Archive for the 'Beauty' Category

26
Sep
13

Hipster Fashion is a Frankenstein’s Monster of Trends

Hipsters embody the maxim “Just because it’s fashionable, doesn’t mean you should wear it”.  Fashion is truly dead as evidenced by the complete lack of originality and taste of hipster trends.  Having cycled through every trend of the latter 20th century, they now are trolling through that tired recycle bin and all that seems left is the offal no one wanted.  Everything has been done-twice!  So now they’ve brought back the ugliest and shittiest of the mainstream fashion  mistakes of the ’70’s through the ’90’s.

There was lots of cool fashion from those eras, but we’ve already had retro revivals from all those eras.  Seems this generation has no new ideas, everything is derivative, and since it’s the ugly left-overs, has to be ironic.  Hipsters have no taste or discernment.  Again, maybe it’s that delusional mindset that Millenials have from being told they’re awesome even when they suck ass, so they’ve come to see themselves through a Stuart Smalley fun house mirror.

high waisted jean shorts-f71041Egregious example is high waisted shorts.  WTF!  To me, they look like a truck stop hooker found a donation bin on the site of the road and snagged some Mom jeans.  But seeing as she’s trying to make some business, she cut them up to her coochie and her ass cheeks.  Miley Cyrus is the worst offender, flogging this look constantly, but most young celebrities have worn them lately.  No one looks good in these.  When even young, fit, supposedly hot celebrities look hideous in them, the trickle down effect to the real world makes you want to gouge your eyes out.  Trickle down, more like ripple down as it highlights cascades of cellulite, cottage cheese ass, and lumbering gelatinous thighs.  It brings attention to all the worst figure flaws.  If you have the slightest bit of tummy, it’s going to look like a kangaroo pouch in front and ooze flesh from the tops, sides and back.  Today’s American female is mostly too thick-waisted to fit in the proportions of high waist pants without overhang. Not to mention it gives you camel toe.  And who the fuck has a seven inch crotch?  Seriously, are hipsters that desperate to be different from previous generations that they’re willing to be the most repulsive to set themselves apart?

skinny2 skinny1Skinny jeans for men, again, look like shit on in-shape, skinny celebrities, and are unflattering that it turns the real world into a nightmarish landscape.  The tight fit and cut do not suit most men as most guys have sad, scrawny legs with disproportionately thin, frail calves.  This look is especially gruesome on fat hipster men who have the egg on stilts syndrome.  Humpty Dumpty indeed-makes me want to trip them to see if they’ll get the yolk. ….

And then, there’s the phenomenon of the saggy ass skinny jeans.  This is some mutant evolution from the saggy ass big jean era.  It always makes you look like a total tool, exposes none-too-clean underwear I never wanted to see, a variety of unshapely behinds that should be hidden for the benefit of all.  It’s ridiculous and embarrassingly stupid but the sag ass was proportionate and has a twisted logic since the pants over loose and oversize in general.  Hip hop, gangster, skater, raver all sported variations.

Hipsters tried to come up with something new by recycling and mixing trends.  What we got was Frankenstein’s monster of fashion-the skinny jean with saggy ass.  Call it what you will, losers, you’re wearing denim jeggings and look like you shit your pants with a diaper load.  It’s the ultimate example of  following fashion out of conformity and trendiness-not on wearing what actually makes you look good, and is visually appealing to others.  I honestly can’t decide which is more pathetic and sad-the Humpty Dumpty Hipster in tight, plum smuggling skinny jeans, or the Where’s Waldo, prepubescent boy body with action beer gut hipster figurine with Gandhi-like thighs and toothpick calves in saggy ass jeggings?

The sag ass jeans are actually a perfect outer expression of  the mindset of hipsters.

Wishy-washy-can’t commit fully to one thing or another, take a stand, choose a side.

Denial of reality, false self-esteem, delusional-they actually think they look good and have no discernment, taste, awareness, clue, relationship with reality….

No sense of humor-they don’t get the joke’s on them.  They took this seriously, as they do everything about themselves.

Ironic-Most of the Caucasian Persuasion are hagged out  by 25.  You have the rest of your life to look like shit for real, so don’t waste what little time you have being ugly for fun.

