Chinese Job Seekers Turn to Plastic Surgery


The worsening economic conditions in China have seemingly forced many new college graduates and the recently sacked to turn to plastic surgery to gain an edge in the increasingly competitive job market.

Chinese unemployment rolls have surged with millions cut from factories dependent on dwindling foreign exports. Further, 6.1 million students will graduate from college or similar institutions of higher learning, a nine percent increase from the previous year, almost all of whom will naturally be entering the job market.

While Chinese law forbids job discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex or religion, no similar legal oversight covers physical appearance. Chinese employers routinely specify desired height, weight and other physical requirements.

Applicants for a nursing position at the Beijing Modern Women’s Hospital are expected to be taller than 5 feet, 2.5 inches and have “acceptable facial features.” A recent governmental posting in Hunan  province even required its applicants to have “symmetrical breasts”, for reasons we can only guess at.

The most commonly requested surgical procedures include raising noses, cutting eyelids (a  popular procedure in much of East Asia and beyond to acquire a more “western” look) and softening angular faces into the rounder shapes commonly prized in East Asia.

Procedures that lighten the skin are also highly desired as the Chinese consider lighter skin more delicate and desirable than darker shades. Lighter skin also happens to be a characteristic of the dominant Han  ethnicitiy.

Some however feel that such minor surgeries are not enough. A commonly held perception by many Chinese employers are that shorter workers are less healthy and capable than taller ones.

Such perceptions have encouraged many Chinese job applicants to undergo leg lengthening surgery. Leg lengthening surgery involve doctors breaking the legs of their patients in order to insert steel pins in their bones.

Such surgeries typically add 3 inches to a person’s height, but are fraught with dangerous potential complications.

Despite such risks, business has been booming in Chinese plastic surgery hospitals. Nearly a dozen leading Chinese hospitals reported strong business since late last fall, commencing around the period when the global financial crisis began to take its toll on China’s economy.

Many Chinese job seekers have decried the emphasis on physical appearance, calling such requirements absurd. However, such sentiment has not stopped them from getting procedures done in record numbers.

One recent female graduate made this candid assessment: “They may not say it openly, but during the process they will pick the prettier one.”

Via LA Times.

The Chinese indulgence for plastic surgery seems a relative recent phenonemon whilst in other countries, it is almost a rite of pasage. Chinese job seekers are also known to sacrifice their personal dignity readily in favour of gainful employ…

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