Let me take this 30 minute break before my next class begins to share an experience I had during my morning class today.
I am taking up a Communication and Culture course here in USF and today we talked about the dynamics of the perception of beauty which varies from culture to culture. What’s interesting is that the assigned reading today was Kaw’s argument on the medicalization of beauty and how Asians usually went for double eyelid surgery and nose jobs to boost their societal value. My professor also showed this video in class, which was hilarious for me because 1) it’s too early for Claudine Barretto, 2) it’s Claudine Barretto in a USF elective and 3) Claudine Barretto never really was that dark.
So the discussion went on and I contributed to mention that in the Philippines, most especially in the realm of showbiz, whitening creams have already evolved into more invasive procedures such as glutathione injections or similar whitening shots. That angle I brought in was welcomed with such interest until a particular Asian (I do not know, nor do I want to assume her exact ethnicity) classmate of mine goes on to interrupt me by saying:
“It’s not as scary as Kara puts it. It’s normal and it’s pretty widespread. I mean, it’s just a shot, you know? People there even get it for their 18th birthday as presents–I was even considering it for myself as well.”
It’s. Just. A. Shot. Eh kung ikaw kaya i-“shot” ko?
This really insulted me because it’s from naïve and tactless people like this that countries, and in my case, the Philippines, gets put under a bad light. For one, how could these foreigners process the connection between a third world country having luxuries of facial aesthetic enhancements as “gifts” while the rest of the nation is seen globally as chained by poverty? What does that say about our nation’s priorities? I was really pissed because she spoke with such confidence as if she’s been living in Manila ever since and her views were screaming “Look at me! I’m a sheltered know it all!”
No, girl, we do not get plastic surgery and shots as presents. And no matter what you say, going under the knife is scary. Please, not because you, let’s say, visit your grandmother in the Philippines or from whatever Asian country you’re from every summer, does not give you the right to speak for the general Asian population. You may look Asian, but you are far from understanding our culture– so stop acting like you represent the greater whole.