Oh, New York Times. Where would we be without your hard hitting and insightful reporting on Asian culture? According to this article from a couple weeks back, crooked teeth, or yaeba, is the hot new trend among women in Japan.
Japanese men are said to find this attractive: blogs are devoted to yaeba, celebrities display it proudly, and now some women are paying dentists to create it artificially by affixing plastic fronts to their real teeth.
Whoooa, them Japanese folks are crazy! Not only are they born with imperfect teeth (like us!) but they also pay for dental surgery to make them even more crooked. Say whaaaaaaaaaat?
The NYT leaves no stone unturned in their cultural investigations, so of course they head to the ultimate source for all things Japanese: Michelle Pham. No, seriously. Michelle Pham, YouTube star, Vietnamese American make-up guru and…Japanese expert? Oh, right. She blogged about it, which makes her the go-to person when it comes to reporting on Japanese beauty standards.
I have nothing against Pham. Her Youtube tutorials are mesmerizing to watch. I also like to see how girls transform themselves with layers and layers and layers of make-up. But it bugs me that a prominent newspaper like the New York Times took it upon themselves to report on a new “trend” in Japan where girls have dentists glue things to their teeth so they look like vampires all because one site wrote about it and other blogs picked it up.
I’m not saying this doesn’t happen. It does. The whole yaeba thing has been happening for a while. There’s a whole blog dedicated to it. Some “reporter” even got it done for the sake of journalism…or at least this video.
My issue is that the NYT devoted an entire article without actually interviewing anyone from Japan or go into the cultural differences in their dental hygiene industry, where the yaeba look came from, why some Japanese men find it appealing and oh, I don’t know, someone who wasn’t Michelle Pham or some professor at a Manhattan university? Maybe all the Japanese people they reached out to knew this whole subject was pointless.
If that’s the case, kudos to my people. We’re too busy selling “Make a baby with J-Pop stars” apps and stuff.