The latest statistics will do nothing to quell the debate over double eyelid plastic surgery.
It was the most widely performed plastic surgery worldwide last year, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
The Korea Herald reports 1.43 million people underwent the procedure, including many Asian Americans.
Double eyelid plastic surgery first became popular in Korea during the Korean War and the Cold War that surrounded it.
“Surgically altering the ‘slanted’ eyes became a mark of a ‘good’ and trustworthy Asian, one whose modification of the face provided a comforting illustration of the pliable Asian, and served as evidence of the U.S. as the model and Asia as the mimic,” wrote scholar Taeyon Kim in her dissertation submitted to Bowling Green State University.
Dr. D. Ralph Millard, an American military plastic surgeon, developed the procedure during the Korean War while stationed in that country. It became especially popular with Korean war brides who married American soldiers.
“When you think about it, what the society collectively considers as beautiful ― big eyes, a small face, and perked nose ― are things that many Koreans can’t achieve naturally,” said culture critic Lee Moon-won. The (Western) influence is there, but people don’t question it because the society has very narrowly defined notions of beauty. When everyone wants to look the same way, you think that’s the normal way regardless of its history or meaning.”
Both those who perform the surgery and have underwent the procedure strongly disagree.
“Caucasians are not the only racial group of people who have double eyelids,” said Song Ji-hye. If anything, I think those who undergo the procedure want to look like fellow Asians who have naturally creased eyes.”