Posted by: Jessica | October 30, 2014

East Meets Western Beauty

Chapter 7 of Spreadable Media focused on the ways “spreadability may enhance diversity.” (Jenkins et al., 261) The authors provide examples throughout the chapter to explain how different cultures perceive transnational media, like the Makmende/Chuck Norris comparison (262), or anime fans seeking out goods for their “Japaneseness” (275).

While I do agree that “spreadability” has promoted cultural diversity and awareness, I can’t dismiss this opportunity to bring up a “heated [discussion] about the impact of globalization and mass media” (285) that hits close to home—Asian girls are trying to look “white.”

“Whiter skin is being aggressively marketed across Asia,” reads a New York Times article from 2006. Today, this is still true. On a recent trip to the Phillippines I couldn’t help but notice advertisements for skin bleaching products—on TV, billboards, flyers on the street. I even heard comments about how “much prettier I’d be with fair skin.” Huh?! Where did this obsession with “being white” begin?

(Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera) Maybe it's because most Filipino celebrities are much more light-skinned in comparison to their general audience?

(Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera)
Maybe it’s because most Filipino celebrities are much more light-skinned in comparison to their general audience?

An even more extreme level is blepharoplasty, an eyelid surgery some Asian women undergo to achieve a “double eyelid.”

While some cosmetic surgeons argue that the surgery “accentuates what [Asian women] already have,” Dr. Kim Byung-gun, head of the biggest plastic surgery clinic in Seoul, says, “The Chinese and Korean patients tell me they want to have faces like Americans.

What could this say about mass media’s influence on culture?

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