January 28, 2023

Children forced to undergo plastic surgery

JapanThe doctor advised baby Micchi two types of eyelid intervention: minimally invasive surgery and fold eyelid surgery. Her mother urged her to choose the second option.

The girl’s mother, Rucchi, posted a mother-daughter conversation and a video of her daughter’s surgery on social media, in which the girl was crying and panicking.

The video received much criticism from viewers. Many people wonder how a little girl, who is clearly in pain, can have plastic surgery, even with her mother’s permission.

But Micchi is part of a generation of teenagers who voluntarily undergo plastic surgery before adolescence.

In 2021, a clinic in Japan recorded that 90% of teenage respondents wanted plastic surgery to correct their appearance, up from 70% two years ago.

Many young people in other countries do the same. In the United States, more than 220,000 cosmetic procedures are performed annually on patients between the ages of 13 and 19.

Baby Micchi in eyelid surgery. Image: VICE Asia

Health professionals and governments are concerned about these numbers. Last year, British lawmakers made it illegal to inject lip fillers, a common minor surgery among young people, under the age of 18.

Opponents warn that the younger generation, largely exposed to social media, is being pressured to live up to ideal physical beauty, leading to psychological and sometimes even physical harm.

Toru Aso, a plastic surgeon in Tokyo, has witnessed a surprising increase in the number of underage visitors to his clinic in recent years.

“About 10 years ago, I had a young client every month. Now, they come to me every day,” said a doctor with more than 20 years of practice, mainly operating on women 20-30 years old.

Eyelid surgery is the most common procedure Aso intervenes for his clients and is also a common procedure throughout Japan. In 2020, 64% of surgical interventions in Japan involved eyelid surgery. Although this procedure is relatively safe compared to buttock augmentation, liposuction, there are still risks such as blindness or damage to the muscles around the eyes.

In Japan, under 18 years old can have plastic surgery, as long as parents agree. “But some guardians are abusing this law, projecting their beauty ideals onto their children,” Dr Aso said. That’s why he’s more considerate when underage clients come to his clinic. He often talks to the client privately to see if they really want the surgery.

Tomohiro Suzuki, a professor of child psychology and body image at Tokyo Future University, realizes that plastic surgery can have positive effects on human psychology, such as improving self-esteem. .

But if the procedures are performed on minors, who are still developing mentally and physically, they may regret it later. “Often they don’t know what their ideal ‘look’ is because they’re still growing. Some people have gone through multiple cuts to achieve the perfect self-image. Then they go into a the cycle can’t stop plastic surgery,” said Sukuzi.

The recent trend of plastic surgery is often associated with the rise of social networks. Research has shown that social networking apps like Instagram or Facebook help people become more aware of how they see themselves and others.

These social networks also have filters (visual effects) that give people the perfect look, such as with higher cheekbones or fuller lips, which can be very different when looking in the mirror.

Some Japanese surgeons such as Aso attribute the popularity of double eyelid surgery in the country to the influence of Western, predominantly Caucasian beauty ideals. Caucasian Japanese people are often favored in the Japanese fashion and media industries to present an ideal look. “It’s a slightly strange-looking face, with a few unusual features,” Aso said.

But Laura Miller, professor of Japanese studies and anthropology at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, saying it is completely wrong to think that the Japanese choose double eyelid surgery to “look whiter”.

In researching the topic, Miller had never met anyone who chose a non-Japanese as an idol. “Many women believe that surgery will help them achieve a cuter appearance similar to those of famous Japanese models and artists. While actors and singers create the ideal model of beauty for a world system, social networks give birth to KOLs (influencers) with no less power.

That’s why Nonoka Sakurai, whose real name is Rie, is known as a KOL of plastic surgery. She wanted to have surgery since she was 8 years old because her friends bullied her during her school days due to her “stomach as big as a gorilla”. At the age of 18, she had her nose repaired. After 10 years and spending 25 million yen (more than 4.4 billion), Nonoka feels much more confident in her appearance. “Thanks to plastic surgery, I can proudly hold my head high,” she said.

Rucchi and her daughter respond to the media.  Photo: VICE Asia

Rucchi and her daughter respond to the media. Image: VICE Asia

Rucchi, the mother who urged her son to have eyelid surgery did not expect to be the most beautiful. But growing up with a sister and mother with beautiful eyelids, Rucchi has always felt treated differently. I remember that my sister was always praised and given sweets by the neighbors, but not for me.

When she turned 18, Ms. Rucchi had plastic surgery. Now, as a mother, she wants her daughter to grow up without insecurities, even if that means forcing her to have plastic surgery.

“I have never seen a girl with beautiful single eyelids,” she said. She did not force her son to have surgery even though they also have such eyes because it was believed that society easily accepts ugly boys, just need to be successful and smart.

When Micchi turned 18, her mother wanted her to have a nose job and possibly breast augmentation. “I don’t know how big her breasts are. If she’s afraid of being small, I’ll force her to have surgery,” she said.

Intelligent Update (Follow VICE Asia)


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