Why Do Some Asians Aspire to Western Ideals of Beauty?

1a44cb56679d2ae5d53c1fde10a681faThere is no denying that a huge influence of Caucasian beauty ideals is absorbed by Asians. There are some that are really a pet peeve for me and others that I can understand. Others are unrelated to Western standards, and are simply the way someone wants to look like. Of course, there is some generalisation, but there is certainly a massive influence from the Western Ideal of what beauty is. In a previous article that you can read here, I talked about how there were hardly any racial diversity in model agencies. Sure, there was one or two Asian of African American models, but it wasn’t enough. In a way, it’s degrading and denotes us as less important. The definition of beauty is so distorted and unrealistic as it defines beauty as being picture perfect, naturally filtered and edited to perfection.

Not going to lie, there are moments when I return to Asia, I feel that in many aspects it can be very shallow – likewise when I’m in a Western country cos let’s face it, shallow people are everywhere. But, it’s more or less that the Advertisement doesn’t talk about embracing the Asian features so much, but avoiding it. How to achieve bigger eyes with circled or coloured lenses. Get a double eyelid look with tape that will make you look more ‘attractive’. Wear false lashes to feel ‘beautiful’. Have flawless white skin, a V-shaped chin and a thin nose. It’s troubling how many people go towards altering their body in order to look a certain way. I still stick to what I say in expressing that everyone has the freedom to make their own decision, but when we are changing ourselves to fit a standard, why do we do this?

In Asia it is a compliment when someone tells you that you looked mixed or foreign. It usually implies that they think you look attractive. But what I find when people say that, is the implication that Asian beauty is not as attractive, which just isn’t the case. Society cashes in on the dissatisfaction of our self image, by communicating through the media that we aren’t good enough. It is sad that society has a crushingly huge emphasis on women having to be ‘pretty enough’ to go far in their career and in their life. In terms of small eyes, I think Almond eyes are beautiful – if we were all to strive for big eyes, thin chins and white skin wouldn’t we all look the same?

12 thoughts on “Why Do Some Asians Aspire to Western Ideals of Beauty?

  1. Love this post!
    On a side note, when i visited taiwan, i was told that i looked mixed which i found quite amusing. Where you grow up also shapes how you look and carry yourself, so i guess that was it.

    1. Thank you :) Indeed a compliment! I hope you enjoyed your time in Taiwan. I definitely think so, you said it so well – how you look and carry yourself.

  2. I was too struck by this when I went to Japan last year. I was also struck by the many beautiful women I saw there. On the other hands I do think Korean beauty and makeup trends are becoming a big hit with Western girls, and I hope this kind of fusion continues! I think it’s great if we can take a little something from all cultures xx


    1. Hi Abby – thank you for sharing your experience. Japan is still on my checklist of countries to travel to! Ah for sure. Not to mention, they have amazing skincare and makeup products! X

  3. Excellent post, Katie. “In Asia it is a compliment when someone tells you that you looked mixed or foreign” Sadly, this is very much true. Although many of us are more open-minded about the acceptance of different cultures and customs today, sadly in Asia Western beauty trends tend to be favoured. I remember flipping through a few magazines in Singapore some years ago and I’d see advertisement after advertisement for skin whitening treatment and bust enlargements. Most of the models in these ads were Asian, but had fair skin, bug round eyes and long lashes.

    I think a lot of us are in this mentality where we want what we don’t have. Or some of us could probably aspire to Western beauty ideals because that is what we have always been taught to achieve.

    1. Thank you Mabel :) It does seem to be very integrated into advertisements and the media in general, however I hope we can embrace all beauty, but I feel that the media feeds off a lot of negativity. I remember when I was in Taiwan as a young girl, there were always many family and friends that would tell me and my sister that we were too tanned or dark. It was really made out to be a bad thing, when it really isn’t. I really agree with what you said, how we often want what we don’t have, when really we all have something beautiful that is special to our own.

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