As I started to doze off to NGC (my regular lullaby) I heard a voice say: "We are looking for Mr. Ugly, a man with traditional Chinese features like chinky eyes, a small chin, and a small nose, so we can transform him to a modern day Adonis that conforms to the Global standards of beauty."
The feature was on the recent plastic surgery craze in China, a country who once abhorred vanity and excess. Apparently at present, dime-a-dozen clinics sprouted out of nowhere to cater to the surge in the demand for these enhancements.
A gorgeous Chinese woman was being interviewed. She was the first "Man-made beauty" who, after numerous surgeries ranging from rhinoplasty, to eyelid enhancement, to breast augmentation, achieved celebrity status. But something was wrong with the picture- she was no longer chinky-eyed; her nose looked finer and thinner, her lips fuller, her face somewhat angular. Then I saw a cosmetic ad featuring supermodel Linda Evangelista just behind her and suddenly understood. That kind of beauty was what they were trying to copy.
"In exchange for thousands of dollars worth of free surgeries, she gets to enjoy fame and adulation as a 'walking advertisement' for plastic surgery. Our business has tripled because of her." Beamed the plastic surgeon, of his creation.
Nowadays we are bombarded by media of all sorts, predominantly showing one type of beauty- Caucasian. People started to think the ONLY way to look beautiful and feel good about themselves is to emulate THE look. But what of dusky Pinoy beauty or the chinky, sweet Chinese features? Whats wrong with being petite, or having brown skin of a typical Malay? Are Tisoys and Tisays the new and only standards of beauty?
It was surprising, to say the least, to see men and women in the segment,voluntarily enduring pain and going to great lengths to try to be more attractive in today's unrealistic standards. Would you suffer through local anesthesia as the plastic surgeon chisels your facial bones while you swallow blood, so later you'd look like George Clooney's (Asian) clone? I know of a man who did that, and he went on to host the first-ever "artificial beauty pageant" in China.
Botched surgeries and horror stories of deformities from the not-so-lucky who went to substandard clinics barely even dampen people's appetite. Maybe we've also become so caught up with appearances and forgot that substance matters more than form.
Judgement aside, looking at the gorgeous "artificial beauties" against the glare of spotlights and the constant popping of flashbulbs, I could not help but think- maybe all they needed was a mere change of perspective.