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Some thoughts over the past week

2009 February 8
by ZY

After discussing cosmetic surgery over the past week, my head was jumbled with many thoughts.
The picture we saw in class of the “perfect face” made me think of the TV show called True Beauty on ABC. The one episode I caught of it was ridiculous. Basically, the contestants are judged on “inner beauty” and “outer beauty.” During that specific episode, the contestants went to a plastic surgeon who used some sort of technology to measure the symmetry in their faces and based on how symmetrical their faces were, the contestants were judged on their outer beauty. The dramatic part of the episode was when one of the men caused a scene because his score was relatively low and he shouted at the judges, saying, “How can you use this to measure beauty? What do you know?” and eventually he was eliminated… I find it kind of disturbing that plastic surgeons are given the responsibility and authority to decide what is more beautiful. Also, it seems like the show emphasizes the importance of inner beauty as well, however, the way they measured inner beauty was more, seeing whether the contestants had any common sense/morals. They were judged on behavior that should be expected of any person. This makes me question how the definition of beauty has changed. I agree with the man who was eliminated- how can someone be judged for their inner and outer beauty? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Another thing that came to my mind was the normalizing of the double-eyelid surgery among women in Asian cultures. Before this semester, I’ve always felt very strongly against it and I was almost angry at my friend for letting her mom pressure her into getting it done. It didn’t even occur to me that the double-eyelid is characteristically Caucasian and that makes me feel even more uncomfortable with it. I was fortunate enough to be born with natural double-eyelids, and my mom always told me that it was a sign of luck. So should I feel lucky to be born looking more Caucasian than other Asians?

On the other hand, my mother has a friend who was born in China with a cleft-lip. Because of her disfigurement, she was abandoned by her parents at birth because a cleft-lip was a sign of bad luck and she would never find a husband to marry her. This really made me think about how people are treated differently based on their appearance. I understand why, but it just seems ridiculous when you think about how the way we look when we’re born is out of our control and completely dependent on our natural biological genes. As technology develops, it seems like humans are increasingly trying to gain control over nature.

Even fruits are genetically engineered to look more appealing, but they don’t necessarily taste better…
Just some food for thought 🙂

On a different note, a question (which might be too personal) that I’d like to ask our guests on Monday is how they feel their sexuality changes as their biological gender and gender identity is changing. Also, how do you think your transition plays a role in the social constructs of gender roles? Do you think it perpetuates society’s narrow definition of being a man or a woman?

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