What the hell is eyelid tape?
Well, it’s exactly what it says on the box. Eyelid tape is a small, transparent or skin coloured tape that you stick onto your eyelids, typically used by people who have ‘monolids’ or want to change their eyelid shape. By the way, there’s also double-sided eyelid tape, string sized tape and eyelid glue – yes, I’ve tried them all. They’re pretty cheap too. I must have amassed at least fifteen different packs of eyelid tape, each usually having around 200 to 300 pairs of tape. They’re extremely popular in Korea, unsurprising as eyelid surgery is one of thee more popular surgical procedures, since the youthful look is their ultimate criteria including having big, doe-like eyes. Eyelid tape would make hooded eyes bigger as they’d pull back the excess skin, making your eyes seem wider.
I know how ridiculous this all sounds since my friends always used to always give me the shading side glance, or roll their eyes when fifteen year old me would defend myself saying ‘I wear it because my eyes are uneven’, as only my right eye had an eyelid. Not that I ever paid attention or cared if someone else had uneven eyes, I was just insecure with my own image and trying become more attractive. One of my guy friends even joked that in five years time, he would remember me for my eyelid tape (I shall be testing this in three years). I also used to carry a pack with me to school in case the tape started to fall off. Whilst I do think I wore them for too long, from when I was fourteen until eighteen, and they ruined some of my selfies because the reflection of the tape would cause flashbacks, I don’t regret wearing them. Although I have come to the acceptance no one’s face is exactly symmetrical including mine (maybe apart from Gigi Hadid, ’cause girl have you seen how perfectly aligned everything is?!), my eyes are more even and I am more confident. If you think I’m being ridiculous, when I went to Philippines one of my grandma’s friends remarked how great it was that my eyes were even now, because when I was a baby my left eye used to be so small in comparison. At the same time, I was hypocritically thinking ‘Really? You actually noticed that?’, as I was used to everyone reassuring me my eyelids were fine and I was starting to believe no one noticed how uneven my eyes were before.
What I do regret though, is how I used to obsess over symmetry and how insecure I became over my eyes. At first, whenever someone would ask what was on my eye, I would say it was eyeshadow. Then I would insanely try to widen my eyes a bit so that they weren’t as visible. I would hate taking pictures because of how small my left eye was, no matter how many times my friends re-assured me I was being too harsh on myself and it’s wasn’t obvious until I pointed it out. After a while, the process of wearing the eyelid tape became tedious and I realised just how much time I would spend trying to put them on in the morning. It would take me anywhere between five to twenty minutes, depending on whether I was having a good eyelid day (meaning I had eyelids lmao) or not, to put the tape on the exact same place. Had I done my research beforehand, I wouldn’t have had to wear eyelid tape for as long as I did. You’re actually supposed to wear them twenty-four seven for at least three months straight, replacing them every morning, after a shower and before you go to bed. It takes insane dedication to gain eyelids, so to anyone that has managed to do that: I applaud you. Because I wore them just during the day and didn’t put them on the same way I did in previous morning, it took me much longer to train my eyelids. (I’m actually laughing at how funny this all sounds, but putting on eyelid tape is an art).
I stopped wearing tapes often because I was happy with my eyelids and they became significantly more even. I only carried on due to routine and being scared that my eyes would suddenly become uneven again. I stopped all together when I realised I don’t really want to go on for the rest of my life wearing tape, wasting precious time in the morning trying to make them bigger and even than they can actually be. I just had to accept and come to like my eyes. Reflecting back, having insecurities is completely normal especially during teenage years. I don’t regret wearing the tape because as I said, it helped with my confidence and I believe I would be far less happy with my look if I never wore the tapes. I’ll admit that my obsession with my eyes and facial symmetry was a bit psychotic considering I was adamant on getting eyelid surgery at the age of fifteen. It’s not that I’m against plastic surgery – do what makes you happy – but it would be ignorant to say that a fifteen year old demanding to permanently alter their image isn’t worrying.
I do understand if this whole thing sound comical, but when there’s stereotypes around East Asian eyes, with the slur ‘chinkie’ being centred on it, it’s not hard to understand why eyelid tape and even surgery is a resort to some. Personally, I mostly used it to appease my insecurity, but my fixation may have manifested originally because of the mocking of asian eyes. When it becomes a focal point in moronic, racist comments of course people are likely to become concerned over their trait. Additionally, the western ideal of beauty plays a part influencing looks in Korea and many other countries. Yes not all Asians have monolids or small eyes, but beauty standards in Asia typically highlight fairer skin, smaller statures and large round eyes. What seems to be an unreasonable insecurity stems from the beauty standards and history of ridiculing common East Asian features.