You know how at the beginning of a Nip/Tuck episode some apparently INSANE person would stroll into the office and explain in a pathos-evoking way how she needed to have roughly the facial bone structure of a Bengal tiger if she wanted to keep her job as the madam of an animorph-themed bordello in Nevada? “These young girls,” she might say to the placidly judgmental faces of Christian Troy and Sean McNamara, “some of them are basically all ocelot. I can’t stay in the game unless I look exactly like a Bengal tiger. My livelihood depends on it.” For tiger madam, invasive, borderline irresponsible plastic surgery might be the necessary cost of earning a living in the zoomorphic fetish industry, but for working Chinese women, cosmetic surgery might be the only way to keep their employers from hiring a younger replacement.
According to a recent (and fairly horrifying) report from Daily Beast contributor Joanna Chiu, Chinese employers put undue emphasis on youth, which has led to a boom in cosmetic surgery, especially among working women on the cusp of thirty and looking back down the job ladder at the hordes of twenty-something competitors. Remember the government-labeled “leftover women” of China, those women who are 27-and-up, unmarried, and completely disrespected by the ruling party? Well, thanks to the cultural and economic transformations China has experienced in recent decades, Chinese women, according to anthropologist Wen Hua, feel job insecurity and anxiety more acutely than men.