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Grown Women Trying To Look Like Little Toothy Girls

Grown Women Trying To Look Like Little Toothy Girls

The latest fashion trend in Japan is†yaeba: women have their incisors artificially enlarged with plastic fronts so they seem to have small mouths with big teeth. Yaeba means “double-toothed” in Japanese and is the talk of blogs and “proudly” displayed by celebrities. †Some suggest that Japanese women are seeking this look to appear deliberately imperfect; to look†”endearing” and to be more approachable by men.

On the other hand, Dr. Emilie Zaslow, an assistant professor of communication studies at Pace University in Manhattan, sees the “snaggletoothed” look as a sign of a fixation with youth:

ďThe gapped tooth is sort of preorthodontic or early development, and the naturally occurring yaeba is because of delayed baby teeth, or a mouth thatís too small. Itís this kind of emphasis on youth and the sexualization of young girls.Ē

Yaeba teeth may make a woman look “less than perfect” but, as Zaslow suggests, it’s one thing to want to look “imperfect” and another thing to accept one’s imperfections, especially when it comes to one’s physical appearance.†Yaeba teeth are not a trend “based in self-acceptance.” †Like Botox, you can add †yaeba to the ever-growing list of things women do in the name of fashion — mini skirts, pointy stilettos — that are all about “women changing their appearance primarily for men” and, in particular, changing their appearance to make themselves look younger and more like a girl.

It’s an insidious trend not only in Japan and not only in Asia. In Seoul in South Korea, one out of five women between the ages of 19 and 49 has undergone cosmetic surgery to add a bridge to their nose, pare down their cheekbones, rearrange their jaws and make their eyes look larger and rounder by removing the epicanthic fold. The last sort of surgery makes women have a cutesie “Thumper” look as a Korean American friend once noted and is yet another way that women infantilize themselves in the name of beauty:

…itís easy to judge Japan as being weird and sexually-suspect, but we have practices with exactly the same effect here in the U.S. Consider the preponderance of bleach blonde hair in America. Itís a natural hair color in some children, very rare in adulthood, and adopted mostly by adult women, not men. Letís add baby doll dresses and shaving our pubes to the list.

This is a disturbing transnational phenomenon, then, and what I like about the Yaeba example is that itís unfamiliar enough to Americans that we can see it for what it is. And, if we can see it for what it is, we can turn our lens onto our own culture and see the things we do in a whole new light.

It’s not just that too many a “fashion trend” is all about women remaking (literally) themselves and their bodies to appeal to the male gaze. It’s about adult women transforming themselves into some ersatz idealization of girlishness and cuteness rather than accepting and just being who they are.

 

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Photo by Danny Choo

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173 comments

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7:24AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

If they were doing this for themselves, instead of to try and trap a man, I would say to each his own.
Just be yourself.

2:57PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

What bothers me about this is that these women do it to attract men. This would suggest that these women think that all men want are little girls. There is the unspoken idea that they are pandering to the male's baser instincts.
Such actions could be dangerous for the women, but also disrespectful of men in general.

2:52PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Not surprised by this nonsense in a culture that praises women for acting like trashy idiots(sorry kardashians) and mocks women with a strand of grey hair. We see the results of a bloated nation of spoiled brats, when late night comedians ask young people on the street who's the VP of USA, and half don't know.

3:01PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Does this seem weird to us because many of us have spent a fortune with orthodontists trying to 'fix' teeth like this?

I find it sad if these women are doing it to be more approachable by men. If they look so good that guys aren't chatting them up, then maybe they should chat up the guys, it's got to be cheaper!

And to be honest if a girl thinks that she looks so good it puts men off then it's her personality, not her looks, that keeps guys away.

1:15PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

I think the hardest time I have with this, is the infantilism aspect of it. Pandering to men's desire for little girls. Creepy.

1:10PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Kinda weird - but each person needs to be able to express themselves as they desire as long as they hurt no one else.

10:34AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

To each his own, but personally I am against any surgery to change my appearance. I look at it this way - the good Lord made me this way for a reason. So I may not be no beauty queen, but that is ok. I was born the way God intended and will die that way as well. Those that find others unattractive too often are basing this on personal appearances alone. I have met many people that were not beauty queens as far as looks go, but princes and princesses when you look at them from the inside out. Beauty really does come from inside. I find it sad that so many people cannot live with the looks they were born with....

9:09AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Different strokes for different folks? Kinda sad that women feel they need to change the
way the look.

8:46AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Sad, really. Still, each to their own, I suppose.

8:35AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Gives me the creeps.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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