Promoting Plastic Surgery

02 Dec 2005

The Chinese media is way too excited about plastic surgery. It’s pathetic. Time is writing about the Asian trend too, although this “news” is far from new. But it’s not dying down.

I don’t watch much TV or read a lot of Chinese news, but even I have seen quite a few “丑女变美女” (“ugly woman turns into a beautiful woman”) stories. Here are two sample shots from an online story that came out last week:

Plastic Surgery: before and after

In the “before” shot she’s not even that ugly! She’s clearly not wearing any makeup, not wearing nice clothes, and she’s purposely looking dejected. She probably hasn’t washed her hair for a few days just for this picture. According to the story, “because of her appearance, she was driven away when she applied for jobs, scared people when she went out, and didn’t have any friends.” What bullshit. It makes me angry.

Then in the “after” shot… well, all I can say is, congratulations, you’re now a clone of the super generic Chinese “pretty girl.” (The surgery was actually intended to reproduce the look of a certain Chinese star. See the story for pics of that.)

OK, so I’ll admit that she looks prettier on the right, but the actual difference is not very extreme. What would drive this girl to seek out plastic surgery? Well, the Chinese media hyping it for all it’s worth sure didn’t help.

I also saw a short portion of a TV special which featured another “ugly woman.” The woman in that special was a different story. She looked extremely odd — unhealthy. I strongly suspect she didn’t get the proper nourishment as a child. She was way too thin, and her voice sounded like a child’s. The way she talked seemed to indicate that she was of lower than normal intelligence, too. But she had definitely decided that the only way her life could be worth anything is if she got plastic surgery. The show was about her quest to get the surgery paid for somehow despite the fact that she didn’t have much money. It was basically a “look how ugly I am — pity me!” campaign. Really sad.

I don’t mean to judge these people. You can’t argue with quotes like this (from Time):

> “I always wanted to believe people were ultimately judged by what was inside,” she muses, her gaze hesitant and sad. “But I knew from my personal experience that this wasn’t true. It’s always the pretty girls who win the good things in life.”

I also don’t mean to suggest that this trend is China- or Asia-specific. I’ve just been seeing it here so much lately. The whole thing is just so sad. It’s the media that should be condemned. It really seems like the media has made some kind of promotion deal with plastic surgery providers. The hype is just everywhere.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. Da Xiangchang Says: December 2, 2005 at 11:40 am

    You know, I’m generally against plastic surgery–cuz I’m so naturally gorgeous–but if I were REALLY ugly, I would definitely do it. But again, it’s hard to say whether you’re truly ugly or not–or if your ugliness is caused by something you can change withOUT plastic surgery. I mean, if you have Coke-bottle glasses, get some contacts; if you have a fat ass, eat healthier and work out; if you have messed up teeth, get braces, etc. These all cost a hell of a lot less than plastic surgery! Besides, most people, by practicing good dietary and exercise habits and good fashion sense, would be alright-looking. Not great-looking like Zhang Ziyi, of course, but decent. And I’m okay with not ever looking like Russell Wong.

  2. congratulations, you’re now a clone of the super generic Chinese “pretty girl.”
    That’s what’s saddest about this whole thing. She got plastic surgery expressly to look like Stefanie – going under the knife for idol worship.

    Though I’m inclined to view the whole thing as a fake. It’s a good makeover, but I can’t tell any differences in the eyes (which were supposed to have eyelid word), the nose (supposed to be reshaped), or anything else that couldn’t have been done with makeup.

  3. zhwj,

    So you think the pictures of the surgery (which seem to be captured from video) are all fake?? I’m not sure about that…

    One strange thing is why would she need a boob job (隆乳) if she wanted to look like Stefanie Sun, a “flat-chest beauty“? Does 隆乳 surgery lift the breasts without making them bigger? (I’m more familiar with the term 隆胸, and I’m not sure if it’s the same thing.)

