Thanks, King, for sending in these articles: Erasing Ethnicity.
(I google searched for a picture of a blonde haired, blue eyed Asian woman to put on the front-page of this article. The results were all hideous, so I didn’t bother posting. So instead y’all get to see a picture of the beautiful and natural Asian American Yunjin Kim who recently decided not to go with the typical marriage trend. Represent, Yunjin! Min Jin, you broke my heart; Yunjin, you put it back together!)
I know we’ve discussed this issue before. Check out the articles though. There are some interesting tidbits that will interest the fact-hungry. For example:
34% of the hair dye sold in the U.S. last year was blonde.
80% of Koreans in their 20s lighten their hair.
I remember seeing Tyra Banks talking to an Asian woman on her show who had had eye surgery and was rhapsodizing about how “it’s not about race at all.” Tyra pointed to her own dyed, straightened hair and said, “This is not my hair.”
It’s a complicated matter in the professional modeling world. If you’ve ever seen a short female model walking next to a “normal” sized female model (with “normal” being 5’9 or more in that industry), it’s pretty clear that taller is better in the world of modeling–tall women make short women look like little kids. This is going to be the same whether you’re in the U.S. or Asia. It’s the same deal with guys: the easiest way to stand out among men is to literally stand out by being taller (or else just have lots of money…but that’s a different issue). So there’s an argument for some sort of natural logic for the height preference.
There are plenty of tall Asian women if you look at the worldwide population. Sure, it’s rare for an Asian woman to be over 5’9, but it’s also rare for White women and Black women. Height is more a function of diet and regular genes than just race. In terms of professions, I can see reasons to give tall models preference over short models. I can’t see any reason for there being a height requirement for flight attendants or the Chinese foreign ministry, other than maybe screening for an attendant’s or diplomat’s ability to reach the overhead compartments. I think those cosmetic height requirements are a form of discrimination. They don’t affect one’s ability in the job at all.
As for the other physical traits, it’s all culturally determined. Blonde hair, Caucasian eyes, and white or any color of skin tone should not have preference over another. Giving the traits of one race such a big advantage in the fashion industry is illogical, and it promotes misguided values among the regular population.
The question, of course, is how to counteract the fashion industry’s current preferences. Maybe it could be done through a special interest group within the industry, such as how the AAJA seeks to increase the number of Asian American reporters. I would like to see more “Asian” features in the fashion industry.