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Plastic Surgery to Report?

by on November 19, 2016

Towards the end of class, we talked a little about Asians in the reporting world. Someone mentioned right before class ended that mostly Asians would get plastic surgery to change their facial features to almost “fit in” with other American reporters. This got me thinking: is it because if they look more alike, then they themselves and the audience would feel more comfortable reporting and listening to the news by Asians?

I think it could be a reason, but I think the main reason is because a lot of Asians believe that American features are now the definition of beauty among their culture. Facial plastic surgery is so common and wanted among Asians that a lot of people travel to South Korea to get it done because it is considered the plastic surgery capital of the world. Even in South Korea, reporters get plastic surgery so that they will look prettier and “more presentable” for the public eye. Having bigger eyes with double eyelids, a tall nose bridge, and pale skin can be seen as trying to look more American. But, it isn’t necessarily to fit in to the culture; it is mostly because those features are their definitions of beauty.

Some might argue that it’s different with Asian reporters in those countries and Asian reporters in America who get plastic surgery. That, because of different cultures, the reason and need for plastic surgery is different and not necessarily because of beauty. However, getting plastic surgery and adding more “white people” features on an Asian face does not change their entire ethnicity look; they still look Asian.

Whether having diversity in the newsroom is important or not, getting plastic surgery does not seem relevant if, in the end, the reporter still looks Asian even with plastic surgery. I’m not sure if the discussion was geared towards this idea because it was the end of class, but the topic got me thinking and led me to this conclusion. I’m curious to how others think about this.

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3 Comments
  1. I found this video, from a no longer reporter, now talk show host, Julie Chen, saying that her experience as a reporter was that her and many other Asian American reporters at the time had gone through this surgery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGcgn65db5A&t=110s

  2. I think that the issue here is standards of beauty in general. There is so much pressure, especially for women to look appealing on air. I think it’s everyone’s choice to have plastic surgery and as you say, people get it for many different reasons. But as a women who desires a career in broadcast, the everyday pressures of looking your best at all times in order to be taken seriously are real and unfortunate. And I agree with your perspective, whether or not someone has had plastic surgery is not relevant to their abilities as a reporter, just as beauty and appearance should not matter to their reporting abilities.

  3. aoates1995 permalink

    I see this cultural pressure across all races. Although many do not go to the extreme of plastic surgery, African American and Latino cultures also fall into changing themselves to appear more “white.” Women within these ethnicities often have to repetitively straighten their hair (to the point of damage), or even lighten their skin. I am hopeful that this dynamic will eventually shift…somewhere in the distant future.

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