  4. im surprised you are so shocked by this pasden. havent you seen in chinese papers where they specify what a woman must look like for a job? i taught business writing to my seniors in college and we did a resume project. when i got their papers, all the girls had listed their height and weight before their address! i told them that was entirely inappropriate and they said in china, its the norm! chinese society is so sexist, its sad.

    i hate to be the one to bring it up again, but its an entirely different experience in china for foreign men and women. how many western men do you see with mediocre-looking chinese women? because i never saw one. they always had a very pretty 18 year old girl on arm regardless of age.

    i think it is pivotal right now because the chinese are taking cue from the west. and i cannot say that we are any better in terms of places looks before intelligence or human value. we dont! in fact, we are MUCH worse. i hate to see this happening in china. its really sad.

  5. I think she came out looking better than stefanie at least in the pics that they have on that site that show stefanie and this girl.

  6. Man, she looks uncannily like Sun Yanzi there. How paranoia-inducing.

  7. I don’t think it’s a fake (her nose has almost certainly been changed, though a lot can be done with makeup and lighting, not to mention Photoshop, so you never know), it’s just not needed. She wasn’t a terrible looking person–a smile, a haircut and some makeup would have done 85% of what the surgery did without all the chances of permanent scarring and such.

    According to my wife, 隆乳 and 隆胸 are the same…

  8. This is interesting. It really reminds me of a time in my Chinese class last year. Our instructor used “the ethics of teenagers getting cosmetic surgery” as a debate topic. The Canadian girl in my class said that barring a really good reason (such as burn wounds or a car accident), anyone who got cosmetic surgery should be mocked. The six Japanese students in my class all said that they wouldn’t do it themselves, but that they thought it was reasonable to get cosmetic surgery. I said I thought it could be considered a business investment: there are numerous studies showing that more attractive people have better earnings potential than their equally skilled counterparts.

    What really interested me though, was the answer of the one Korean girl in my class. She said that if a teenager is ugly, it’s not his or her fault. It’s the fault of the parents’ poor genetics, therefore it should be the parents’ responsibility to pay for any cosmetic enhancements their children “need”.

  9. shutty,

    Shocked? I never said I was shocked.

    I’m just disgusted that plastic surgery “success” stories have become such a staple in the media, because it’s sure to influence lots of people’s decisions.

  10. Just to clarify, I think the video itself is staged – there’s a pencil, an injection that may or may not be taking place, a blurred-out bust lift, and a jar of fat. But mostly I just don’t see the difference between the second photo in the gallery (where she’s holding a mike) and the “after” shot.

  11. Interesting variety of comments here. Her super round eyes definitely look surgically enhanced. I think women are better than men at picking out body parts altered by cosmetic surgery. It is a sad fact that good looks are extremely helpful for women jobseekers in China, more so than in the US, IMHO. For one thing, no one in North America attaches a photo or lists height and weight on an ordinary job application, so the employer doesn’t find out until the interview. This is critical because a person who is plain on the outside can wow an interviewer with intelligence, confidence, and personality. An unattractive Asian never even gets that chance thanks to the obligatory photo attachment. Moreover, North Americans have a more diverse appreciation for beauty. Compare Hollywood to the Chinese entertainment. Where is China’s JLo or Queen Latifah? A few years ago fiftyish Jane Seymour went topless in a movie and guys I knew ogled her beautiful body. Other heavy or older actresses have shed their clothes in movies, too.

    I wonder if Chinese men realize surgical enhancements aren’t passed on to offspring. I know of two young Korean women who were dumped by their boyfriends after they saw teenaged photos of the the girls.

