This week we learned that cosmetic surgery is flourishing in China, where the industry is now worth 10 billion pounds a year.
The tragic death last year of the aspiring Chinese singer Wang Bei 24, during cosmetic surgery, has not steamed the growing tide of those seeking beauty through surgery.
In the UK and the West in general, the most popular procedures include breast surgery, facelifts and tummy tucks. In China, reports the Sky News, it is ‘double eyelids’. The goal of double eyelid surgery is to make the eyes appear more European i.e. less Asian.
Other common procedures, again aimed at making Asian features and skin look more western, include nose enlargements, jawbone reshaping or ‘grinding’, and liposuction on the cheeks.
“Foreigners think that the Chinese all have flat faces and small eyes, because that''s what our race looks like,” said Dr Shi Sanba, the founder of a high-end clinic in Beijing. “But now that China''s getting richer people are no longer satisfied with their appearance. We think Westerners are more beautiful,” she added. Dr Shi has herself had more than 60 operations.
Bao Bao, a 28-year-old former dancer from Shanghai, had Aomeiding (toxic substance ) injected into both her breasts and chin and says she is now in constant pain. The self-confessed cosmetic surgery addict has also had over 100 other procedures, including three facelifts, laser skin whitening and implants in her heels in an attempt to add stature.
“I’ve lost everything, my youth and my career,” she said in a tearful interview. “No man wants to be with me, and sometimes I look so frightening that I don’t even want to leave the house,” she added.
My only comment is to restate that beauty ideals (what is and is not deemed beautiful) are created by society. Sadly many Chinese are signing up to the narrow Western definition of beauty, rather than recognising and embracing the beauty that uniquely Asian.