I was reading through TIME magazine when I came upon this article entitled, "Japan's Beauty Queen Factory." I recalled Miss Japan won this year's Miss Universe (kudos to her!) But my mood soured greatly as I read this article.
It's about a French lady who was handpicked by Donald Trump to be the boot camp sergeant to Miss Japan hopefuls. No doubt this lady has been successful:
"For the last 10 years, Ines Ligron has been ordering young Japanese women to strip, walk tall, free their inner woman and wear lots and lots of makeup in an effort to seriously compete in the Miss Universe beauty pageant. And compete they have. The contest, long monopolized by Latin America's goddess industry, has now seen three of Ligron's frightened girls make it into the top five, including a first runner-up last year and, most spectacularly, 21-year-old dance student Riyo Mori, who two weeks ago won the title of Miss Universe 2007 and brought back the $250,000 crown to Japan for the first time in 48 years."
But here is where things get bad:
"Ligron, 44, is the national director of Miss Universe Japan, and her job is to create world-class beauty queens out of young Japanese women in a country that favors smallness over voluptuousness, reserve over unrestrained confidence, a demure smile over a sparkling grin...
... and she was appalled to find in Japan a country of young women hunched over and wobbling in untrendy shoes, avoiding the sun to keep pale, hiding under too many layers of stockings and Bridget Jones underwear. "The first thing that struck me was — I have to liberate these women!" she says... The women would also live with the beauty producer for months to learn "how to be a woman, a gaijin [foreigner] woman, from me."
Really Ms. Ligron? So many f'd up Japanese women. Thank our lucky stars, you're over there to fix their problems and teach them "how to be a woman." /sarcasm. Tell me Ms. Ligron, is this why Western women are so obsessed with silicone enhancements? But maybe I am overreacting? Well, I don't think so...
"Success in the global beauty market, however, is not necessarily embraced back home. Last year's Miss Universe runner-up Kurara Chibana has been a commercial hit back in Japan; and with her east Asian facial features... However, Miss Universe Mori fits the more statuesque, chiseled mold of Latin American and southeast Asian beauties. When a Japanese sports daily mistakenly published Miss Thailand's picture as Mori — and blundered in its apology by claiming the photo was of Miss Korea — local tabloids, instead of faulting the newspaper, criticized Ligron's crowning achievement for having a homogeneous beauty pageant look. Indeed, newspaper writers — reflecting the tastes of Japanese men — wondered if 5'9" Mori (who speaks English) embodies anything Japanese at all.
Ligron, who has been approached to replicate her success in other countries, thinks it may be just as well. "Japanese men want infantile anorexic kawaii [cute] women in their 20s who act like they're 12. Now girls are beginning to find role models in women with real talent, careers, confidence."
Well, that's frigging outrageous - the Japanese preferring women with east Asian facial features!!! Show those barbarians the light Ms. Ligron! I'm so sorry my daughter isn't up to your standards Ms. Ligron. Whoops, I forgot I don't give a $hit about you or your views! Cut the bull$hit about liberating Japanese women, you're only imposing Western ideas of beauty on them!
And I'm not even going to go into the hidden racism, her digs at Japanese men or equating Miss Universe with real talent, careers, confidence? Just too much hypocrisy. Frankly, I see jealousy at play here.
What I do know is my daughter, with her east Asian facial features, is really beautiful on the outside and I'm going to keep telling her that.