  12. I’ve never been a supporter of the whole plastic surgery thing. When it comes to alleviating certain deformities like a club foot or lengthening on leg so it is equal to the other I’m fine with that. This is something that enhances a persons overall quality of life. If it’s a health issue go ahead have at it. And I’m fine with any choice a person makes regarding cosmetic surgery, after all it is their choice. I just don’t think it’s needed. Not to come off sounding too Christian (you know how I hate that) but I like to think that we are as God made us. Just the composite result of two peoples’ combined DNA. Personally I’ve always found beauty in people’s imperfections (scars are sexy). It’s one of the things that makes us unique. Plastic surgery can make us “socially prettier” but at what cost. It’s a sad fact that in this day in age tall, “pretty”, symmetrical people still tend to advance quicker both professionally and socially because of something they had no control over. But that’s the way it is and it’s why people will continually look at icons of beauty and tell their plastic surgeons to make them look this way. People are inherently superficial. I’m proof, I’ve been back in the states 3 months and apparently I’m so displeasing to the eye the only good paying job I could get was as a marine biologist on a boat 200 miles off shore in the Gulf of Mexico. I’m so unattractive I had to be shipped off shore. I live on a boat. They don’t even allow me on land. And people wonder why I have no self-esteem. Well I may be the hunchback of Notre Dame on the outside but I’m Denzel Washington on the inside! Give it up for inner beauty! On a side note, its interesting how standards of beauty differ from culture to culture. The girl in those pics looks, albeit cute, like every other cute girl in China. And I guarantee she didn’t get the one and only body-mod an Asian girl really needs and that’s ass implants. Are ya with me guys? Those girls need to get some ghetto booty up in that biznatch. Fo’ shizzle.

  13. Hey, I can’t say I don’t sympathise, but good grief….no one’s even mentioned the risks of surgery! Enough people have died from anaesthetics, complications, or been disfigured by a botched job, that a minor upgrade should never be considered worth it. Agreed completely, 85-90% of this girl’s improvement could have been gotten with exercise, makeup, and attitude.

    My Chinese wife once suggested she get breast implants, and I told her “get another husband then”. I get disgusted late at night if I’m watching TV, when they start the all-night breast enlargement ads. “The distance from she to the beauty is 0.03 Meters.” Hurl !

    To be fair, I have a daughter (two, actually, if you count my gorgeous Chinese daughter) who turns heads when she enters a room. Instant acceptance everywhere. I know most women won’t have this advantage, but on the other hand, I suspect that the plain girls try a little harder, while the pretty ones get a little complacent. I’d bet long odds my daughter won’t make 5% more than her plainer colleagues, over a lifetime. Just a thought.

  14. Disappointed Says: December 3, 2005 at 6:37 pm

    How crazy do you have to be to pay to look like Sun Yanzi…nasty!
    Maybe Zhang Zhibo, Zhang Ziyi, or Shu Qi if anything

  15. AMAZING!!!

  16. She looks prettier in the second picture, but only because she’s smiling and doesn’t have bags under her eyes.

  17. The difference between the two is about as much as a reaction to a good photo of yourself and a bad photo of yourself just as you stated.

    In regards to “hype” – that is everything and anything in a capitalist society where marketing and advertising are driving consumers to purchase stuff. That stuff is 90% crap you don’t need but spending money is what people with money more often than not do.

    Remember the cliche from Fight Club:

    People work shit jobs to buy shit they don’t need.

    Just like the California styled Japanese culture and the Hollywood Botox/Plastic Surgery/Breast Augmentation culture, the iPod and PSP and Xbox 360 and Rosewood House Fine Furniture are all things the same.

    If you don’t want a part of it, then move into the woods, live off $2.20 a day proudly and plot a terrorist attack.

  18. In US, there’re much more TV shows like this, for example “Swan”, MTV’s “Dr.90210″… If you think the Chinese media are too hyped about plastic surgery, you really need to catch up with what’s going on in US…

  19. This is indeed one sad story, and it has too made me angry. People has certainly taken their outward appearance on top priority, and at the end I think it probably benefits no one but the companies that provide those treatments.

    Then, was that entirely her fault? Or was it the fault of the entire generation of Chinese women who seek their outward beauties? By no means.

