In Vietnam, plastic surgery goes hand-in-hand with love and fortune

In the western world, pronounced cheekbones are widely regarded as an attractive feature, but for Vietnamese women the same attribute could mean an untimely demise for their future husbands. Vietnamese folklore and face reading have long advised men not to marry women with high cheekbones, unless they want to die early. Ngoc, a 26-year-old Hanoian woman, has had her cheekbones reduced for fear of becoming another woman ‘left on the shelf’. “Everybody told me it was true, so I haven’t dared to fall in love with anyone,” Ngoc told VnExpress this January after her surgery. For a full transformation, Ngoc paid a total $8,800, which included double eyelid surgery, a nose job, and chin and cheekbone reductions. Vietnamese women like Ngoc are increasingly undergoing plastic surgery not just for beauty reasons, but in the hope of a happy love life, a bigger fortune and a brighter destiny. Vietnamese folklore has a big part to play in this, as it deems monolids as fishy, unreliable ‘eel’s eyes’, a physically big-mouthed woman as a gossip and undignified, and beauty marks under the eyes as a bad omen similar to high cheekbones. Features such as bushy eyebrows, a wide chin, bumpy nose or crooked teeth are considered bad luck, often ‘too manly’ for a woman and simply not attractive, according to Vietnamese standards. “Đàn ông rộng miệng thì sanghoang cửa nhà” (Translation: Big-mouthed men are classy, big-mouthed women ruin the family) Though hundreds of these centuries-old sayings are no longer popular, many are still lodged in Vietnamese people’s… [Read full story]

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