Wednesday February 27, 2013
Too good (looks) to be true
Now everyone can be beautiful ... how boring!
LATE last year, a true story surfaced about a Chinese man who sued and divorced his wife on the grounds of fraud and won.
And what did she do? She gave birth to an apparently incredibly ugly baby girl.
The husband, by the name of Jian Feng, couldn’t believe the child was his because he was good-looking and his wife beautiful.
He thought his wife had been unfaithful but a DNA test put paid to that notion.
Then the truth emerged: his wife was a dreadfully plain-looking girl who spent US$100,000 (RM310,500) on plastic surgery in South Korea and reeled in a husband smitten by her man-made good looks.
Jian was so furious by her deception that he filed for divorce. Not only that, he successfully sued her for US$120,000 (RM372,500) because the judge was convinced she had fraudulently induced him into marrying her.
The Internet was abuzz with comments and among them: What made the judge and father so sure the ugly genes came from her?
The guy might have been handsome but that doesn’t automatically guarantee he will beget good-looking offspring. Similarly, a plain woman can have a lovely daughter.
But what a 21st century cautionary tale this is!
The woman who thought she could increase her marriage-worthiness rating by going under the knife is poorer by US$220,000 (RM683,000) and literally left holding the baby.
Are good looks that important? Well, studies repeatedly show that good lookers get the upper hand in almost everything: they get jobs faster, promoted quicker and are even paid more than their less attractive co-workers.
But in the past, people weren’t so obsessed with beauty and made do with whatever Mother Nature bestowed upon them and settled for whatever mates they could find.
Now medical advances can fix just about anything that is deemed wrong or crooked. So if you can afford it, you needn’t suffer the ignominy of being unattractive any more.
There is an e-mail making the rounds showing the “before and after” surgery photos of several Asian women and if real, the transformation is absolutely startling. The girls are certainly much nicer-looking but they have the same kind of prettiness: big, round double-lid eyes, cute noses, oval-shaped faces. If beauty can be so easily manufactured, what’s the value in it?
When I visited Seoul last year, a group of young women chatting among themselves at Doota shopping mall caught my eye. Or rather their noses got my attention. They all had exactly the same profile: straight, high, perfect noses, probably crafted by the same surgeon. I must admit I felt a twinge of envy.
Plastic surgery is apparently so popular and commonplace in South Korea that if you see a perfectly pretty face in Seoul, you are likely to assume it wasn’t born that way. Even good-looking K stars and celebrities face scrutiny and questions.
Fixing faces seems to be the growing trend in other parts of East Asia too, especially China. Perhaps in time to come, it will be the plain Janes who catch the eye because good looks that look the same will be boring.
Not only that, they will be admired for refusing to fix up their faces.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a vainpot myself and will never diss the importance of looking good and taking pride in one’s appearance. Even bushy-haired, frumpy Susan Boyle of Britain’s Got Talent fame had to undergo a makeover, in keeping with public expectations of what a celebrity should look like.
But I also know that a good heart, a sunny disposition, a sense of responsibility, common sense, compassion, a quick wit – any of these qualities – outweigh good looks. Substance over form, please, because beauty, no matter how gorgeous, will fade.
Where Baby Jian is concerned, maybe, just maybe, she inherited her papa’s genes and she will grow up to be a beauty after all. If not, she can do what her mama did.
Better yet, she stays ordinary looking but is so brilliant and talented that she becomes the first woman elected president of the People’s Republic of China.
That would be the best revenge of an ugly child.
> This aunty believes that one doesn’t need to be pretty to look good because, as Helena Rubinstein famously said, ‘There are no ugly women, only lazy ones’. E-mail feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org