    From the article:

    小君是一个23岁的自卑的女生,因为外貌找工作都被人赶走,出去会吓到人,没有朋友。当服务生,客人跟老板说:这样的服务生怎么吃的下饭?

    It sounds a bit extreme, but diners complained to the restaurant owner about their indigestable food because of the ugly waitress? WTF? When you have a generation of sickening men who treat women as objects and value nothing but their outward looking, weak-willed girls then have no choice but go for plastic surgeries.

    And if you have no friends, how would plastic surgery change the situation? Would you call those friends “friends”, as the only reason they hang out with you is because you look like Stefanie Sun (as well as all the other girls on the street)? Anti-social is a personality problem, not an appearance problem.

    I agree with John that there is only marginal differences between “before” and “after”. However, the surgery might actually give the girl confidence and self esteem — until she realise what her real issue is.

  20. Do you think the bigger motivator here is the marketing, or the fact that technology has finally caught up with demand? I think that historically there has always been a lot of pressure for women to look good, and now they just have access to what they always wanted.

    I think the marketing is terrible, and certainly adds to the problem. That being said, I haven’t been to many countries where I have seen plastic surgeons advertising on the bus. Is that because it is illegal in other countries, or because it just doesn’t work in most other countries? You can bet that if it is allowed, and is profitable, I would be seeing ads for breast enlargements and face lifts in the same number of countries you find ads for Coke or Sony. Since I am assuming this kind of advertising is legal in most places, are these doctors really creating demand, or just fighting for market share?

  21. Rob – I definitely recall seeing ads for nosejob surgeons on the NYC subway. Creating demans? Sure. Legal? Yes. Ethical? No.

  22. i think scott made a good point. yeah, the people get the surgery, yeah the marketers advertise. but the people have been treated like crap by their peers in their own society, which is why they are doing it. chinese, american, african, all the same. women are judged primarily on looks – intelligence and personality are a distant second for the majority of people. the only difference is, in non-pc countries, you can just outwardly insult the person. in america, we treat them like crap without voicing the insult. to quote my thai friends ” same same. only different.”

  23. Nip/Tuck is the best show on television.

  24. In case anyone of you who haven’t noticed, this tv show is not produced in mainland but rather taiwan. this should mean something to some of you (taiwan is or is not a part of china issue). although i wouldn’t likely to go under the knife myself but I respect people who opt to do so. Afterall, it is their body, not mine.

    And yes, korean has no taboo at all when it comes to plastic surgery, most of the korean friends that I know had, are planning to undergo a plastic surgery.

    Having that said, 8 out of 10 of american pornstars went for a boobjob. European pornstars seldom do that. So i don’t see this situation is anything better at the other part of the world. 😉

  25. I wouldn’t equate porn stars with ordinary folks, Joe Thong.

  26. Sonagi’s right. Pornstars are better than ordinary folks. Way better.

  27. Da Xiangchang Says: December 6, 2005 at 4:25 am

    I don’t think the problem is “sickening men who treat women as objects” cuz 90% of men are like that–i.e., they place importance on how a woman looks. But you know, I think women care greatly how a guy looks too. All that stuff about men care about the outside while women care about the inside is a bunch of crap. The only difference is most guys don’t spend an inordinate amount of time primping themselves.

    The problem, therefore, lies mostly with women, not men. Their priorities are all screwed up. They care too much about makeup, clothes, hairstyles, etc. They spend too much time reading Vogue and not enough time reading The Economist. Of course, you might say, “They do that because they’re forced to by the patriarchal, sexist societies they live in!” Well, maybe that’s part of it, but it’s not all–at least, not in America. A quick anecdote: once I worked for a few months at Rockwell, the epitome of a big American business. Now, 95% of the engineers there were men, and 99% of the secretaries were women. In fact, the ONLY two women I knew who were engineers were an Italian woman and an Asian-American girl. The racial mix was of everyone except blacks (pinks, Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, etc.). Now, I DON’T THINK for a second it’s sexism that’s forcing women into lowly paid secretarial jobs; rather, I think most women just aren’t interested enough in math to get those jobs. As teenagers, while those engineer guys were reading their math books, those women were obviously checking out the latest fashions in People Magazine or something! So . . . as long as a lot of women remain anti-intellectual, plastic surgery will sadly remain popular. And all this limp-wristed oh-how-horrible-this-practice-is posturing ain’t going to change anything.

