American Beauty Stereotypes

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Western ideas of feminized beauty have lasted for centuries and continues to plague women in society with its idealistic standards. In recent years, Asian American women have undergone surgeries in order to alter their eyelids, heighten their noses and alter the tips of their noses. In Eugenia Kaw’s essay Medicalization of Racial Features: Asian American Women and Cosmetic Surgery (1993), she takes a look at the cultural and institutionalized forces that drive Asian American women to alter their features through plastic surgery in order to escape gendered stereotypical norms and racial ideologies through an anthropological lens. Racial and gender stereotypes influenced many of the Asian American women in Kaw’s study to receive these cosmetic surgeries. Beauty had become a primary goal for these women and felt that they had to conform to the typical standard of beauty in society. This beauty standard becomes informed through racial ideologies that push the ideas of negative characteristics based on a specific group’s physical features. The women featured in the study often associated their facial characteristics with negative traits and in turn sought out cosmetic surgery in order to be associated with more ‘positive’ traits. Negative traits surrounding facial characteristics stems from stereotypes created in Western cultures. Western culture dominates much of the hegemonic influence in the world and thus influences the beauty standards in society. Cosmetic surgeries serve

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