[FOUNTAIN]All about nose jobsThe most popular procedure in plastic surgery is a nose job, according to doctors in the field. According to statistics from the United States, 1.4 million nose reshaping procedures were performed in 2001; that was about 16 percent of the total cosmetic procedures that year. People in the entertainment business say that most popular entertainers start with their noses when they start to give themselves a new look.
Why do people try to change their noses? Scholars say the nose is often a significant visual symbol in societies. In European history, noses are often mentioned as allegories or symbols ― such as Pinocchio’s nose and Cleopatra’s nose ― and sexual jokes about noses abound.
A person who has a nose that is too small, too flat or too large used to be the butt of jokes and many such persons developed an inferiority complex. Nose surgery became popular under such circumstances. People wanted to escape from being pushed out of society by changing parts of one’s body with plastic surgery. Sander Gilman, a professor at the University of Illiois, asserted in a recent book titled “A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery” that in the 16th century people feared for their noses. There were many males with sunken noses as an aftermath of syphilis, prevalent at that time. A man with a sunken nose was regarded as a syphilis carrier and was an outcast of society.
Naturally, the attempt to raise one's nose was a desperate struggle not to be pushed out from the society to which they belonged. Even then, surgery was developed to help them.
In the 19th century, the nose became a symbol of discrimination. The length of one’s nose was used as a standard to separate different races, cultures and social classes.
In the Orient, the nose has significant meanings also. A founder of a country or a renowned family has been called the “father of the nose.” Ryunosuke Akudagawa, a Japanese novelist, shows the importance of noses in his short story “The Nose.” The story, written in 1916, emphasized the importance of the nose as it is, not the one made to show to others.
But in Asia, especially in Korea, nose surgery has become popular. While the surgery in Europe originated from the desire to keep one’s position in society, the surgery in Korea seems to be an effort to climb to a higher step on the social ladder. Does this mean that it is easy in Korea to improve your station in life?
by Kim Seok-whan
The witer is a JoongAng Ilbo editorial writer.