  28. da xiangchang, this might be the most idiotic thing you have ever posted. i hope you are single. i am a female, educated primarily in math and economics. my female friends are women who are all very intellectual. i have never heard of any female in my life, ever, taking a secretary job because they “arent into math?” i do, however, appreciate your ability to blame all aesthetic and sexual discrimination issues on the women themselves. it might explain a lot about you.

  29. Well said, Shutty. I was just about to pounce on him myself.

  30. shutty,

    You have to give the guy credit. It can’t be easy to think of something idiotic enough to top all his other comments. 😉

  31. sonagi, the point that i’m trying to make is men drool over big boobs, pornstars getting boobjobs because their audiences like them. they won’t spend thousands to get the silicone if american men don’t get aroused by that. everyone from different parts of the world have different appreciation toward beauty thus you see people here try to get big roundy eyes and pouty lips. the pot calling the kettle black. period.

  32. Da Xiangchang Says: December 7, 2005 at 3:13 am

    Ahh, you guys are just playing Let’s Be Politically Correct. You know, the game where a bunch of people show everyone else how enlightened they are–i.e., stifle their true feelings and praise the ideas of the group. Of course, individually, a woman can be totally brilliant just like as women GENETICALLY are as smart as men. But you’d have to be as blind as Ray Charles not to see that CULTURALLY women are GENERALLY less intellectual than men–i.e., show the same interest in math, science, politics, etc.

    Joe Thong,

    See your point, but personally, I HATE REALLY BIG BREASTS. Makes women look lopsided.

  33. DXC,

    Dude, you are hilarious.

    I’d advise you to play Let’s Be Intelligent, but oh wait… that would involve stifling your true feelings as well. Never mind.

  34. Joe Thong,

    Yes, the TV show featured in that one article is Taiwanese, but it is not by any means an isolated incident. The same phenomenon is on Chinese TV (such as the other example I offered).

    What Sonagi meant is that it doesn’t make sense to compare the habits of porn stars in America or Europe with the habits of ordinary women in Asia. Your original comment made it sound like, “well of course plastic surgery is common among Asian women. 8 out of 10 American porn stars get plastic surgery too.” And then your more recent comment seems to just be adding, “the only difference is culture-based aesthetics.”

  35. Yes, John, you got my point. Silicone boobies are tools of the trade for porn stars, but most American women have natural breasts. I do not personally know any woman who has had a boob job although I have seen women in public who look like they have implants. Joe Thong is right that women’s inveestment in their appearance is influenced by society’s beauty norms.

    Da Xiangchang, you just sound more narrow-minded every time you post, which is ironic since you are man claiming that men are more “intellectual” than women. First of all, “intellectual” and “intelligence” are very broad concepts. I cannot talk about polymers or polynomials, but I can discuss second language pedagogy. I taught university students in Korea before taking up teaching in a US public school, and I find teaching children much more challenging than teaching adults. Older learners have developed their own learning strategies whereas younger children are much more dependent on interaction with others. Moreover, tertiary educators don’t have the pressure of achievement tests and don’t have to deal with the legal and pedagogical aspects of IEPs for special ed. students. Society, however, accords much higher intellectual status to a university professor than to an early childhood teacher. This probably has more to do with gender ratios than with the intellectual nature of the work.

    I don’t have any stats, but while I was in Korea and China, it seemed that there were greater numbers of women in the sciences. At the Korean university where I taught, a woman PhD holder in chemistry told me that half of the graduate students in the program were women. Moreover, in medicine, a highly intellectual discipline requiring a strong science background, women outnumbered men in the Soviet Union and comprise a large percentage in many other countries.

