I spent some time last week walking around Manhattan's Koreatown, the heart of which is West 32nd Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. Took a photo of this lovely lady as she took a break from her job in a bookstore. I was trying to highlight the poster behind her, to give an idea of what the prevailing beauty standard is. (My story's about Asian eyelid surgery, a popular cosmetic surgery procedure.)
Whether consciously or not, we're all influenced by beauty standards, which change according to time, place, culture and taste. One academic I spoke with, Beverly Yuen Thompson, noted the global reach of Western media in defining "beauty."
"Valuing one eye appearance over the other is not a natural condition, but is socially constructed," Thompson said. "There is no reason one appearance would be considered more attractive than others outside of the social value of that particular society."
Speaking of our society's values, check out this post on Jezebel, about a very nasty Maxim list of "the world's five unsexiest women alive" and then a list of "ultimate female hotties" from Entertainment Weekly that didn't include any Asian or black women. Now that's lame.
The multimedia story Popular Plastic Surgery Raises Questions About Ethnicity, Image & Identity by Karen Zraik appears in the Image issue of NYC24.com.