How are Chinese high school graduates winding down after finishing the grueling gaokao? Well, many have decided to use their summer break to attain a new look before their fresh start at college.
In early June, a girl visited a plastic surgery clinic in Beijing for a double-eyelid operation the day after she finished the gaokao. Much to her surprise, over 30 girls from all over China were also waiting for the same operation at the hospital; almost all of them were the same age as her, reports Xinhua.
In the past, most students who underwent plastic surgery came from performing arts schools, but now the practice has become popular for all students — regardless of their major. According to Sina, the students go under the knife in order to help improve their self-confidence or in the hope that their newfound beauty will help open more doors in higher education.
Some parents accompany their teens to the hospital, often imploring the doctor to talk their kid out of the operation. Other “forward-thinking” parents understand the choice and even advise their child on which operation looks best.
Another concurrent trend is the rise of plastic surgery among young men. After the gaokao, many boys also visit clinics, ready for a fuller nose or a thinner face. A director at the Beijing Tsinghua Changgeng Hospital describes: “Many of them arrive in groups. One student might try a surgery as their ‘lab rat,’ and if the effect is good his peers would copy him.”
Unfortunately, many young people naively choose unsafe methods of transforming their face, rather than going to a legitimate beauty clinic, much like American teens in the Kylie Jenner lip challenge. One Chinese girl used DIY beauty injections that she ordered online, and had to have doctors pick out small crystals in her nose and chin two years later. Another 18-year-old went through an operation for better skin, but an infection left permanent brownish scars over her face. Afterwards, she made the wise choice of suing the clinic instead of jumping off a building out of depression.
The high school graduates are unafraid of risky surgeries, the most popular of which is the double-eyelid surgery. Meanwhile, college students often proceed with more caution, opting for less invasive operations, such as injections to “improve” the nose or whiten the skin.
Though sometimes, plastic surgery has a very practical use. For instance, this identical couple needed a way to tell each other apart. If you want to take the propaganda slogan “be like Lei Feng” very literally, you’re going to need some reconstructive surgery as well.
By Amy Yang
[Image via Sina]