    Ray Charles was blind, but he had excellent hearing and was a highly gifted musician. None are so blind as those who will not see.

  36. da xiangchang – in the fantasy land that you live in, are you attractive and a good conversationalist too? i was just wondering if that stuff was the opposite of reality as well……

  37. Not to change the subject, and I hope I’m not being too PC when I say this, but I’m surprised penal implants aren’t more popular in China.

  38. Joe Thong Says: December 7, 2005 at 9:55 pm

    james doom, that’s not even close to as being funny.

  39. I agree. Penal implants are serious.

  40. i’ve read a couple articles about the existence of “honor killings” in some islamic nations- where a woman accused of sexual impropriety is murdered by her male relatives to redeem the family’s honor. what suprised me was that apparently this custom is often looked at with approval by the victim’s female relatives as well.

    i guess it just goes to show what social programming can do to a person.

    western society doesn’t advocate killing women, but it does insidiously make people believe that a huge chunk of a woman’s intrinsic value is based on her external appearance. most messages are subtle, but some, like those magazines in the supermarket aisles, are completely blatant. “TO BE WORTH SOMETHING AS A WOMAN YOU MUST BE 5’11”, 110lbs, with D-CUP BREASTS AND PERFECT SKIN!”.

    now, if they only started this with adults, you might have the judgement to deflect it. from the moment we’re born we’re swaddled in pink or blue and then the world around us bombards us with instructions on what our value is based on our gender. parents do it, unconsciously, maybe, and kids get it from peers and teachers, and of course the media. (those disney princess characters are as blatant as any vogue mag. they’re everywhere- and they tell my four year old daughter that she should grow up to be a charming and beautiful but helpless “damsel in distress” to be rescued by some prince. she told me the other day with a little smirk, “people like me because i’m so pretty!”. what the heck! had i ever told her that? and how do you tell a four year old that she can’t have her one and only princess birthday wish because you feel it conveys the wrong message about femininity?)

    since we’re programmed by society from infancy to believe that a woman’s value is largely based on her appearance, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that although most women “know” that it’s really harmful to pay attention to media hype about looks, they still find it almost impossible not to. so we end up comparing ourselves to the standards on the magazine covers and find ourselves coming up short. even though we know every woman on the planet comes up short compared to an airbrushed, heavily make-uped, surgically enhanced model, some part of us still feels as though our value as a person is diminished. so we buy the dumb mag to try to find ways to attain that value (or we put ourselves through really expensive or painful procedures)…and the mags keep putting out the pictures…and i keep wishing i could shield my daughter’s eyes from the babe in the bikini in the grocery store aisle, but i can’t help wishing i looked a little bit more like her myself.

    i wonder, what does it do to men’s expectations of women when they are also bombarded by images of “perfect” women (and i know many, many men seek out pictures of these women online too). sometimes i feel as though i have to look like a porn star to measure up. do men also measure women by those inflated standards now? i know i read the word “hot” on this blog a bit in reference to women, so i’m wondering how you guys out there assign value to a girl and whether you think you’ve personally been influenced by the media. honestly.

    oh, and john, the ads google is putting up on the sidebar to this article are very interesting…

  41. Hi Shutty, re: DXC – just remember that he is notorious for posting stuff that gets you riled up on purpose – that was always his forte … and controversy or outlandish opinions are what we all like deep down inside.

  42. Da Xiangchang Says: December 8, 2005 at 9:44 am

    Sinagi,

    Your arguments were entirely anecdotal–“I heard from someone once who said that . . .”–and therefore cannot be trusted. I SERIOUSLY doubt there are more female scientists in Korea and China than male ones. Provide a link please. Also, when you wrote, “Moreover, in medicine, a highly intellectual discipline requiring a strong science background, women outnumbered men in the Soviet Union and comprise a large percentage in many other countries,” do you mean doctors or nurses? Again, provide a link.

