Like many of her peers, 23-year-old Ruksin searches social networks every day, looking for something very specific – news from the world about cosmetic surgery.
Ruxin is planning surgery double eyelid, where the surgeon creates a crease on the eyelid that should make the eyes look bigger.
A resident of the Chinese city of Guangzhou regularly signs up for the Gengmei application (Gengmei) in search of the most suitable surgeon.
“There are so many clinics in the city, but I want to make sure I’m doing well, it’s still about my face,” he told the BBC.
Gengmei, which means “better” in Chinese, is one of several social networking platforms in China dedicated to cosmetic surgery, where users post statuses about plastic surgery such as liposuction and nose surgery to which they have undergone.
Search results can be filtered, among other things, by regions, procedures and clinics.
Since the launch of the Gangmei app in 2013, the number of users has reached 36 million.
More than half are young women in their twenties.
In addition, the platform for cosmetic surgery Sou-yang (So-Young) recorded an increase in active users, from 1.4 million in 2018 to 8.4 million per month.
Their popularity is an indicator of a change in attitude towards cosmetic surgery in China, where more plastic surgeries are now performed than in any country in the world after the United States.
According to report Deloitte, China’s market nearly tripled in value in four years to about 177 billion yuan ($ 27.3 billion) in 2019 – an annual growth rate of 28.7 percent well above the global rate of 8.2 percent.
If this trend continues, China could become the world’s largest plastic surgery market by the middle of the decade, estimates Global Times.
Although the most popular procedures include the creation of “double lids” and jaw lines in the shape of the Latin letter V, new trends are coming and going,
Among the newest are pointed ears, like those of an elf.
Representatives of the “zed” generation, which includes those born after 1996, are not ashamed to go for plastic surgery, even though this topic was taboo in the past.
Ruksin, who works in fashion retail, said that her friends “openly talk about cosmetic procedures”.
“Even if people don’t announce that they’ve done something, they won’t deny it if you ask them.”
Youth and Plastic Surgery: Looking for a selfie-like look
More regulations are needed
However, the Chinese plastic surgery boom has its downsides.
According to report According to the Global Times, the country had more than 60,000 unlicensed plastic surgery clinics in 2019.
About 40,000 “medical accidents” happen at these clinics every year, which means that an average of 110 operations a day go wrong.
In one of the most famous cases, Chinese glumica Gao Liu she shared pictures online of a cosmetic procedure that left her with necrosis of her nose, which means that the tissue on its top has died.
She said she would have to have more surgeries to fix it, but the complication had already cost her more than 400,000 yuan in film contracts.
Meanwhile, her doctor was suspended for six months, and the hospital was fined 49,000 yuan.
Many social media users feel that the penalty was not high enough.
“Is this a punishment for mutilating someone?” One user wrote, demanding better regulations.
Last month, China’s National Health Commission announced a campaign against unlicensed clinics, such as responding more quickly to patient complaints.
Why take the risk?
Many in China attach great importance to appearance, and the desire to be “beautiful” maintains the trend of plastic surgery, experts say for the BBC.
Dr. Brenda Alegre, a professor of gender studies at the University of Hong Kong, says “adapting to ideals makes women even more desirable not only in love, but also for work.”
In China, job candidates are often asked to attach a photo.
Some job ads also specify physical appearance, especially for women, even if it does not affect the performance of the job.
Human Rights Watch report for 2018, he draws attention to sexist job ads in China and cites the example of one who is looking for an “aesthetically pleasing” associate in the sale of clothing, and the other for a “modern and beautiful” conductor on a train.
The Internet creates a whole host of new business opportunities, and many of them are related to appearance.
That is why experts estimate that appearance is in the center of attention, perhaps more than ever before.
“A certain kind of beauty can bring more business opportunities – for example, making money live and uploading video content online,” Gengmei Vice President Wang Yun told the BBC.
He points out that Gangmei only works with licensed plastic surgeons.
“From the most beautiful to the ugliest”
Chinese tabloids can be brutal.
Celebrities are often criticized in newspapers for their looks.
Earlier this year, an art gallery in Shanghai hosted an exhibition which ranked images of women from “the most beautiful to the ugliest.”
Lu Yufan, a photographer from Beijing who is working on a book on cosmetic surgery, tells the BBC that people from the environment during her growing up were quite direct in commenting on her appearance.
Her relatives would tell her that she looks like a TV actress, but “not like beautiful heroines, but with funny supporting characters,” the 29-year-old recalls.
“When I went to high school, the boys also listed who they thought were the ugliest girls in the class, they told me I was a high five.”
Lou, who has visited 30 cosmetic surgery clinics as part of her project, added that doctors have never refrained from telling her how a face can be “improved”.
“They were so convincing that it was hard for me to say no, except that I didn’t have the money for it,” she said.
For Ruksin, eyelid surgery is affordable and costs between $ 300 and $ 1,200.
But that is only the first step.
“If all goes well, I’ll probably do something else.
“Who doesn’t want to be prettier?”
Source: Dnevni list Danas by www.danas.rs.
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