So Much for Individuality
Multiethnic beauty is becoming the new ideal standard and many women demonstrate a desire for it. Minority women, mainly Asian, Hispanic, and African Americans, are trying to reduce the look of certain ethnic-specific facial features that they have been discriminated against for.
Trends show that recently more people make an effort to move toward a more mixed, ethnically ambiguous look. These women aim to make certain features look less ethnic and more white, combining favorable features of their individual ethnicities with “western” or Caucasian ones. An increase has occurred from 300,000 multiethnic patients in 1997 to two million in 2005 (Multiethnic). Statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show the percentages of minorities that undergo cosmetic surgery procedures and lists the specific procedures each minority has the tendency to undergo most often (Demographics) . Individual breakdowns show that in 2009 and 2010 African Americans tended to get liposuction and rhinoplasties, Hispanic Americans prefer breast augmentation and rhinoplasties, and Asian Americans choose rhinoplasties and eyelid surgery (Demographics, Multiethnic). Asian-Americans women are influenced my mothers to have surgical procedures to put a fold in their eyelids at very young ages.
These procedures alter the women’s ethnic features and further help them to gain physical characteristics of an ideal Caucasian woman. The beauty industry plays an important role in shaping the ideas of society. They may have formulated the ‘multiethnic is beautiful’ opinion that has taken over in American culture where it is preferred to be identified as belonging to an array of ethnicities. This concept combines previous and current intentions: it somewhat embraces a woman’s ethnicity, but still strives for some level of desired ‘whiteness.’ Reasons for this change may include the growth in the diversity of American society; with more cultures represented in America, the beauty industry tends to associate more different types of people with an ideal beauty of the 21st century.
Also, as the population of persons of mixed background rises, a resulting increased tendency of modeling industries to use them in advertisements occurs. One could probably refer to this emerging opinion as a campaign because of the industry’s use of marketing strategies such as using models of mixed ethnicities on fashion runways and in magazine, television, and billboard ads to establish the impression. A marketing strategy for them (advertising) translates into subliminal brainwashing of the customers in a way that if the media tells society that a woman is pretty based on the fusion of ethnicities she represents, the public will come to think of the models and similar individuals of mixed ethnicities as a whole, as pretty. Combined with the ability for the customers to relate to the model because of her perceived ethnicity, the industry boosts its influence. It seems only natural of society to demand some kind of uniformity especially when it comes to what is seen as beautiful and attractive, but society’s definition of beauty is inconsistent. Back in the 1920s, large, Roman noses of the newly immigrated Jews were seen as ugly and un-American.
These racist ideas left a serious idea in the Jews’ heads that their noses were ugly. And there it began. Nowadays, society is the cause of the low self-esteem of women who undergo surgery. The desire to get plastic surgery often spawns from psychological problems caused by these social attacks and discriminations about these targeted people. No one wants to be the one who is different or left out, which perhaps is another contributing factor to the rise of popularity of cosmetic surgery. It is like an epidemic that starts with one person or an exclusive group of people and grows and grows.
The blame should be placed on other groups of people as well. An increased willingness of the women to go ‘under the knife’ results from factors that have to do with the women’s own personal choices. An increase of disposable income, cosmetic surgery’s growing acceptance as a part of women’s daily beauty routine, and increases of surgeon specialization of certain techniques tailors to the unique procedures the minority women seek. The once strong ideas of beauty being in ‘the eye of the beholder’ and the like have waned and converted into a shallow gene pool. “A white face on a black body,” provides one suggestion of beauty (Multiethnic).
This means the features of wide, round eyes, small perfectly-shaped lips, and a thin, pointy-tipped nose, all characteristics of an ideal woman’s face, on the body of an African American. A rise in surgical not so ‘reality’ reality TV shows, such as “Bridalplasty,” a show in which women compete for plastic surgery procedures for their dream wedding day. They show the gruesome procedures and their outcomes and it seems like our courageous public are able to overcome the challenges they see on such shows. It’s quite ridiculous. The pain is apparent, but the reward is seen as so much better. No, happiness isn’t purchasable.
Notice how the TV shows don’t show the after effects of the TV show, when the patients/contestants go home, when they are confronted with reality and acceptance in public. Does the marriage even last past the first few months when the contestant’s husbands see past their wives’ beauty? Society also provides the perspective that you are what you look like. Every magazine cover on the rack at the grocery store has the photograph of some famous, beautiful person. Successes, happiness, empowerment. It’s not capable of being achieved without the proper face and body, right? Forget personality. Do people think individualism comes from the outside? The public has more mono-ethnic features than ever, nothing can be determined from looking at people from the outside in.
What will become of American culture in the future? The cosmetic surgery trend certainly seems as though it will not stop anytime soon. What will the new beauty ideals be in the next 100 or so years? Will everyone eventually look the same like in futuristic sci-fi novels? What is the point of getting a procedure done when it may be ‘out’ in a year or two? The ideal is too inconsistent for many to have surgery carelessly. And, although there are many excuses as to why a woman would want to have a cosmetic surgery, there is still no logical explanation for changing unique features that society, the beauty industry, and the women themselves should embrace. Maybe only after we have experienced a homogeneous public we can accept the strong ethnic features of our ancestors that help to define each and every individual. “Cosmetic Surgery Is Moving Toward Multiethnic Beauty Ideals.” The Culture of Beauty.
Ed. Roman Espejo. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web.
21 Jan 2011. “Cosmetic Surgery Is Used t oAlter Ehtnic Characteristics.” The Culture of Beauty. Ed. Roman Espego.
Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 21 Jan 2011. “2009 Cosmetic and Reconstructive Demographics.
” American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Web. 21 Jan 2011.