Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Double Fold Surgery

I remember when I was in elementary school, my mom came home one day with dark sunglasses and a bandaged face--she had just, without first informing my sister and I, received double eyelid surgery. My sister and I were horrified that she would--in our young opinions--disfigure herself. My mother used to tell me that her friends believed her eyelids were natural because both my sister and I have natural double-folds. We saw her surgery as a step towards us, towards a Western look (to clarify: my sister and I are half-Asian, half-white).

Professor Chun noted that today double-fold surgery is an attempt to capture the Korean and not the Western aesthetic. However, unlike Anime characters that are neither completely Western nor completely Asian, the double fold surgery has clear linkages to the attempt to erase the Asian-ness of the Asian eye. However, because as Appadurai states, "...for politics of smaller scale, there is always a fear of cultural absorption by politics of larger scale, especially those that are nearby" (6), it is problematic to claim the surgery as a desire to look Western. Such a desire is equivalent to the acceptance of American cultural hegemony. I believe that calling the look Korean is simply euphemizing Americanization. It is a way for Asians to appropriate Western traits without admitting that they are doing so. Furthermore, Korea is not politically threatening to its neighbors. In the case of double-fold surgery, it is the sheep's clothing.

No comments: