Double eyelids, otherwise known as futaemabuta in Japanese or ssangapul in Korean, are pretty much exactly what they sound like. Basically, some people have a crease in their eyelid that causes it to “double” over itself and some people don’t. If you’re Asian, chances are you’ve heard about double eyelids all of your life, and if you’re not Asian, I would be interested to know if this is the first time you’re finding out about this. You might also be wondering who gives a damn about such minutiae. Whether or not you’ve got a fold in the small flap of skin that covers your eye hardly seems like it should be a big deal. Unfortunately though, at least in countries like Japan and especially in Korea, it is. For many women in those countries and women of Asian descent in general, having a double eyelid can increase your beauty by twofold – or at least that’s what we’re told from a young age by our parents, friends and the examples of attractiveness that we’re exposed to. It’s no wonder blepharoplasty, or double-eyelid surgery, is a common practice for many young Asian girls.
So why am I writing about this? To be honest, I didn’t care about the whole double eyelid thing up until recently. I didn’t care if my friends had double eyelids naturally, got the surgery (you didn’t expect us not to notice that you looked like a completely different person after you came back from Korea that summer did you?), or taped their eyelids to achieve the double eyelid effect. Honestly that’s your business and when it comes to beauty, I think women should make informed choices about what they’re going to do to their own bodies and faces. I like to say I’m a fan of natural beauty but hey, if getting your boobs done, donning a butt pad or wearing colored contacts makes you feel like you look great and gives you confidence, why shouldn’t you? As a person who augments her “natural” lashes by slathering them with 8 coats of mascara and curls them until they fall out, I’m not one to talk.
Image courtesy of C Campaign
However, the question I will pose is can we please stop making double eyelids a big deal for the next generation of girls? In my experience, traditional Asian parents are pretty superficial, and they’re blunt enough to tell you if you’re too fat, too thin, or if your eyes are too small (the irony!). I’m sure Asian parents aren’t the only ones who do this, but I have to say it takes a toll. When I was a little girl, my mom left me with at Italian neighbor’s every day where I feasted like a queen on manicotti, spaghetti, meatballs, minestrone and more for every meal with peaches and cream for dessert. And then she wondered why I was fat! My mom is a tiny, stick figure of a woman (my dad’s nickname for her – roughly translated – was “Bones”) and my sister is about the same size as she is, so it was very confusing for me to understand why I was the only female in the family that had to drink Slimfast with my middle-aged father.
But I’ll save that for another post and digress. The point is that our daughters pay attention to what we say to them, about them and to our friends while they’re in earshot. I don’t have kids myself but I’m at the age now where some of my friends do and about half of them are girls (startling statistics, I know). Almost all of my Asian friends are “americanized,” and maybe the whole double eyelid thing won’t be an issue. But if you have a little girl who doesn’t have double eyelids, I hope that you can do her a favor and be careful to never make her feel like she needs them to be “pretty.” Because she doesn’t.