Ugh, I hate me a hipster!  I can hear the hipster squeals of indignation!  “Hate is a very strong word! “.  Is this a sign of the End Times?  The Millenials have launched a fashion Apocalypse .  Hideous Half-Pants-another example of what we’ve descended to.  Instead of the new, they scrabble amongst the rubble of the old and try to recycle old ideas and combine them in “innovative” ways-no new gadgets, just repackage the iPhone.  This is what passes for creativity.  No unique voice or vision, just a hodgepodge of ideas sampled from others and regurgitated.   A monster mishmash of the grotesque, horrifying to behold, an abomination that must be destroyed.

24
Sep
13

Asian American Beauty Standards Don’t Apply in Asia

I remember reading some blog awhile back about a Cuban/Filipino/Korean/American that wrote about her experiences teaching English in Korea and that she wasn’t considered beautiful enough in South Korea.  The internet was full of outrage and disbelief.  I’m sure those commenters weren’t Asian from Asia and NOT Korean.  Without even looking at her photo, my reaction was “DUH!”.  After seeing her picture, my thoughts were confirmed.  All that article told me is she was incredibly uninformed about a country that she went to live and work in and knew nothing about the culture at all.  She was shocked and disappointed that being a quarter Korean descent she wasn’t accepted by her people.  That tells me she’s an American through and through and either unbelievably naive, or looking for publicity.

I’m a generation 1.5 immigrant-I came here about age 4, and grew up here with my immigrant parents.  I’m straddling that line between the Old World and the New.  Both Koreans and Americans see me as “other”.  I have never been to Korea since we left.  My American friends can’t understand why I wouldn’t want to see my native land.  They don’t get it.  I’m a full-blooded Korean with very Korean features, but I would not be accepted in Korea.  For one, I’m not fluent in the language. Even if I were, I would still be looked at as American, but not quite.  My white friends would have a very different time there than I.  They wouldn’t be treated with the kind of suspicion, prejudice, and contempt that I would.  They would think Koreans were very nice and tolerant.  What they don’t understand is that their behavior would be overlooked because they are white.  The attitude is that Westerners are barbarians and don’t know any better and it’s useless to teach them as they are beyond hope.  It’s like indulging a misbehaving retarded child.

As for me, I would be judged as a traitor of sorts.  Although I am from the same stock, the fact that I grew up in America means that I’m tainted and corrupted.  I’m not really Korean because I don’t conform to every aspect of their culture.  Not speaking the language and fully adhering to the customs disqualifies me from being Korean to the natives.  As a woman, I am also expected to conform to sexist behavioral norms.  I’’m far too outspoken, aggressive, and loud.  I am not demure and submissive and as a feminist, would be an outcast and extremely threatening.  Again, this is to be expected in Westerners, but on this, I would be judged as a bad Korean.

Being female also subjects me to more intense scrutiny and a set of criterion in terms of appearance.  I’m way too big.  When my mother visited Korea, she never brought any clothes or shoes back as early as 7th grade, as my broad shoulders and size 9 feet wouldn’t fit into the standard sizes sold there.  Good God, every Korean girl grows up being told she’s clumsy like a bear, has tree trunk or daikon radish legs, and constantly criticized about being fat by everyone in the community unless she fits the 98lb mold.  So if that’s normal in the Korean community in America, what do you expect it’s going to be like in an entire nation with this mentality?.  I scoff at her emotional distress after a few months-try living with that your whole life!

She should have known she would have been rejected from the outset because she is not full Korean.  Asians in general don’t celebrate diversity and being mixed race is not accepted, especially in Korea.  For her to be ignorant and surprised about this seems disingenuous.  Whether this attitude is right or wrong is a topic for another column on another day, and I’ll get to it.  What I’m talking about is walking into the lion’s den and being surprised that the lion would bite.  And then playing victim and looking for sympathy.  “Woe is me, I walked blindly into the lion’s den and I was mauled, traumatized, and scarred for life.”  I’m just incredulous at her stupidity.

When I looked at her picture and saw her skin tone, that would be the first indicator that she would be unattractive to Koreans, and frankly to the vast majority of Asians, even Asians whose natives are mostly of a darker skin tone.  Of course, Americans are already clambering onto their soapboxes with megaphones at the ready to shout “Racism!”.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s Western projections of their own racist attitudes onto other cultures.  If anything, it’s classist and elitist.  Think about it, Koreans have a long history and culture, and Westerners only appeared recently in the whole context of things.  Long before ever seeing people of any other race, the Korean beauty ideal was a pale complexion.  This was representative of being rich and privileged enough to live a life of leisure and not become tan from toiling in the fields like a peasant.  After Westerners came to Korea, they brought their racist attitudes with them and influenced this already exclusionary mindset.

