A Chinese husband's 'ad' for his wife to get plastic surgery sparks debate

woman waits for surgery Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cosmetic surgery is a booming industry in China

Chinese social media users are debating whether they would have cosmetic surgery after an influential Chinese newspaper posted an ad, apparently showing a husband's plea for his wife to go under the knife.

Southern Metropolis Daily showed a full-page ad in its 14 December issue, which sparked reaction from tens of thousands of Weibo users, discussing whether they would have cosmetic surgery if their partner asked.

Many speculated that the post was simply an advert by a plastic surgery clinic or simply a kind of ruse. One popular user said that the paper was known for its "wonderful, endless adverts".

However, it provided no details to suggest as such and the post in any event it sparked a vibrant and massively popular social media discussion about whether users would go under the knife if the message was from their partner.

Recent months has seen a huge debate among Chinese social media users on the ethics, benefits and pitfalls of cosmetic surgery, increasingly a booming business in the country.

The 'advert'

On page 10, the post apparently by "Xiao Ming", read "Wife: we still love each other, but were born at the wrong time - in a material era. I think, if I can make you into a beautiful flower, I am willing to contribute the money from my private house and give you cosmetic surgery. The more beautiful you are, the more I will like you."

Image copyright Weibo
Image caption The page 10 advert by "Xiao Ming" was a plea to his wife to have plastic surgery

Massive debating point

On this particular story, more than 20,000 users on the popular Sina Weibo microblog used the #HusbandsTellsPaperWantsWifeToGoUndertheKnife hashtag to discuss the Southern Metropolis Daily advert.

Some commenting on this story online said they would undergo procedures if their husband was paying; others said being asked was good grounds for divorce.

Many voiced concern about society being increasingly image-driven. Cosmetic surgery is a 400 bn yuan industry (62.6bn US dollar) in China and by 2019, the country is expected to be the world's third largest market after the US and Brazil.

'Is this for real?'

Many were outraged by the advert and suggested that "Xiao Ming" was treading on dangerous territory. "Is this for real?" said "Dong Nizhu". "This is unconceivable."

"You want your wife to be more beautiful = you want to get dumped," said another.

Some questioned the husband's love for his wife. "If you love someone, you should not be that concerned about her appearance, right?" asked user "Green Pencil No 7".

Others criticised the newspaper for allowing the advert to glamourise procedures that carry health and financial risks: "Newspapers now are so unscrupulous; they dare to show such a socially irresponsible advert for money!" said "Melancholic_622".

The importance of image

Despite criticism, some users said that if their partner was paying, they would show willing. "If I had the money, I would go straight away!" said the ironically named "A Woman Should Be Her Own Master".

"Take me to get my eyelids done and I'll be happy," said "Ann Liu Maideng", in a post to her partner.

Some spoke about their partners being understanding of them wanting cosmetic surgery, and said that it has become less taboo: "My husband is very supportive of me having plastic surgery said "Walking H".

There were those who felt cosmetic surgery had gained influence because society had become more image-driven. "The level of importance people put on their appearance really is evident," said "45453yy".

Plastic surgery increasingly in the news

Cosmetic surgery has been a huge talking point over the last few months, with debate over whether it is ethically appropriate for China, with a financially successful cosmetic surgery industry, to promote people having procedures.

Thousands used the hashtag #SnakeSpirit in March to talk about a 15-year-old Chinese girl Lee Hee Danae, who underwent "major cosmetic surgery" to win over an ex-boyfriend earlier in the year.

In August, they also used the hashtag #19CosmeticOperations to talk about a woman from Shenyang who flew to South Korea to have 19 operations in three years, and wears a veil in public because she is still not satisfied with her appearance.

In October a top Chinese actress, known as Angelababy, sued a clinic for defamation after it alleged she had undergone plastic surgery in a case which saw her face examined in court.

A Taiwanese model who appeared in a plastic surgery ad has previously become the subject of a popular internet meme after it showed her with "children" with drastically different appearances. "The only thing you'll ever have to worry about is how to explain it to the kids," the advert read.

Image copyright Internet
Image caption The ad for plastic surgery featured Taiwanese model Heidi Yeh with three children whose images were altered

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