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Bagel Heads: “New Japanese Trend” Is Neither New Nor A Trend

October 2nd, 2012 | 1 comment | Posted by Jen

Last week the Internet was all abuzz about “Bagel Heads,” this supposedly “new” body modification trend in Japan where people inject saline under their skin so their heads look like they’re exploding with delicious breakfast bread product for about 24 hours, just add schmear.

‘Bagel Head’ Saline Forehead Injections: Japan’s Hot New Beauty Trend?, the Huffington Post wondered.

‘Bagel Heads’: Shocking New Trend in Japan, Yahoo! News warned.

And the Herald Sun got a little punny with their reporting, titling their story on the fad, Bagel heads: A hole new trend.

The only problem with this “new” trend is that it isn’t new at all. The story of Bagel Heads first went viral in 2009, when the UK’s Bizarre Mag reported on it. The first line of the Bizarre post was quick to state, “This extreme body modification isn’t new, but it’s growing in popularity.” Many blogs and media outlets picked up the story then–which is when we blogged about it–including the premiere underground trendwatching paper of its time, The New York Times. Two years later, in 2011, Vice interviewed Ryoichi “Keroppy” Maeda, a photographer and journalist who’s been documenting the underground body modification scene in Japan for the last 20 years and who also happens to be the man who brought saline injections to the country. Maeda said in that interview that the bagel head thing had been going on “since 2007.” After that, still more blogs and media outlets picked up on the “new” (again) trend, with Neatorama declaring Continue reading Bagel Heads: “New Japanese Trend” Is Neither New Nor A Trend

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Eye-Taping Is So Candy-Ass

September 9th, 2011 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

Last week, a YouTube video surfaced of former plus-size model Crystal Renn–no stranger to controversy vis-à-vis physical transformation–taping her eyes back in what appeared to be an attempt to look Asian during a Vogue Nippon photo shoot.

While Refinery 29 wondered if eye-taping wasn’t akin to blackface, a disturbing phenomenon that’s reared its ugly head in recent photo shoots, Renn tried to clear things up this week in an interview with Jezebel, maintaining that eye-taping is a model trick frequently used to achieve a “straight brow” (as opposed to an Asian eye):

No one told me at the shoot to tape. It is something that I often do to add to the look of the character if I feel that the look makes sense, and often I suggest it. I have very heavy brows, and they’re more curved than straight, and sometimes when you’re doing a character it might require more of a straight brow. Which sounds like such a small detail, but it can completely transform the face. Lots of actresses do this, models do this — I don’t know how willing models usually are to do it, or if other people suggest it, but I am willing, and I even bring [tape] it in my own kit.

Even though Renn seems sincere, since eye-taping was employed for so many years as a way to make white actors look Asian–in the place of actually hiring Asians–I’m not sure it can ever escape its racist connotations. In fact, in the same interview with Renn, Jezebel points out that eye-taping isn’t even a thing of the past.

So what’s a would-be eye-taper to do?

What Asians have been doing for decades to achieve a, ahem, “curved brow.”

Yes, I mean eyelid surgery, but reverse-engineered:

Crystal Renn + Liu Wen = CRYSTAL WENN

Extreme, sure. Though people will be too awed by the commitment this sort of body modificasian requires to ever think it’s racist. And it may be expensive, but think of the money one could save over a lifetime on tape!

Or, you know, Vogue Nippon could just hire an Asian model with a naturally “straight brow” the next time and avoid this sticky situation altogether.

[Refinery 29: Is Taping Your Eyes To Look Asian The New Blackface?]
[Jezebel: Crystal Renn Wasn’t Trying To ‘Look Asian’ In That Eye Tape Shoot]

Special thanks to Helen for creating “Crystal Wenn”!

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