A lot of assumptions are made about why people undergo double-eyelid surgery. Assumptions like: They wanted to look more white, or they wanted to look less Asian.
But individual stories reveal more minute, more complicated motivations: Do people change their eyes in the pursuit of love, like Shima Kito, the Japanese man in Boston who in 1926 altered his eyes, nose and lower lip so he could marry his white girlfriend? Or are they like Julie Chen, who got the surgery when she was 25 hoping for a career break? Or something else?
These questions are asked of East Asian women specifically, and tinged with a certain hint of shaming. Standards of beauty are both deeply personal and thoroughly entangled with dynamics of race and power. We judge those standards and fault people who try hard to achieve them. Yet people who shirk those same standards aren't off the hook — they're implicitly made to feel, in some ways, lesser or not as valued. And the mere fact that double-eyelid surgery exists means that many single-lidded people are constantly being asked "Why?" — Why don't you get it? Why did you?
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Very interesting article imo. There's a part one about the history of eyelid surgery if you want to read it.