If you get a chance, you should check out this film.
I caught it last year when it screened at my school. It deals with the subject of double eyelid surgery in Asian and Asian American communities, and questions the larger idea of cosmetic surgery and the various reasons why people, and especially women, undergo these procedures. My favorite quote, and the quote I find most telling, is when Mai Anh says, "Some critics might say, 'You're abandoning your Asian heritage.' But what Asian heritage am I abandoning?" It's interesting to me the ways in which race becomes tied to the body in popular discourse, how physical markers become evidence of an imagined or real racial heritage, e.g. skin color, eye shape, hair texture, and how those markers effectively drive certain cosmetic surgery procedures. Also, as one interviewee states, "I don't think it's as simple as people want to say, 'She wants to look white.'" How can we negotiate the different and complex reasons why Asian women undergo double eyelid surgery, and how accurate is it to say because they want to look white? Is that singular reason appropriate, or does it mask a wide range of historical and political factors that are often ignored in the wider dialogue about race in America? What does it mean that a huge number of Asians living in Asia undergo eyelid surgery, where they are the dominant racial group, as opposed to Asians living in America, where they are not? The film, I think, really addresses the issue from a multifaceted point of view and attempts to find a more holistic answer than the tired, "She wants to look white" excuse.
For more information as well as screening dates, check out the website here.
Sidenote: the director of my university's APA program makes a cameo!