Mother, can I have a nose bridge, please?

Yesterday, my now just 20 months old daughter was repeatedly pulling the bridge of her nose, something I had not taught her.

When I pressed further, it turns out that people around her (well meaning relatives, helpers and so on) have been pulling her nose upwards in the hope that it rise up and shape and form a bridge.

A lot of women here think the ideal of beauty is what they see on films and TV. Women of Brahmin, Chettri, Newari stock with fair skin, a higher nose bridge, double eye lids, bigger breasts, a certain height and so on.

A lot of young girls here, also influenced by Indian Bollywood and Korean melodrama films and Korean pop stars worship their wide doe eyed faces with luscious pouts and perfectly sculpted noses. But as we can see from the videos below, most of the ideals from Korea and China idolize other ideals of beauty, that is, western, and go through a lot of suffering to imitate that.

What they also don’t realize is these are “plastic faces”. If they have not been under the knife (painful plastic surgery), they have spent hours at the beauty salon getting a ton of makeup put on them, and as for the stuff in the magazines, don’t forget our beauty ideals go under the photoshop knives and various other tools, less painful than the surgery table, but equally poignant and telling of what a fake, manufactured and celebrity worshiping world we live in.

In Nepal, the craze of plastic surgery among Asian or Mongoloid people might not be as bad, but who knows a day might come? On my Facebook screen, I often see an ad the Facebook algorithm has deemed is suitable for me (based on what keywords I don’t know. Sometimes they show me beer ads, which gets me thinking they must think I am a dude?).

The ad header reads: “Feeling Ugly? Call Dr…so on so..”and the name and details of a cosmetic surgery company is enlisted.

“Her nose is a bit flat, not sharp, her eyes are a bit small, her feet are wide and her toes flat, she doesn’t have nice, luscious hair (as a result, her head has been shaved three times).”

These are some comments I have heard. Meanwhile, I am thinking; “I am just happy she is healthy and happy, eating and growing well, and that she doesn’t fall down and break her head. And I am beyond ecstatic when she sleeps through the night (most sleep deprived mothers of young children might comply).”

In Nepal, for most “Mongoloids” this is something that is introduced from a young age. Pulling at the nose bridge.

Also, wide eyes with a double lid are desired.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, a Newari friend of mine told me I should take a swig of aila every night before going to bed, then my child’s eyes would be big and it would result in a double lid and ensure my child did not have a “chinky” appearance. I am not sure where she got that from.

I don’t encourage it. Every shape of eyes and nose is beautiful, and bridge or no bridge, who cares?

This documentary should serve as a warning of what happens when the message we send to young girls is: Only what’s on the outside counts!

Only too soon, the appearance will all fall apart, so it’s much better to invest on what’s on the inside, what we cannot see.

It’s really sad to see so much insecurity due to appearance but as a modern, “Asian” woman who has been through it, I can see where it comes from. It’s so easy to fall into the trap and become a victim.

Advertising. Magazines. TV. Beauty Pageants. The idea that women are groomed for the one supreme thing – and that is, to land a rich husband – with their looks and (sex) appeal.

When he goes bankrupt, when he gets sick, and when the women get older and their looks fade, I wonder what happens then? And what about “for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part?”

Warning: The operation of the leg extensions is painful to watch.

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2 thoughts on “Mother, can I have a nose bridge, please?

  1. A great post, and I’m glad you wrote it. If only more people, especially those living outside the west, could read more articles like this.

    I remember watching a video by a civil rights activist in America, and in it he spoke about how his mother used to pull the bridge of his nose too. It’s really quite sad, and to think that your daughter is only 20 months but is receiving the same treatment from her relatives is quite scary.

  2. Yes too much focus on outer appearance, what we see. Big problem. We attach too much importance on what we perceive based on 5 senses and far as I can tell is where the problem lies. Racism. Racial profiling, obsession, insecurity and so on. Its difficult though coz it is what we are trained to do and how we code and categorize our world.

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