I Feel Pretty Unpretty: Why Anthea Shouldn’t Get Plastic Surgery
Earlier this week we posted an article about why Star Hunt contestant Anthea should get plastic surgery. As we promised, here’s Sami’s op-ed about why she made the right decision to not get plastic surgery.
On a recent episode of “Happy Together 3,” the hosts asked her, “When was your best time period?” Kim Hyoyeon of Girls’ Generation proceeded to sit there, contemplating, but then sharply responded, “I don’t know if I had one. I was popular only when I was a trainee.” Then, her fellow group member Yoona jumped in and said, “Hyoyeon was the celebrity of all the trainees. She had fans even when she was a trainee.” Hyoyeon continued, “I debuted after going through a long training period, but I wasn’t as popular as I was when I was a trainee. I told myself there was nothing wrong with my abilities.” So then they ask the big question: “What did you think was the problem?” Poor thing couldn’t even say it; she just gestured to her face…and then? They all laugh at her, at which point something clicked in my mind. In fact, it was a pipe bomb that exploded a dam of empathy. It became horrifiyingly clear to me how this girl’s confidence in herself had once stood high and just how much her self-esteem had been broken down over time. This lustrous statue built of finesse and quality had been chipped at over the years by the axes of netizens, the mallets of society, and the jackhammer of SM Entertainment. All of them in tandem. All of them relentless. All of them telling her, “Hyoyeon. Fix. Your. Face.” Sound familiar?
The same story popped up not too long ago featuring a 15-year-old, Singaporean girl named Anthea Wang Thong Yi, who hoped to become a K-Pop star but was ill-prepared for the borrowed life that came with it. Such a life included changing things she considered her best features: her hair and her face. “They tried to fix my face,” she cried and cried. And as my colleague, Victoria, notes, she did a lot of that. Victoria also argues that the girl knew what she was getting into when she decided to enter the infamously plastic K-Pop industry, but the fact is that she didn’t know. Who could? And the fact that she’s fifteen? Come on now. Teenagers, in general, are a bucket of hormones and insecurities, not to mention the chaos theory that is the emotional structure of teenage girls.
Plastic surgery should be a personal decision and it is wrong for any company to ask, persuade, or insist upon plastic surgery to further their artists’ careers. Consider the fabulous group Brown Eyed Girls, who’ve stayed strong despite having “plastic faces,” because they embrace it and refuse to let it change them as artists. Throughout their career, they’ve voluntarily had touch-ups done on their appearances, but the first time they really had to talk about it was during their “Sixth Sense” promotions when everyone started noticing how truly different their faces had become. The girls admitted proudly to the work they had done, and they even bluntly confirmed that every time they went under the knife, their approval rating went up on TV programs.
In Hyoyeon’s case, on the other hand, the decision to go under the knife hardly seems voluntary, given all the harsh criticisms she’s garnered throughout the years for her appearance, along with her status quo as an “underdog.” Regardless, surgery may have done wonders to her face, yet it has not done nearly as much work for her career at all.
When it comes to Anthea, I have to re-iterate, she’s fifteen. She hasn’t even finished growing into her body yet, coming into her own. She’s freakin’ gorgeous! And she’s talented without surgery. Think about it. Plastic surgery does not equate to talent. I repeat, plastic surgery does not equate to talent. Plastic surgery may help sell music, but it does not make your songs any better; it does not make you a better dancer, singer, or actor; it just makes you look like you feel pretty, but at the end of the day, you’re still going to be you. How much did plastic surgery help SNSD member Jessica‘s actual reputation? What about her vocal chords? Her dancing prowess?
You have to wonder if Hyoyeon looks at stories like those and feels regret for what she’s sacrificed. And I mean, sacrificed. And for what? To be on the edge of every group photo? To be hidden in the background during group performances? To be given little to no lines in their songs? To be forced to wear unfitting/unflattering clothes? To have only – in the history of all of SNSD’s wins on music programs – given ONE victory speech? Breaking News: Hyoyeon’s spirit is broken, and she gives in to plastic surgery requests. Meanwhile, her self-esteem is left bludgeoned and lying like a bloody pulp in the streets. Her final words? “At least, I got a boy.” Do we really want Anthea to risk following in those footsteps?
You can buy your hair if it won’t grow, You can fix your nose if he says so, You can buy all the make-up that M.A.C. can make, But if you can’t look inside you, Find out who am I to, Be in a position to make me feel so damn unpretty.
The whole feeling of this situation gave me some intense deja vu, until I remembered that it’s exactly like a song by a Western girl group known as TLC called “I Feel Unpretty,” which covers this topic better than any scholar ever could. The lyrics you should pay attention to are conveniently located to the right.
Anthea herself says that becoming a K-Pop star was not her goal, but isn’t quite clear of what her goal was to that extent to even put herself through this ordeal. However, because she did do it, she’s obviously grown as a person and garnered a fanbase as well as built a pristine statue of self-esteem while she was at it. She didn’t fall to the pressure of doing something that the entire industry pressured her to do and she gets major props for being someone little girls can look up to.