I picked up a local magazine today: inside was an article about Chinese parents sending their kids to the plastic surgeon “for their own good.” Here’s their rationale: In a country where the worker pool is so vast, getting the job often boils down to appearances. English is no longer a surefire way on and up the professional ladder. You not only must sound the part, but you also have to look the part, i.e. Chinese women have to possess the Western beauty features. Yes, you heard me right. Forget charges of discrimination– employers here are perfectly free to make such demands, especially for jobs that require “face time”. Image is part of the job, they say.
The obsession with Westerners’ white skin, big eyes, and tall noses is nothing new. Still, it doesn’t make the phenomenon any less disturbing. What’s shocking, however, is the growing trend among children. According to the article, parents are rewarding good grades with a trip or two to the plastic surgeon. In Guangzhou, three area hospitals report that 90 percent of plastic surgery patients are under 16, with the double eyelid surgery being the most popular. The cost can run as low as 1000 yuan or $120. And the parents just chalk it up as another investment into the child’s future: “If getting the surgery gets her a good job, maybe it’s not such a bad thing for a better life.” ARGH!! Yeah, I hate to be judgemental, but this is just too fucked up.