In April of this year, Lynn Yuan, 59, underwent a procedure to remove the bags under her eyes in Taiwan where blepharoplasty is reported to be the most common aesthetic procedure. She went to Taiwan because the surgery was cheaper, and she had done the eyelid procedure there 15 years prior. She was comfortable with the idea of surgery because many of her friends have already had it.
Her reason for wanting it herself was simple. She wanted to "get better." She didn't like her eye bags and wanted to look perkier and energetic.
Yuan's daughter, Jody Yuan, 26, said, "My mother was angry with me for suggesting that Asian women get surgery to compete with white women. She said that women get plastic surgery to make themselves prettier. ... She also claimed that Asian people say that double eyelids are considered beautiful in our culture and got really upset with me when I implied that these women, deep within, get surgery to comply with (Western) standards."
Not only is surgery among Asian Americans increasing rapidly, it's also going younger. Jenny Yee, 17, sees the body-image pressures that many of her peers go through. "A girl in my year named Rebecca was 14 when she got eyelid surgery," said Yee. "She has her hair chemically straightened every year and might have gotten a nose job too. Her mom pressured her into the eyelid surgery to a degree. Her uncle was a plastic surgeon, I believe."
The controversial eyelid surgery known as blepharoplasty has its share of supporters and dissenters among Asian American women. Blepharoplasty is a surgery that reshapes the skin around the eye. For Asians, it means getting a "double eyelid." Some argue that wanting a double eyelid isn't about wanting to look more Western, but simply just wanting to be the best versions of themselves. Others argue that going under the knife to give one's eyelids a crease is trying to erase one's racial characteristics.
"I don't think I'd ever want the eyelid surgery," said Filipina Maridel...