Over the past few decades there has been a significant rise within the Asian societies of people who desire to look more Caucasian. The Asian citizens want to obtain features that are not native to their race, such as longer noses, wider eyes and larger breasts. Asians have always been a society that is not pleased or happy with their looks and will go to any extent to change them. An example would be the ancient Chinese foot binding that was done to alter the image of the foot. The most sought after procedure in the Asian society is the Blepharoplasty.
The Blepharoplasty procedure is a crease that is created above the eyelid by a scalpel or needle and thread. This procedure is done to give the eye a wider, rounder and more attractable appearance. This specific procedure can be done in ten minutes and has little to no recovery time. A new cosmetic procedure that has become more popular with the Asian citizens is a procedure that will fix a persons radish-shaped calves or as the Japanese call it the “daikon-ashi. ” This procedure consists of severing the nerve located behind the knee this causes the muscle to atrophy. Once this is done, the muscle diminishes in size about forty percent.
These cosmetic procedures have grown so much that studies have been done to graph the incline. There were approximately one million procedures performed last year in Taiwan. One out of ten adults in Japan received some form of cosmetic surgery and Japanese cosmetic clinics took in more then $100 million dollars last year alone. The major downfall to the growth with these cosmetic procedures is that many of the doctors are not licensed to perform the procedures. In Indonesia there are forty-three licensed plastic surgeons and an estimated four hundred cosmetic procedures are being performed each week.
Because these surgeons are not licensed, they are (generally speaking) not as knowledgeable about the surgeries and are more prone to make mistakes. The mistakes these surgeons have made resulted in shocking numbers of over 200,000 lawsuits in China that have been filed. The actual number of cosmetic procedures that have gone bad is quite higher then 200,000. The reason that there have only been 200,000 lawsuits filed is due to the fact that most lawyers in Asia do not take on cosmetic malpractice cases. They avoid these cases because the majority of the cases do not end in the patient’s favor and there is no financial payoff awarded.
If license surgeons were the only doctors performing these procedures then the number of malpractice cases would decrease dramatically. ” It will be the decision of the government on whether to restrict these surgeries to specialists,” says Dr. Woffles Wu, a plastic surgeon at the Camden Medical Center in Singapore. “This is a time bomb waiting to go off. ” Another reason that there has been recent growth of cosmetic procedures in Asia is because of the price. The procedures cost a fraction of the price in comparison to what they would cost anywhere else in the world.
The low price attracts many foreign clients that are only able to afford the surgery if they get it done in Asia. The Asian cosmetic surgery market has created new ways to promote their cosmetic procedures to foreigners. This type of promotion is done through travel agencies. Travel agencies now advertise plastic surgery packages to people all around the world. These packages include airfare, hotel, sightseeing, and the cosmetic surgery. The final cost of these cosmetic packages are almost equivalent to the amount it would cost to have only the surgery done back home.
Asia’s new found love of cosmetic surgery has created many ethical issues and controversy. The main ethical issues with the Asian societies reasoning behind the cosmetic surgery has to do with why do these people want to become more Caucasian looking? Should cosmetic surgery be used and allowed to changed racial characteristics? Also because of the low price these procedures it allows many people to participate. This creates the question of; should limitations be set on the number of procedures a person can have?
The fact that people are able to get surgeries done that create a new look and for many people where they are almost like a whole new person, has raised controversy issues that revolve around personal identity. The last ethical issue worth thinking about is the influence that our society as a whole has on people, and how it impacts individuals into getting plastic surgery. Ethical Theories; The first theory that I think applies is the egoism theory. This theory pertains to this issue because the Asian individual is not showing respect for physical features that are correlated to their race.
They are only thinking about them, and how they might be able to better themselves. Changing the physical features they have is another way for them to say that they view their race as unattractive and something that they are not proud of. They are not thinking about their race, and the future impact that these surgeries will have, these contributing factors become irrelevant to them. The utilitarianism theory applies to this issue when reference is made to the low cost of these cosmetic procedures. The utilitarianism theory is defined as what action is going to produce the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people.
The fact that the procedures cost next to nothing in comparison to the cost of the same procedure outside of Asia, it allows more people to obtain these procedures. If the procedures were to cost the same as they did in the United States, it would limit the number of people that would have them done. The low cost gets rid of the “haves vs. have-nots” aspect of cosmetic surgery. Being affordable; does the greatest amount of good, for the greatest amount of people. These cosmetic procedures are most commonly being performed on Asian’s, but are not limited and restricted to just Asian’s.
The cosmetic industry in Asia has adapted the Rights-Based theory when working with its customers. Just because the procedures are heavily marketed towards individuals from the Asian culture and are done in Asia, does not imply that the Asian’s are getting special treatment or cheaper prices. The Asian cosmetic industry is being “just and fair” and allowing foreigners to receive cosmetic surgeries at the same price. Foreigners are treated the same, regardless of your race or place of origin. When understanding how all of the ethical theories apply, the one that I think applies the most is the Virtue-Based theory.
The virtue-based theory is concerned with the individual having to fulfill their potential happiness as a human being. The reason that individuals undergo these cosmetic surgeries is to be happier and more confident with their image. These cosmetic surgeries give the individual the happiness that they desire. Yet, this theory only applies if the cosmetic procedure went as planned and the end results where inline with what the patient was expecting. My moral judgment; When I reviewed this issue, I broke it down into two different parts.
The first part is to discuss the whys of the cosmetic procedures that Asians are getting to make themselves look more like Caucasians. The second part is the cosmetic surgery industry in Asia. When asked to make a moral judgment on Asians getting procedures done to make themselves more Caucasian looking, I feel that it is morally wrong. The Asian features that they are changing are ones that make them distinctive to their race. For the people who want to change these features I feel as if it is an insult to their race. They have a perception that the Caucasian features are more attractive, therefore they want them.
It is not the physical Caucasian features that are attractive, it is how society as a whole portrays the Caucasian features as being attractive. When individuals try to obtain physical features that are not native to their race, this creates physical features to be less unique and more general. The following is my moral judgment on the cosmetic surgery industry in Asia. I find this harder to judge because there are many negatives and positives that the industry offers. A positive to the industry is that of the low cost of the procedures. Having a low cost, allows more people to have the surgeries done.
However a negative comes from the low cost. More people are having these cosmetic surgeries done to obtain Caucasian features, and this causes the Asian population to become less distinctive. Another negative to the industry comes from how society has started to become to view cosmetic surgery more and more as a social norm. The mass amount of cosmetic procedures being performed in Asia, gives other counties the idea that cosmetic procedures are socially acceptable. In the Asian cosmetic industry, the majority of the surgeons performing the surgeries are not licensed to do so, and I do not think that this is morally correct.
Yet, you cannot say that this is morally or ethically wrong for the surgeon to not being licensed if there are no regulations being imposed or implemented. Coming from a country where the vast majority of surgeons are license, it would be considered morally and ethical wrong. These surgeons are in Asia though, not America. It is the people that go to the non-licensed surgeons that provide them with their business and the fact that the government has no regulations in effect, that causes it not to be morally and ethically wrong to be a non-licensed surgeon in Asia.