Putting Down Eyelid Tape

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Beauty standards may vary around the world, but they are a powerful force. Especially on teen girls. Here’s YR Media’s Sarah Ng on putting down the eyelid tape.

Like many East Asians, I grew up feeling pretty insecure about my eyes. I’m not alone. Eyelid surgery is the third most popular cosmetic procedure in the world, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

People have told me to my face that my eyes are small and almond-shaped, that my eyes have monolids, meaning my eyelids lack creases.

And since I'm growing up in the US, monolids are like a stamp that says “Asian.” In middle school, I remember staring at my predominantly white classmates’ eyes. I paid way too much attention to their shape and depth.

Years ago, my older sister decided to change her monolids. She obviously wasn’t going to pay for plastic surgery. Instead, she bought eyelid tape from an Asian beauty store. So every night for a year, she basically taped a crease into her eyelid. Over time, this crease became permanent. Now, she only uses the tape once in a while, to reinforce her double eyelids.


My sister’s new eyes were brighter and made her appear more awake. My monolids--according to Asian beauty standards--were considered unattractive. And I started to believe it.

So last spring--right before prom--I bought an eyelid kit. I spent weeks, poking at my eye several times a day. To the point where I was tearing up from the mental and physical irritation.

But one night, as I was putting on tape before bed, I looked at myself and thought, “What am I even doing?” I was uncomfortable every day and no one at school had even commented on my eyes looking slightly larger.

So, I ditched the entire double-eyelid routine.

Part of me continues to tell myself that if I pushed through, it would have worked. And I would have bright, double-lidded eyes. But a bigger part of me sees it as a phase of forcefully and painfully trying to change something that I was born with.

Monolids are part of who I am--literally--and deeply a part of my Asian identity. It’s not like I can blink--and just love my natural eye shape. But I’m learning to accept it.

With a perspective, I’m Sarah Ng.

Sarah Ng is 17 and lives in Albany. Her Perspective was produced by Youth Radio's new network of journalists and artists, now called YR Media.