    Now, my counterargument is very simple: if women (let’s just say American women) were as intellectual as men–as EARLIER defined as sharing the same interests in politics, science, and math–then they will show the SAME interest in these subjects. How do we measure this interest? Simple: magazine readerships. If women shared the same level of interest as men, then the readerships of politics- and science/math-based magazines would be 50% men, 50% women (in fact, there should be even MORE women since there are more women in America than men). But the actual breakdown among the largest news- and science-based magazines are:

    Time and Newsweek each have about two million more male readers than female.
    U.S. News has three million more men than women readers.
    Popular Science’s readership is 81% male, 19% women.

    Now, how do you explain these stats, hmmmmmm? And I don’t mean such illustrious arguments like “You’re stupid, DXC!”–which seems to be the best John and Shutty can come up with.

    Here are the links:
    http://www.answers.com/topic/popular-science-magazine
    http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.org/narrative\_magazines\_audience.asp?cat=3&media=7

  43. DXC,

    Give me a break. We’re not taking the time to argue with you seriously because it’s not worth our time. A high school student could see through your argument.

    You’re completely ignoring social conditioning. See Hathai’s comment.

    I suppose you’ll deny social conditioning exists. That’s fine… But you won’t get any more “debate” on this out of me.

  44. you really think people’s intelligence has a strong correlation to magazine subscriptions. do you even want to go there?

    where are the subscription statistics for gq, maxim, tattoo magazine and high times (going to go ahead and GUESS those are all male-dominated as well)? because i’d really need to have ALL of the information before i can present my best argument.

    and to blast your entire argument away, we subscribe to us news, business week and forbes. they are for the entire family and we all read them, but they are in my dads name. that means, in my house, TWICE as many women are reading them, which is NOT INDICATED by the subription name.

    i honestly dont know where you come up with this shit. you’re funny. in a child-like way.

  45. and for more on the great magazine proof to intelligence….. i used to do research studies and in those studies, you have to make an attempt to account for any external factor that may negate what your numbers appear to say. not going to go into them all, but here are a few…..

    1. it could be that more men subscribe to magazines in general. that means, they arent really suscribing to those specific magazines more than women, but every magazine more than women.

    2. subscription statistics do not account for newsstand purchases. how many women are purchasing the magazines at newsstands? we dont know.

    3. those magazines could contain information related to the subscriptor’s employment. maybe because of sexual discrimination, there are not as many women in banking, trading, finance, top management. you are postulating the reverse, because women dont subscribe to these magazines, they are not as worthy of the jobs. its a chicken and egg question.

    your theory has so many external factors and such a shakey relationship, that i think we can just cancel it out.

    did you want to chat about women in business school or anything? i think that might have a stronger correlation to intelligence. the reasonable person might go there before the magazine thing. my business school was in the top 5 and we churned out more women tax accountants than male, which is notoriously the most tedious of studies. i think the women also had a higher rate of passing the cpa.

  46. To DXC:

    If this is some innate difference between the genders instead of something cultural, why are there a higher proportion of female scientists in France and Eastern Europe than in the US? Why do women comprise 50% of the physics majors in Bulgaria but only 20% in the US? (stats here:http://www3.tsl.uu.se/thep/tengblad/WIPS/IUPAP-conf/topic_5-text.html)

    Why is the gender ratio of Chinese students at the top business schools in the US about 1:1 but other places (Europe, Africa, Latin America) send disproportionately many more men to top US business schools?

  47. In the fields of mathematics and engineering, women comprised over 50% of the workforce. Sixty percent of the Soviet Union’s medical doctors were female.

    from: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1999/russia/m7gender.pdf

    Shutty made some excellent points about the unscientific use of magazine subscription data. My brother subscribes to about seven different magazines, including Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, TV Guide, Esquire, and Money. I do not subscribe to a single magazine because I consider it a waste of money and dead trees since there is more information online than I can ever read. I do get the NYT, the WaPo, and a Korean-language news digest by email along with three professional listservs. According to DXC’s logic, the fact that my brother spends hundreds of dollars a year on these mags is proof that he is more intellectual.

