friends would take a spoon and press in that area, to try to get double eyelids without cosmetic surgery….YIKES!!
A third, common change that some Japanese women talk about is their noses. More Japanese women than you might think, are enamored with having a “high bridged nose.” In other words they want the bridge of their nose to protrude more. It’s so interesting, because it seems like men and women in the U.S. kinda want the opposite, a smaller, less protruding nose.
In addition to these, some Japanese women want bigger breasts (I think that’s common across the globe), others want their eyes to be more round (Ayumi Hamasaki, a famous Japanese pop singer actually underwent cosmetic surgery for this very procedure), some want to be taller (good luck if that ever becomes a types of surgery), and the list goes on and on.
It’s fascinating to me that people always find beauty in someone else’s features. For example with the eyes being more round. In Japan, round eyes are different, and uncommon, so I think that’s why people like them. I know there are people in the U.S. who have had surgery to make their eyes more slanted. Weird right?
The desire for cosmetic “improvements” and enhancements have been around probably for as long as humans have been, and it’s a debate that will never go away. To change or not to change? That is the question.
If there is one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be? Would you change anything?
What’s your definition of a beautiful woman or man?
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