Bleach, Nip, Tuck: The White Beauty Myth


Bleach by Tite Kubo

No, not that kind of Bleach. You bored of these kinds of posts yet?

Why are all the interesting shows in the evening on Thursday when I have work the next day? This program which aired on ABC2 yesterday evening explored how people went the ‘Michael Jackson’ way, using a mixture of surgery and science to change their ethnic looks.

First, let’s get something out of the way. Jackson was diagnosed with a skin disorder called vitiligo, cause unknown, which causes depigmentation of the skin often in patches. Many people speculated that Jackson was trying to look more Caucasian because his skin was getting whiter, his nose and lips thinner, facial features continually changing with accusations of using skin bleach. However even it is unknown whether this true or not, given his skin conditions, and various excuses for his facial surgeries.

Regardless, it is wrong to jump to conclusions, even as I admit I once did when I was younger. But my dad has vitiligo.

Surgery for Beauty

But I digress, the program followed a couple of women and men of different races living in a world where ‘white beauty’ is highly regarded. Dark women are more curvy, Asian woman are more slight and slender. Dark men are hairier and some men are shorter. Yet in our society, we still value the ‘white’ body is still the perfect ideal. The program followed a dark-skinned lady who wanted to get a breast reduction, an Asian lady who wanted a breast augmentation, a dark man getting his back shaved and waxed, and another man who was looking into getting his legs cosmetically lengthened.

For me personally, I can understand many of their points of view. For the Asian woman, she found her featureless body as hideous and wanted to wear more formfitting clothing which caucasian women did. For that, she felt she needed more cleavage to show off, to feel more confident about herself. This is interesting, because for me I would almost wish to be like her, rather than the way I am myself. Perhaps again it’s simply the case of the other side of the fence being greener again, but I value more the Asian ideals(?) of beauty.

[niconico douga] Black Rock Shooter, drawn by 47AgDragon(しるどら)

For the man who was short though, in a world where statistically taller men got their foot in the door more easily, being taller is definitely an advantage. Wearing insoles that elevated him made him feel more confident yet at the same time more self-conscious about himself. Personally I feel this is no different from heels, which women have been using to make themselves taller for years, however it can be understandable that he is not used to this type of footwear, to some degree.

In the end, I am glad he did not decide to go with the cosmetic procedure which would have meant breaking the bones in both his legs and stretching the bones lengthwise with a metal rod to lend strength to the bone while the bones knit back together. What a horrifying process, yet many people go through with it annually. The same could be said of breast augmentation/reduction however, I guess.

As usual, it can be hard to remember, but we do not always have to conform to the caucasian/white ideals of beauty as we are not all of the same ethnic groups. We are all built differently — with each ethnic race comes a body type. Although I wouldn’t say that it’s fine just for people to like the body they are in and remain as they are even if or especially if they are wildly unhealthy, I feel it is at least fair to tell people that they should love themselves more for who they are rather than trying to change themselves artificially.

Black Rock Shooter Illust by 47AgDragon(しるどら) , on Nico Nico Douga. Not mine.