Two Chinese-American Sisters: One Got Double-Eyelid Surgery — the Other Sister Opted Out

Growing up as Chinese-Americans in the primarily white Bay Area of northern California during the 1990s, Jenny and Willa Jin were realized their eyelids were different. “If only you had double eyelids, it would make your eyes look bigger and you’d look better,” Willa, now 21, remembers hearing her parents and family members say.

Double-Eyelid Surgery, also known as Blepharoplasty, was a hot topic in the Jin household. Both sisters were born with monolids — an eye shape characterized by the absence of crease. When Jenny, who is now 28, was 18, their mother offered to pay for Double-Eyelid Surgery. “I definitely didn’t feel like she was pressuring me,” says Jenny. “It was more giving me the option and letting me know it would be okay if I wanted to.”

So, in the summer of 2006, just mere months before Jenny started her freshman year of college, she flew to China, where the procedure costs less. (Willa, then 11, accompanied her for moral support). The two sisters, who used to have practically identical eyes, are now separated by a delicate piece of skin. Willa, who has often been asked if she would like the surgery, too, has never felt the urge. Willa and Jenny’s story draws attention to the middle ground of family, physical alteration, and cultural pressure.

According to the sisters, Double-Eyelid Surgery is copiously embraced in Asia. “There’s less stigma around Plastic Surgery and almost none around Double-Eyelid Surgery,” says Willa. “It was encouraged by my Chinese mother and grandmother.” Things may be changing around the globe, too: According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Blepharoplasty is the second most popular Plastic Surgery procedure following Rhinoplasty (Nose Surgery) in the U.S.

Jenny’s Blepharoplasty took less than an hour and only required Local Anesthesia. “It was really freaky,” she reminisces. “Imagine being fully conscious and having your eye region numbed, but being fully aware that surgeons were essentially sewing up your eyelids.” She went home that same day with swollen eyelids. “It looked like someone punched both of my eyes,” she remarks. After a week of healing, her stitches were removed and her new double lids emerged. “I was super excited! I could do so much more with my makeup,” she recalls. “I still felt like I looked the same, just with a subtle alteration.”

Even though monolids are most frequently associated with those of Asian descent, the trait sometime appears on European and African faces, too. Many critics consider Blepharoplasty a desire to conform to Western beauty ideals. “I don’t think my mindset was that I wanted to look less Asian or more white,” Jenny says. “It was more that I thought double eyelids would enhance my face.”

Regardless, it’s hard to ignore the cultural aspect. Like natural hair, stereotypically Asian features, like monolids, aren’t considered traditionally beautiful by today’s standards, says Willa: “It plays into the Western dominance over the rest of the world, not just in beauty standards but in other ways, too. No matter what, even subconsciously, it’s still an influence.”

An understanding of sociocultural pressures has not shielded Willa from them. “I have felt a certain level of shame in my life. Everyone around me was telling me I needed to look a certain way to be beautiful,” she says. In high school, when she was first beginning to dip her toes into the makeup world, she was frustrated by the number of YouTube tutorials for women with double eyelids. “I always felt like I wasn’t the norm,” she says. Today, age and wisdom have played a role in her decision not to undergo surgery. “Over the past couple of years, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with myself,” she says. “I was born this way, so why should I try to change it?”

Jenny never regrets her own decision to go under the knife. “I had something done to positively enhance my features and it’s made me more confident,” she says. She makes the distinction, though, that surgery is not a panacea for low self-worth. “For people who feel like there’s something wrong with them, Plastic Surgery is not going to completely solve your problems,” she says. “It’s more beneficial to people who are already comfortable with themselves, but just want that extra boost.”

The question persists: How does Willa feel staring into her own sister’s double-lidded eyes from her own unaltered monolids? “At this point, I can’t remember what Jenny looked like before. I was young, I just accepted it.” At the end of the day, she continues, “It’s a personal choice. If getting Double-Eyelid Surgery makes someone feel more confident, I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with that. Who am I to shame someone else for doing something for themselves?”

“Ethnic Facial Cosmetic Surgery is a personal choice meant to enhance one’s appearance and help increase self-confidence and self-esteem it’s not meant to make everyone resemble Caucasian individuals or look like Kim Kardashian, Brad Pitt, Justin Bieber, or Barbie.”

— Dr. Slupchynskyj

If you are a Chinese-American interested in learning more about Blepharoplasty, schedule your consultation today with Facial Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Oleh Slupchynskyj, who is celebrated for helping Ethnic patients preserve their cultural identity.

Spring Forward to What’s Hot

Now that it’s officially spring, we bring you the top beauty and fashion trends for making a real splash into the warmer weather. Now that you’ve shed those winter layers, it’s time to unveil something truly amazing to the world.

First we consulted Allure Magazine for the colors to help you “face” the world like a true fashionista:

● Its spring, not Halloween but you still might like to experiment with orange lipstick. Although it’s been trendy for a while, this year’s orange is more explosive. Try an orange with a neon glow. They say it’s hard to stand out on in a place like NYC, but this could be a street-stopper.

● Asking men to look into your “deep blue eyes” will now be easier than ever regardless of your natural features. Cobalt is the color of “cool” this spring when choosing an eye shadow. Lighter shades got ditched for the darker, “diva blue” hues.

● The word is out there was a major break-up. Black liners got bounced and were replaced by a subtle upgrade to navy blue. Step out on a limb and secure something new to frame your magnificent “windows” to your summer soul.

● Although you may have been looking forward to traditional “beachy” colors for your nails and open toed shoes try something “winter retro” this spring. Chocolate tastes good anytime of the year and now it looks great on your nails after a mani pedi, year round as well.

Now what’s “Prêt-à-Porter” from your shopping bags to your first outdoor cocktail? It’s going to be street side dining time soon and we want to help you make the avenues your runway. Elle Magazine recommends a few must-haves:

● Logo your way to cafe seating arrangements this spring. Don’t be afraid to show the world just whose stores you’re shopping in. Anything that displays your favorite designer’s initials with pride will be the best in show.

● If logos are too much for your understated taste, don’t worry because opposites always attract. Minimalism is also heating up like the temperatures. Basic, one shade bags and trousers and classic gold link jewelry will also satisfy any audience’s craving for the latest in style.

● For the men its metro but for the ladies its 80s retro, at least that is when it comes to their shoe fetish. 1980s style, low heeled pumps are back for a spring flash.

● It’s NYC not Cali, however, “casual chic” may hit east coast boardrooms as well this spring. Try some surf inspired, but career ready board shorts. Show off those legs in  unique, bi-coastal fashion.

● If Cali isn’t far enough, pull a piece from even farther away. Traverse the concrete jungle in tribal inspired dresses with fringe and more street stopping orange to match your lips. Let your wardrobe take you far, far away from blending into boring NYC, black and gray favorites.

In addition to your beauty and fashion routine, occasionally people like to prepare for summer “stepping out” in other ways as well. Minimally invasive interventions like Botox®™ or dermal filler injections may also be nice additions to your vacation checklist. If you’ve been considering surgical options like a Facelift or Eye Lift, now would be the best time to schedule your surgery so you’re healed in time for friends’ seaside parties on the beaches of the Hamptons or New Jersey. The Aesthetic Institute of New York & New Jersey has immediate consultations available.


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