One site specializing in information about plastic surgery addressed the people preparing for job interviews. It gave few tips regarding the writing of resume, then moved to importance of first impression and concluded it with the following passage:
If you’re not completely confident in your appearance, and your figure isn’t what it used to be, plastic surgery or cosmetic enhancement might give you the fresh, youthful edge you need to seal the deal.
As surrealistic as it could sound at first, this message (of going under surgeon’s knife for better employment prospects) resonates well with Chinese audience. In Western countries the number of patients for plastic cosmetic surgery reduced during the economic recession, but in China the trend was quite opposite. And as surveys showed, about 50% of the plastic surgery cases were job-related.
Well, if you don’t have the so needed “guanxi” (i.e. – knowing people who can help), then you have to use any opportunity and any little advantage that can give you an edge in competition with other job-seekers. Especially if the employers are not hiding their preferences for “appropriate appearance”. And while any discrimination based on gender, ethnicity or religion is illegal in China, laws don’t mention anything about discrimination by appearance relying on the common sense of headhunting companies. But reading the ads it seems that some of the companies simply lack it:
Shanghai Jibei Electronics Co. has a height requirement for its assistant manager position, and it also wants someone who likes to smoke and drink wine – apparently so the new hire will be able to get along better at business gatherings.
Even for government jobs, applicants are graded for appearance. In one extreme example, Hunan province in central China required that its civil servants have “symmetrical breasts.”
So what are the most popular procedures that Chinese girls choose to look prettier? First place belongs to blepharoplasty – operation on eyelids. Actually, it is also the most common plastic surgery in U.S. – but there it is usually performed to remove sacs under eyes, while in China it is done to create a crease in upper eyelids to make the eyes look bigger and more Caucasian… Yes, Western looks (white skin, big eyes) are very desirable in China. Just take a look at the homepage of Shanghai Hospital for Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery – the models don’t really look Asian, do they?
If girl opts for a full makeover, it will include slimed jaw, double-lid eyes, sculpted nose and enlarged/lifted breast. The first procedure can be considered as specific for China where thin face is in fashion. It requires few treatments during which surgeon literally shaves the lower jawbone. Some other procedures – while aiming for the same outcome – are done differently for Asian women than for Western women. For example, in order to reshape the calves Westerners will usually use liposuction. But in most cases it won’t work for Asian girls whose bulks consist mainly of muscular tissue and not fat. Thus, different approach is needed – like the one used by Korean surgeon Dr. Suh In Seock who cuts a nerve below the knee which leads to reduction of muscle’s volume.
Another regional difference worth to mention is the lesser demand for surgical face lift procedure among Asians.
If you doubt that surgical procedures would help to get a better job – let’s refer to report of Helsinki University indicating that overweight women earn up to 30 percent less than their slender colleagues. And another finding was a “height premium” for men, with a “1.8 percent increase in wages for every additional inch of height over the national median”.
One of possible explanations is the well-known phenomenon in social psychology called “what is beautiful is good stereotype”. Attractiveness is a desirable feature immediately noticeable during initial contact with a person. As such it creates the first impression and lays the “working foundation” for further interpretations of personal traits in positive light. The classical experiment (Dion, Berscheid & Walster, 1972) concludes that “not only are physically attractive persons assumed to possess more socially desirable personalities than those of lesser attractiveness, but it is presumed that their lives will be happier and more successful”.
Besides career and dating there are other areas in which attractive appearance gives its owner a big advantage. Multiple researches showed that they get higher grades from teachers, thought to be more persuasive and have higher chances to be helped in emergencies. Even criminals who are handsome get lighter sentences. For illustration from the past read this Wikipedia article about the trial of the ancient Greek courtesan Phryne.
The power of beauty was known not only to ancient Greeks. Everybody heard about the cruel tradition of foot binding for Chinese women. It incorporated various mechanical procedures deforming girls’ bones – all to achieve the “beautiful little feet” (preferably no longer than 10 centimeters from toe to heel).
Yes, indeed beauty requires sacrifice. But would you believe that nowadays some Chinese girls who want to be taller agree to both of their legs be broken in order to insert special bone-lengthening devices. Actually, I am talking about a conventional medical procedure known as Ilizarov technique which is used to treat complex fractures. And it wasn’t until 2006 that China banned these operations for cosmetic reasons restricting them for the cases with medical grounds only.
If you are interested in the topic of plastic surgery and beauty, you might like the following posts:
- Perfectly Beautiful Chinese Face (attempt of Korean plastic surgeon to create a standard of Chinese beautiful face)
-Ten Beautiful Chinese Minority Girls (pictures of famous beauties belonging to Chinese ethnic minorities)
I will conclude this post with the popular ad of Dove called “Evolution”.
Lucky to be employed, Crystal Tao