my open letter to asian women


Recently I wrote an open letter to Asian women that made it to Yahoo7!’s frontpage.

It was a frank opinion piece in response to the horrifying trend where young Asian woman are going under the knife to achieve a more “western” or Caucasian look.

The SBS show, Change My Race, as well as several ‘plastic-surgery-gone-wrong’ news stories, sparked my interest in writing the piece.

While I knew it would resonate with a lot of people, I didn’t anticipate the amount of feedback – both positive and negative – it would get (around 44K page views and over 200 comments).

Of course, I received criticism that any race wants to change their looks; it’s not just Asian women who want to improve their nose or have bigger eyes.

I also got criticism for being so superficial, and that only someone suffering from our modern, media-focused society would write such a story.

I was also said to be “outdated” given the large number or interracial relationships in this country and that many Caucasian Australians actually find the Asian look attractive.

While these are all valid points, what I really wanted to highlight is the idea of reverse xenophobia or racial self-hate. If you had watched the documentary on SBS you would probably see that many girls are suffering so much pressure to live up to the western ideal – even, sadly, from parents.

As one of my fellow Asian-Australian colleagues put it: “I started reading on forums and it’s so fascinating that there are so many girls who aren’t concerned with budget at all. They talk about wanting a new nose as if it is a new bag or outfit, and the more expensive it costs, the better!”

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not immune to societal pressures to look a certain way. But to physically try to change your race to look like another is a troubling trend that should make us examine the lack of support these girls are getting in making them feel secure in being their own race or ethnicity. It’s like trying to make a curvaceous woman a stick model. It’s just not natural.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this issue,



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