Ulzzang!

artist: amandine alessanda, found via uppercasemagazine.tumblr

According to the New York Times, contacts that make your eyes look larger are both a dangerous fashion craze and a fad that’s already over. The article outlines an apparent global aesthetic for “huge eyes” and women’s willingness to stick medically unnecessary contacts in their eyes and believe it’s just like other make-up enhancements.

The article continues on with a hegemonic medical reminder that if a doctor doesn’t prescribe it, it could be dangerous. Because we all know that tummy tucks, hymen reconstructions, and other beauty regimes performed by licensed medical professionals aren’t dangerous and come with “grave concerns”.  A blip about “circle lenses are not just for Asian people” successfully  equalizes the multi-cultural phenomenon.

The male voices, the “experts”, are authoritatively paternalistic. The female voices, the consumers, are simply stating that looking good makes them feel good and happy. They get compliments from …. from who?

Can we assume these are all heterosexual women? Can we assume this hetero-normative gendered groupthink is because men told them they look desirable? The male gaze is seemingly lacking or absent so it’s difficult to conclude that answer.

What to make of these women who have a regressive belief that child-like is attractive? Why am I regressively assuming that they are wearing circle lenses for hidden sexual agendas? I’ve been reading Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and I can’t stop thinking about gender performance and how that informs sexuality. Sometimes the obvious is the hardest to see. Or when you’re not looking for the signs, you’re likely to miss them even as they are staring right at you.

Wearing circle lenses isn’t any different from other forms of beauty regimes women subject themselves to (bleach douches anyone?) and they certainly won’t be the last.  Exposing the dynamic nature of beauty fads and their intersections of race, consumer culture, sexuality, class, and gender norms is fascinating to me. Thank you Mattilda and contributing authors for keeping my eyes open and huge.

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