Blepharoplasty as Domestication of the Asian: Constructing Korean Identities by White Hands

by Angela Kim


“In this thesis, I trace the historical origins and popularization of blepharoplasty to demonstrate that the procedure is fundamentally rooted in white supremacist ideology. Dr. Millard, the white WWII Navy veteran who originated and performed blepharoplasty in Korea, made the Korean face aesthetic an issue of military and colonial conquest. This militarized aesthetic was imported from the Korean War front to the United States home front once US occupation of Korea ended. Over time, the motives behind receiving blepharoplasty transformed into a global impulse towards conforming to a hegemonic identity characterized by cosmopolitan whiteness.”

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