It’s stories like hers that make me realize that our media and society really represents a limited and one-sided perspective on things.  Everything is framed through one lens and we seem to operate in total ignorance, or arrogance of other viewpoints.  Maybe we just ignore the attitudes of other countries that we don’t like or aren’t in accordance with our values. The message I take away from this is that while America is celebrating diversity, it’s just lip service since they don’t  know jack shit about the cultures they are supposedly embracing.  I also believe that free speech as well as discussion about unpleasant realities and viewpoints are choked off by the strangle hold of political correctness.  Only those viewpoints that have been sanitized are the ones that are heard in our mainstream media and as such constitute propaganda.

It’s ironic to me that this woman who went to teach in a foreign country clearly didn’t do her homework before deciding to go there.  Graded on lack of preparation, poor research,  and unfamiliarity with subject material, I give her an “F”.  I suspect part of the problem is she grew up in an era in America  of fake self-esteem where “everyone is beautiful in their own way” and everyone gets a trophy for showing up and everyone can be special.  I come from the Old World way which is second place means you lost, not everyone can be special, it’s a dog eat dog competitive world, and you should always strive for betterment, not acceptance of your flaws.  In America, if you aren’t really beautiful but tell others you are, people would give you some fake encouragement or keep quiet.  In Korea, if you were delusional and immodest enough to proclaim yourself beautiful when you’re not, the community at large would shout you down in no uncertain terms to your face.  Don’t get all offended.  I didn’t say the Korean view is totally right, just stating that’s the reality of the way they would see it.

16
Sep
13

Julie Chen and American Views on Asian Eye Surgery

julie_chen_plastic_surgerySo, the “big” news is Julie Chen’s confession to having eyelid surgery and the controversy over her decision.  This is old news is Asia, especially Korea, the capital of plastic surgery where it’s been almost a rite of passage for the majority of Korean women, who typically get this done in their teens.  In fact, I remember reading about a famous movie director who had to do an extensive search while casting for a historical movie as all the actresses and leading ladies in Korea had the surgery and he was having trouble finding someone with a natural, authentic, and traditional look.

It’s controversial in America because of different cultural norms and ideas.  You can almost always tell a Korean who was born in America, raised here, or adopted because they rarely have the surgery, compared to immigrants or foreign students who have had it done.

Having grown up here, I also thought that those that had the surgery were “selling out”, trying to be more white, bowing to pressure from a racist society.  I realized that I was seeing it only from one perspective or one could say, seeing it through different eyes after talking with two girls from Korea that were ESL students who became my friends after moving in next door.

I had never really had any Korean friends, and especially ones that were Korean, not Korean-American.  One day, one of the girls asked me when I had gotten the eye surgery.  I was surprised, as I had never had it done, though of course I knew it existed.  She said “Your eye job looks so natural, they did it well.”  When I told them that I hadn’t had surgery, they sighed, saying that I was really lucky.  Curious, I asked them to tell me about their experiences.

They both had it done at about age 16, and said that it was de rigeur.  One girl told me she didn’t want to do it, but her mother forced her, which was pretty common in cases of resistance.  Both said that it was painful but to not have it done had a lot of repercussions from family pressure, societal acceptance, to the ability to get a good job.  Especially in places like Korea, women’s looks are integral to their ability to get employment.  The girl who didn’t want the procedure also had the worst time of it.  She said it was really painful and she got a terrible infection that made her eyelids swell up and were covered with crusty sores and oozed pus for weeks on end.  She cried endlessly and blamed her mother, but what was done was done.

