Sad­ness in the eyes of those who be­hold her

Three of the most pop­u­lar pro­ce­dures are said to be those on dou­ble-lid­ded eyes, to make faces smaller us­ing in­jec­tions; cut­ting eye cor­ners to make big­ger eyes; and straight­en­ing noses.

China Daily (USA) - - REFLECT -

a fly­ing phoenix. For cen­turies the four beau­ties Xishi, Wang Zhao­jun, Diaochan and Yang Yuhuan, who lived in four dif­fer­ent dy­nas­ties over the past 2,600 years, have been the poster girls for the Chi­nese fe­male aes­thetic. Each gives off a dif­fer­ent aura, but if the paint­ings are to be be­lieved they had at least one thing in com­mon: they were en­dowed with phoenix eyes.

But fash­ions and tastes change. Whereas it used to be that any Chi­nese fe­male born with sin­gle-lid smaller eyes would have been con­sid­ered to have drawn the long straw, th­ese days, it seems, dou­blelid­ded big­ger eyes are all the rave.

“Thank you formy dou­ble-lid­ded big eyes, straight nose, slim face, and trim fig­ure,” may well be the daily prayer that those so en­dowed of­fer to the god called Des­tiny.

Not ev­ery­one is so lucky, but why let Des­tiny de­cide your aes­thetic lot in life? En­ter the magic hands and tools of the plas­tic sur­geon, which have helped save many Chi­nese from what they con­sid­ered their hell of a life shut­tered be­hind sin­gled-lid­ded small-eyes.

The me­dia give cos­metic surgery a lot of at­ten­tion, largely be­cause of the spot­light they shine on the faces of celebrities who go un­der the knife in or­der to look bet­ter, but you do not need to be fa­mous or in­cred­i­bly rich to have a face-lift. In­deed in China many young grad­u­ates, of­ten with an eye on their ca­reer and mar­riage prospects are hav­ing cos­metic surgery.

Re­cently it has been re­ported in Jin­gling Evening News in Nan­jing that the plas­tic surgery depart­ment of the city’s ma­jor ma­ter­nal and child care cen­ter has treated more than 40 pa­tients ev­ery day since the start of sum­mer hol­i­days in early July, dou­ble the av­er­age daily num­ber. The spike in num­bers is due, ap­par­ently, to the fact that the hol­i­day pe­riod gives th­ese young women two months to re­cover from surgery.

Three of the most pop­u­lar pro­ce­dures are said to be those on dou­ble-lid­ded eyes, to make faces smaller us­ing in­jec­tions; cut­ting eye cor­ners to make big­ger eyes; and straight­en­ing noses, some­thing that young men also go in for.

A psy­chol­o­gist in Bei­jing has sug­gested that a far bet­ter op­tion is to seek psy­cho­log­i­cal help be­cause the root cause, she says, is psy­cho­log­i­cal.

My niece who is in her third year at uni­ver­sity and who for the past fewyears has con­tem­plated hav­ing plas­tic surgery, much to the cha­grin of her mother, says: “I know I would be more con­fi­dent if I had dou­ble eye-lid­ded eyes.”

“But you are pretty,” her mother al­ways tells her, some­thing that the young woman re­jects.

“I know that for all par­ents it is their child that is the most beau­ti­ful,” she says. “Butmy friends call me Small Eyes.”

I once tried to hu­mor her by say­ing that an­i­mals such as horses, cows, deer and even pigs have big dou­ble eye-lid­ded eyes. I added that per­son­al­ity is much more im­por­tant that looks, and that in any case it is good that we all look dif­fer­ent, but she seemed un­con­vinced.

The other day I ran into an ac­quain­tance who un­til re­cently had beau­ti­ful sin­gle-lid­ded phoenix eyes. I barely rec­og­nized her be­cause those eyes had van­ished, re­placed by a pair of puffed up ob­jects on her face on top of which sit the very dou­ble eye­lids she dreamed of.

Mir­ror, mir­ror on the wall, who is the sad­dest of them all?

LIANG LUWEN / FOR CHINA DAILY

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