  48. […] These ads tend to be very long and generally can be further divided into three categories: women’s services, dental services and men’s services. In each case, the services they provide, from what I can ascertain by watching them, are largely to do with cosmetics and fertility and they all have a lot of common features. Firstly, they all have cheesy music whether it be something as simple as a piano piece or a gaudy 80s-sounding pop track. Next they may or may not have a series of travesties against the English language such as the title of this post although English in hospital ads is not very common. One of the common techniques used in hospital service ads are graphics of often unidentifiable spotty or dirty objects, an animation of beams or rays affecting the mystery object and the sudden disappearance of the spots and dirty marks. For the dental services ads, the graphic of a mouth with teeth pointing every which way, magic braces appearing from nowhere and being applied to the teeth and the sudden aligning of all the teeth is another popular advertising method. While browsing the web I found this blog entry elsewhere that goes into a little more detail on hospital advertisements in Shenzhen. […]

  49. Well, I’ll controvert in a fortnight. So, I’m very happy to see this kind of article. I have to say that the picture is definitely technical disposed. But I think that cosmetic surgery may have some kind of disadvantages, it still has a large number of consumers. We have to confess that every person has his or her own previlige to gain his or her beauty. So, I think it’s a potential market. And I hope that it can make all people prettier.

  50. Leanne Says: May 2, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Da Xiangchang,
    pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaase, can u be anymore sexist?
    im in grade 8 and the guys in my class make more sense than u when they’re being sexist…
    magazines make ppl smarter, plz tell me u r JOKING, rlly.
    for one thing, i subscribe to Time and Maclean’s, but it’s my dad’s name on the subscription (like shutty’s family); my little cousin (she’s in grade 6) reads Time also, incidentally, it’s ALSO her dad’s name on the magazione. it just so happens that both of us wanted the magazines and our dads decided to put their names on the order form (although in my case, my mom is paying for it)
    and i dunno what generation u belong to
    (pre-baby boomers -1946
    baby boomers 1947-1960
    generation x 1962-1966
    baby bust 1967-1979
    baby boom echo 1980-1995
    millenium kids 1995-
    *hey guess what? only two ppl in my class memorized this generation thingie, one guy, and the other, me. does this count as gender equality?)
    but in all the schools i’ve been in —both chinese and canadian— there’s almost always an equal number of “smart” girls and guys…oh, and usually on an average, girls get higher marks.

    btw john, u over-estimate 大香肠, im not yet in high school, and i think i just managed to disassemble his argument
    XD

    and hat off to shutty and sonagi!

  51. Leanne Says: May 2, 2007 at 9:30 am

    o and i agree w/ whoever it was that said that this lookism thing isnt happening only in Asia, it DEFINITELY happening in North America

  52. Very interesting comments. i”ll start first with Da Xiangchang, Da Xianchang youre a d…!

    Dont you realise that the majority of women dont want to amount to a much because of most mens fragile egos. Scientists and doctors, probably from single mothers, or really intelligent fathers unlike yourself.

    I live in China, and i do not blame this girl for undertaking this. You of all people should know what it is like for women here, hell, they even dont even want girls and leave them on door steps and in orphanages. So I am sorry to let you know, if this girl doesnt do something she will also be left out of capturing an eligible sexy chinese man!

    Hail hail to plastic surgery if it makes you feel better. The East (China, Korea…etc) and the West cannot be judged the same on this one, who usually take the whole person as they are, (I say generally) unlike the East where its all about looks, )light skin which is a definate idenity crisis with Asians in general) and breasts, theyre are obsessed!

    sorry people but basically the Asian culture is seriously messed up! with its total unacceptance with differences in general.

  53. annabelle Says: May 13, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    if a woman did cosmetic surgery and she looks beautiful,that’s unfair to the others who relatively looks plain.

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