I asked if it was done to look more Caucasian, along with the lightening their hair and colored contacts, and if it was conforming to a Western ideal of beauty.  To my surprise, they had a completely different perspective.  They said that Koreans weren’t trying to have Caucasian eyes, just larger Asian eyes.  They pointed out my eye creases as an example.  When they get the surgery, they want the crease to be close to the lash line creating a more open almond shaped eye, rather than much higher on the eyelid with a hollowed out crease as is common in Caucasians.  My poor friend who hadn’t wanted the surgery also pointed out that the surgeon had actually botched the job.  He had cut the crease too far up, and as a result, it gave her a bit of a pop-eyed look as her eyes were considered too round and you could see the whites of her eyes slightly on the bottom.  As for the hair dyeing and colored contacts,  they said “When you live in a country where everyone has black hair and brown eyes, it’s boring.  We don’t want to be white, just different from each other.”  They wanted to stand out from time to time in a homogenous looking society and experiment with different looks for fun.  For them, living in a homogenous society, there weren’t any racist undertones to these decisions, just fashion and individuality.

That was a real eye-opener.  And yes, I’m being punny.  But it made me think that my perspective and disapproval of the surgery was based on growing up as a minority in an endemically racist society where Caucasian was the beauty norm.  As a result, my views were one-sided and biased and I had connotations with this procedure that the Korean ESL students, living in Korea weren’t subject to, and unaffected by.  I had the proverbial chip on my shoulder from the environment I lived in and my ability to make a judgement was based on a one sided viewpoint and experience and ignorance of the way other people thought about things in their own countries.  Typical American, to impose American views and motives to everyone else without even knowing someone else’s native culture and viewpoints in depth.

In America, to tell anyone they need an eye job would be considered racist and offensive and engender a whole lot of PC outrage.  For Asians, it’ doesn’t have that kind of heat.  It’s just more matter of fact.  Some people have really heavy eyelids and small eyes, and it’s just not aesthetically attractive.  Koreans want bigger eyes, but bigger Asian shaped eyes, not Caucasian ones.

Truth is, a lot of Asians do look better after surgery, or would look better if they got it done.  After all, white people with beady, squinty eyes aren’t considered attractive either.  My brother has extremely small, very heavy lidded eyes and could have benefited from the surgery.  We teased him in the family that it was a wonder he could see at all.

It’s symmetry, proportion, and balance in a face that makes it aesthetically pleasing-so says anthropology and biological  cues throughout the world.  Dr. Steven Marquardt, a former plastic surgeon, invented a grid that maps the proportions of what is considered a beautiful face, based on the Golden Ratio of Leonardo Fibonacci.  It’s pretty amazing.  When you superimpose this grid on images of people considered beautiful, their features conform to the outlines within the grid.  This applies to all races, all ethnicities, and both sexes.  These standards apply and fit whether it’s a modern celebrity or historical figure and works whether it’s Angelina Jolie or Nefertiti.

And let’s not forget, Julie Chen is in a profession where looks matter, and that is a major factor in that business.  Perhaps what would have been crueler but more truthful is that taking the racism out of the advice given her, she just didn’t have an attractive face and her eyes are disproportionately small to the features on her face.  She really needed surgery because she’s visually unappealing in a visual medium, not because her eyes were too Asian.  They were just too small for beauty.

Let me use an Asian star as an example.  Jackie Chan had extremely small and unattractive eyes, which you can see in his early films.  He had eyelid surgery, and while he still isn’t a handsome man, it made him more visually appealing.  Being an Asian star, there was no outcry of racism.  His motivation was not to look white.  His motivation would have been to be more attractive and therefore, appealing to his audience-which were Asians.

Would it have made Julie Chen feel better if they had just flat out told her she was ugly, without bringing race into it?  Because really that’s what the problem was.  She would never be able to work on tv in Asia with that mug, and would have been rejected outright or told the same thing.  When you choose to work in a medium that focuses on looks, what else do you expect?  Live by the sword, die by the sword.  She’s making herself into this poster child for racism and will be viewed as such in America.  In Asia, she’s just a not very pretty woman who was given some brutally honest and realistic advice about how to further her career.

And please, that excessive, overly shadowed and contoured eye makeup is all about trying to make the illusion of Caucasian eyes.  If she’s so proud of her Asian heritage and resentful of being pressured to look white, how come she looks more whitey wannabe than ever?  Now that she is in the position to no longer have to conform, wipe off all that makeup that is applied to make a fake high Caucasian crease, take off the fake eyelashes, and stop heavily contouring her naturally wide (though less than before-clearly a nose job as well) nose to celebrate her Chinese features.  Stop whining and being a hypocrite and playing victim to an audience for ratings!