“Because we’re Korean, my mother said when I was young, ‘You’ll get your eyelid surgery and your eyes will look bigger.’ So I really got these comments from the person who would normally champion your beauty. It goes to show Westernized beauty is something Asians are very mindful of.“Basically, all I wanted to do when I was younger was get old enough to get eyelid surgery, marry a white guy and change my last name immediately.”
I don’t think this idea of Western beauty is necessarily in the forefront of people’s minds. It’s very institutionalized. Lighter skin and big eyes are coveted because that’s gone through generations of being the default — even if we don’t know the roots of why we want to look like that.
Basically, all I wanted to do when I was younger was get old enough to get eyelid surgery, marry a white guy and change my last name immediately. I would sleep with eye tape on every night, hopeful it would make my eyes get bigger. I’d wake up and be disappointed.
The way I look is now part of who I am. I wouldn’t change it. But I know I’m still affected by this, because when I look at my daughter, I do love that she’s half white and has fair skin and has creases in her eyelids. And I think, ‘Why do I feel this way?’ If she didn’t have them, it’s not something I would have ever talked to her about. I want to be a mother who celebrates their child. It’s more that my own insecurities are relieved in that she has fair skin and Western features.”