What Would You Do with 4 Million Yuan?
At only 22 years old, the Chinese girl known as "Pink Baby" has used at least 4 million yuan (approximately 633,858 U.S. dollars) on over 200 cosmetic surgeries. Starting at the age of 16, she began with a blepharoplasty procedure (also known as double eyelid surgery).¹ The operation is common among Asians who wish to add a crease to their eyelids that makes some Asians look, "less tired."² Pink Baby claims that since then, she continued getting almost every type of surgery that was offered ranging from her head to her feet.³ Her obsession with cosmetic surgery has led to permanent damage to her health, both physically and mentally. She is unable to walk properly, and suffers from extreme cancer risks on her left breast.⁴
Pink Baby's addiction to cosmetic surgery is only one of many cases of women in China getting extreme makeovers. For the past few years, many people from China have been going under the knife, and its toll has been having a significant effect on China's "leftover women." In China, women who remain unmarried over the age of 27 are considered leftovers.⁵ While these women are highly educated, and possess successful careers, China's society commonly views them as defective for a number of reasons ranging from their ugliness to their inability to attain a husband and have children.⁶ Luckily, the society these women belong to hasn't forced them to commit suicide, right?
Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?
With the excessive amount of surgery women are getting in China, the desire to spend tons of money on such operations ultimately personifies a form of suicide that doesn't necessarily kill these women on a physical level, but definitely destroys their identities on an inner level. On the other hand, our interview with a 62 year old woman from mainland China who wished to remain anonymous demonstrates a more positive view. "These women who have yet to wed are more valuable than this modern 'leftover' term they are given," she said. "Growing up in China, I never heard of this categorization (leftover women) in such a publicly humiliating way. In fact, to me, these women are the women society is jealous of. Their value is anything but a leftover. By not following the standards of society, these women prove that Chinese women are perfectly capable of being equal to men in the workforce, and beyond in terms of mentality. They are more desirable in my opinion because people are more curious about them. Contrary to being ugly, I'm sure a lot of these women are so attractive that they might feel like it's more of a loss to stick with just any man."
Such commentary on the situation might not be enough to change the harsh term some Chinese women are given. However, it highlights that the ability to hold off on what society commands may very well be a more positive indication of advancements. The question is whether China is ready to acknowledge, and reveal the success of these women because it's definitely one of the many things the country should share with the world.