10_Medicalization and Racial Features - Kaw

10_Medicalization and Racial Features - Kaw - 82 A MEDICAL...

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MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY QUARTERLY little fat pad underneath [which] can half bury the eye and so the eye looks small and unenergetic. Such powerful associations of Asian features with negative personality traits by physicians during consultations can become a medical affirmation of Asian Amer- ican women's sense of disdain toward their own features. Medical books and journals as early as the 1950s and as recent as 1990 abound with similar metaphors of abnormality in describing Asian features. The texts that were published before 1970 contain more explicit associations of Asian features with dullness and passivity. In an article published in 1954 in the Amer- ican Journal of Ophthalmology, the author, a doctor in the Philippines armed forces, wrote the following about a Chinese man on whom he performed double- eyelid surgery: [He] was born with mere slits for his eyes. Everyone teased him about his eyes with the comment that as he looked constantly sleepy, so his business too was just as sleepy. For this
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