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  • I’ve been reading about the supposed Asian model trend in ad campaigns, on runways and on magazine covers. There has been a lot of speculation as to the true/mercenary intentions of the Western beauty business — but I am thrilled!

    When I was in China a few months ago, Western ideals of beauty were overpowering. I asked my guide how society judges a beautiful girl, and he said: big eyes (not too wide set), a straight nose, angular face, porcelain white skin and a thin body. Basically, a paler, more Western version of a Chinese girl.

    There’s a saying in Italy when describing a handsome guy: alto e’ bello (translation: tall is beautiful — interpretation: it kind of doesn’t matter what he looks like as long as he’s tall). In China, it seems to currently be: Western is beautiful. You see it in the way women apply eyeliner, the honey blond hues of their hair, their padded push-up bras, the brands they advertise.

    Personally, I’m often asked by Asian women (in all parts of the world) whether I’ve had Asian eyelid surgery because I have (asymmetrical) creases in my eyelids. This is another booming cosmetic surgery westernizing Asian women.

    Is it right? Is it wrong? I think these are misguided questions.

    The Chinese girls I met, and the culture at large, have already cast their subjective interpretations on beauty. By embracing natural Asian beauty (albeit by unattainable supermodel standards), the Western beauty industry is setting precedence for natural (non-Westernized) Asian beauty. And those Chinese girls I met are looking west to frame and follow what is beautiful.

    We could all use some outside validation to pretty up our innermost insecurities and inadequacies…

    I apologize for grouping all Asian ethnicities and cultures in “Asian” — certainly, I’m generalizing here.
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