Japan has something called eyelid tape. It is sold in packs of 60 – 100; the purpose is to artificially add a double eyelid without surgery. The most common users are Japanese girls in their late teens and early twenties – and office ladies. The eyelid tape is supposed to make you more “beautiful” by giving your eyes a western appearance.
Take a deep breath. This is a real thing. And I have countless friends who use this tape.
Why I don’t understand eyelid tape:
A couple months ago, I was at Shibuya 109 with a friend. We are both shopaholics (her more so than me because I’m broke) and love going to Shibuya 109 to look at the latest trends – she needed new makeup for a date, so we were in the makeup corner in the basement. While she was browsing foundation, I spotted the eyelid tape near the register.
I laughed, pulling my friend over. “Look at this! Eyelid tape. How weird! Can you believe people actually use this.”
She gave me ‘the look’ that could melt stone and reached across, snatching a box. “… I use this.”
“What?” I stared in disbelief.
“Did you think my eyes were naturally double-lidded? I use these so my makeup doesn’t smudge and my eyes look bigger.”
I apologized, but the damage was done. Apparently my friend wore eyelid tape every day. She thought I was rather insensitive for laughing at it – but it was something I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around.
So I bought her a boba tea drink and we chatted about it. She showed me how to put the tape on and take it off. Later on, she showed me what her “un-taped” eyelids looked like. There was a startling difference.
Even more startling – I hadn’t realized it until then.
I thought she had just been born with really large eyes. She explained it wasn’t just about the eyelids. It was about making her eyes larger. She wants to be a fashion blogger – and she told me without the tape, her eyelids were huge and her eyes always looked closed. She wanted the big, bright eyes that most fashion bloggers have (on this note, she also uses those contact lenses that make your pupils bigger).
Why I really don’t understand eyelid tape:
I’m white. I have white people eyes with perfect, wrinkly double eyelids. I’ve never had to make the decision whether or not to tape my eyelids. According to Japanese media, double eyelids are sexy. They make your eyes look big. They are chic.
It’s gotten to the point that actors and musicians are famous for NOT having double eyelids, rather than for having the double eyelids. I read an interview with a director shooting a period drama; he had a hard time finding an “old fashioned” actress who would play the part of the heroine – all the famous choices had double eyelid surgery. Women with double eyelids couldn’t play an “old fashioned” girl in his period drama. He was a traditionalist. In the end, he went with a virtually unknown actress, since she was one of the only actresses he could find in the age bracket who looked the part (ie, didn’t have the surgery).
(EDIT, as someone pointed out in the comments, a large number of Asian men and women are born with double eyelids – which is interesting. Since posting this, several of my friends have messaged me pointing out they are 100% Asian with double eyelids. So, I guess this eyelid tape isn’t TOO ‘out there,’ since it is possible to naturally have double eyelids)
Why I (sort of) understand eyelid tape:
I’m foreign. I look very foreign. I have natural double eyelids. So of course I would never use the tape… but I respect women who choose to do it just as much as I respect women who don’t. Whatever floats your boat. Go for it. If there was a fashion object that make my nose smaller or eyes bigger, I would use it in a heartbeat.
Fashion and media perception of beauty makes women do crazy things. It makes us teeter around on high heels all day, paint our faces over with powders and brushes, and squeeze/starve our body into a specific size, to align ourselves with the standard of beauty. It’s harmful for women’s self-image.
We all just want to be pretty – as if that is something to be proud of.
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