The phenomenon of Asians seeking surgery to look Western, particularly eyelid surgery, has been around for a long time. The channelAPA.com crew stumbled on the documentary film “Western Eyes” that was created over a decade ago. Some of the same feeling from 10 years ago still hold true today. Here’s more about the film:
WESTERN EYES (2001) examines the search for beauty and self-acceptance through the experiences of Maria Estante and Sharon Kim, young women contemplating cosmetic surgery. Both of Asian descent – Maria is Filipina and Sharon is Korean – they believe their appearance, specifically their eyes, affect the way they are perceived by others. Layering their stories with pop culture references to beauty icons and supermodels, filmmaker Ann Shin looks at the pain that lies deep behind the desire for plastic surgery by drawing viewers into the real-time emotional journey of Maria and Sharon. Imagine looking in the mirror and seeing another face staring back at you. Would it change your identity? How much do your looks have to do with who you are?
For Maria, surgery is an expedient way to solve her crisis. “I could spend $5,000 to fix my nose and eyes and feel better,” she confesses as she sits in front of a mirror applying makeup and criticizing her facial features. “Or I could go into therapy – but who has the time to spend two or three years in therapy?”
Troubled by their relationships with their mother, their ancestry and their physical appearance, both Maria and Sharon feel somewhat unsettled in Western society. “I am recreating myself, I am balancing East and West. I’m getting it done because I want to feel better,” explains Sharon.
The 40 minute “Western Eyes” documentary is still as relevant 10 years ago as it is today. Will Asian Americans continue to “Westernize”?
Western Eyes documentary film