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Cosmetic surgery in relation to altering ethnic features
Since this issue has come up repeatedly, it should be addressed in an article by itself.
The following pictures show the before (left) and after results of a rhinoplasty (nose job) for two individuals.
Fig. 1. Nose straightening in two individuals.(1, 2)
It can be seen that the white male has improved his looks by straightening his nose, but he has not made himself look less white; he has made himself look whiter. The same applies to the white female.
Now consider the following pictures of an Asian woman that has undergone rhinoplasty among some other surgical procedures. One side depicts the before pictures and the other the post-surgical outcome. I don’t need to say which is which.
Fig. 2. Pictures of an Asian woman before and after rhinoplasty plus some other surgeries.(2)
In the case of the Asian woman, the surgery makes her look less Asian/less ethnic. Her nose is shifted toward European norms. A similar statement applies to the double eyelid surgery that is popular among East Asians.
It would be difficult to find white individuals shifting their nose toward non-European norms, just as few East Asians would attempt to make their noses look more Asian. If one were to limit oneself to European populations, those attempting to change ethnic characteristics of their nose would be shifting toward Northern European norms, the most European-looking faces. Therefore, whites seeking nose jobs seek beautification, and if they seek an alteration of ethnic characteristics, they will usually seek a shift toward Nordic norms. Whereas East Asians also seek nose jobs for beautification, there are very few cases among them trying to look more Asian; the typical attempt at altering ethnic features is to look less Asian. A similar statement applies to African populations (Fig. 3; see also celebrity nose jobs such as Tyra Banks’ and Beyonce Knowles’). Those familiar with Latino and South Asian cultures will realize that the same applies to these populations, too.
Fig. 3. African-American male before rhinoplasty and after narrowing his nose.(3)
One may be tempted to describe surgical outcomes as in Fig. 2 as an attempt to look whiter, but this would be incorrect, and for reasons that I have already extensively addressed. In short, non-Europeans tend to have a mixture of admiration, neutral feelings and dislike for different physical features of European populations as well as various aspects of Western societies. The admired features cannot be explained in terms of the dominance of Western culture because this does not explain the neutrally-regarded and disliked features. And, people’s aesthetic preferences cannot be manipulated any way one wishes. The simple fact is that European facial norms are overall the most derived among human populations (Fig. 4), and people generally tend to prefer overall facial features among their co-ethnics that are somewhat more derived compared to average and especially ancestral features.
Fig. 4. No academic references are required to describe what is meant by overall derived features; a brief glance at apes next to a Greek God suffices. Apes, regardless of type, have flattened mid-facial regions/flattened noses and protruding jaws, illustrating the features of human ancestors, but Apollo has very prominent nasal bones, regressed jaws and finer facial features.
Hence, the Asian woman in Fig. 2 and others like her are trying to look more derived than average, not whiter, and this preference is intrinsic. The epicanthal folds cannot be talked about as an ancestral feature, but they are something that Asians generally do not appear to appreciate.
Some have asked why is lip augmentation among whites not considered an attempt to change ethnic characteristics in the direction of non-European norms? This is easy to answer. The following diagram depicts the results of a study by Bisson and Grobbelaar.(4, pdf) They compared the lip dimensions of white fashion models, white female controls and a handful of white female patients that had undergone lip augmentation. The four measurements on the x-axis of the graph correspond to distances 5, 6, 8 and 9 in the outline above it, respectively.
Fig. 5. Data from Bisson and Grobbelaar.(4)
Note that the lip augmentation is, on average, small, and white fashion models still, on average, have thicker lips than the post-operation patients. Of course, white fashion models in general have lip thickness well within the norm of Europeans. I also decided to get some before and after pictures of lip augmentations in white individuals to show the range of enhancement (before pictures on left):
Fig. 6. First two rows depict the aftermath of Advanta implants;(5) rows 3 and 4 show lip enhancement resulting from the administration of hyaluronic acid;(6) row 5 shows a result of fat grafting;(7) rows 6-7 and 8-9 show two individuals who underwent V-Y augmentation;(8) click for larger image; download pdfs.
In general, the enhancement is well within European norms; there is no attempt to acquire/be closer to African norms. Lip enhancement is nowhere as common among whites as double (Asian) eyelid surgery is among East Asians, and a large proportion of the patients are older individuals who have lost lip thickness compared to their youth. In my estimation, in Fig. 6, some didn’t really need lip work though the augmentation has helped and some look worse after surgery because of too thick lips for someone of European ancestry, but then cosmetic surgery worsens features in a number of cases.
Cosmetic surgery among individuals of European ancestry does not generally shift facial features toward non-European norms, and when there is a change of ethnic features, it is usually in the direction of Northern European norms (e.g., the finer, straighter noses and fuller lips of Scandinavians).
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