Are Chinese women selling out to look more Western?

By Jeffrey Spiegel, MD


Yet some wonder if the popularity of this procedure is due to the prevalence of European and Western models being used in magazines, advertisements, and other forms of media. A popular belief is that these Asian women are trying to “fit in” and look more Americanized. Boston-based facial plastic surgeon Jeffrey Spiegel recently did a study to evaluate whether one is truly more attractive after double eyelid surgery. The study was published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal and had surprising results.

Several hundred observers were shown facial photographs of 19 women of Chinese decent. Each woman had computer-simulated upper eyelid creases in several different positions and the observers were asked to pick the photograph they considered to show the most attractive face. Observers were not told what changes had been made in the pictures.

"Double-eyelid Surgery: Before and After" by Yukari Tanaka. (Image courtesy of Flickr.)

“Double-eyelid Surgery: Before and After” by Yukari Tanaka. (Image courtesy of Flickr.)

In order to evaluate and control for ethnicity and media exposure, three groups of observers were selected: Non-Asian Americans, Chinese-Americans, and Chinese living in China.

The study revealed that each of the groups of observers thought that a medium high eyelid crease was the most attractive and no crease was the least attractive. Because observers came from several different backgrounds, and all groups had the same preference, it can be concluded that upper eyelid crease creation (double eyelid surgery) can objectively improve the appearance of Chinese women. The quick procedure provides a more youthful, refreshed and energetic appearance, which is attractive to any ethnicity. As large eyes are considered attractive, this procedure, which relatively increases the perceived size of the eyes, is thus very effective.

“Asian blepharoplasty is not something we do to ‘westernize’ a woman’s face. Rather, by enhancing the eyelids to create a crease, we are able to maximize the attractiveness of the face,” Spiegel said. “I’m very pleased to know that both Asian and non-Asian observers had the same results as this helps to relieve any concerns of Chinese women trying to look less Chinese, and confirms that the procedure enhances the natural beauty of Chinese women.”


Jeffrey Spiegel is the chief of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine. He can be reached at (617) 566-3223.

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