The New York Times: “A Little Imperfection for That Smile?”

There’s an odd trend catching on in Japan, whereby women are intentionally creating a “fanged” or “snaggletooth” look for themselves, referred to in Japan as “yaeba.”

Dr. Emilie Zaslow, an assistant professor in Pace’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and author of “Feminism, Inc. – Coming of Age in Girl Power Media Culture,” comments in Sunday’s New York Times as to why Japanese women are paying for “imperfections” deemed attractive — the kinds of tooth issues a lot of Americans pay thousands to correct with braces.

In Japan, a new fashion has women paying to have their straight teeth purposefully disarranged.

A result of tooth-crowding commonly derided in the United States as “snaggleteeth” or “fangs,” the look is called “yaeba” in Japanese or “double tooth.” 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.

Dr. Emilie Zaslow, an assistant professor of communication studies at Pace University in Manhattan who has studied gender identity and beauty in consumer culture, noted in Sunday’s New York Times Style Section that such ever-shifting tastes often have one thing in common: a fixation with youth.

“The gapped tooth is sort of preorthodontic or early development, and the naturally occurring yaeba is because of delayed baby teeth, or a mouth that’s too small,” she said. “It’s this kind of emphasis on youth and the sexualization of young girls.”

The imperfect teeth phenomenon has its Western equivalents.  Lauren Hutton popularized it in the 1970s, but the gap has seen a comeback recently with popular models like Lara Stone and Georgia Jagger.

Falsely imperfect teeth aren’t easy for everyone to swallow, perhaps because for most people, imperfections come naturally but don’t score multimillion-dollar contracts. (According to a Forbes report in May, Ms. Stone had earned $4.5 million in the preceding 12 months.) Dr. Zaslow suggested that contrived imperfections like yaeba teeth have nothing to do with imperfection. “It’s not based in self-acceptance,” she said.

In other words, it’s as phony as Botox. “It’s still women changing their appearance primarily for men,” Dr. Zaslow said.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Event – “Eating Disorders, Body Image, Perfectionism”

In recognition of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week – and a society that often places high value on physical beauty and thinness Pace University is holding an event called “Eating Disorders, Body Image, Perfectionism.”

PACE UNIVERSITY MEDIA ALERT

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 – NYC Campus, 7 pm

In recognition of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week – and a society that often places high value on physical beauty and thinness …

“EATING DISORDERS, BODY IMAGE, PERFECTIONISM”

• Documentary Screenings/Q & A with filmmakers:

— “Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld” by Liza Figueroa Kravinsky;

— “Wet Dreams & False Images” (Sundance Award Winner) by Jesse Epstein

• Emilie Zaslow, Pace Assistant Professor of Communications Studies and author of “Feminism, Inc.: Coming of Age in Girl Power Media Culture” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) discusses how mediated images work to shape young people’s perceptions of beauty as well as body size and shape.

Event is FREE and open to the general public (male & female)

Why: To raise consciousness during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb 21 – 27) about the potentially life-threatening seriousness of eating disorders and the societal pressures, attitudes and behaviors which contribute to them. Also to spread a message of hope: Help is available, recovery is possible and those affected are not alone in their struggle!

According to Dr. Brian Petersen, Pace Counseling Center, “Eating disorders occur in both male and female college students and often are exacerbated by the stresses of the college/university environment. An eating disorder can have serious medical and psychological consequences. Symptoms may even become life-threatening. Even if you don’t have an eating disorder, you may know of someone who does – and we hope that you’ll urge them to attend this event. It’s incumbent on all of us in a caring community to become more aware of this important issue.”

Who/What: “Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld” is a documentary by Liza Figueroa Kravinsky looking at modern perceptions of beauty – including weight. “Being beautiful is overrated,” says the filmmaker, who interviewed and followed the lives of former beauty pageant queens, a physician, an exotic dancer, an entrepreneur and a musician who worked with famous rock star Prince.

“Wet Dreams and False Images” is a Sundance award-winning documentary by Jesse Epstein that utilizes humor to raise serious concerns about the marketplace of commercial illusion – photo retouching in magazines and ads – and unrealizable standards of physical perfection.

When: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 7 pm – 10 pm

Where: Pace University/East of City Hall, One Pace Plaza, Student Union – B Level, New York, NY 10038. Directions: http://www.pace.edu/pace/about-us/all-about-pace/directions-to-all-campuses/new-york-city-campus

Media Contact: Samuella Becker, Pace Public Information, sbecker2@pace.edu; 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172.

RSVP/General Information: Dr. Brian Petersen, Pace Counseling Center, email: bpetersen@pace.edu

About Pace University: For 103 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. Visit Pace on the web at www.pace.edu| Facebook | Twitter (@PaceUNews) | Flickr | YouTube

Event Co-Sponsor/Pace Counseling Center: The Counseling Center Staff is available to discuss any personal or emotional difficulties in complete confidentiality. Services include individual and group counseling and range from counseling for personal and professional problems to crisis intervention. Student concerns include relationship and family issues, roommate problems, drug or alcohol use, self-esteem, and problems with eating. http://www.pace.edu/page.cfm?doc_id=5105

Event Co-Sponsor/Dyson College of Arts and Science’s Body and Mind (BAM) House: Academic success has been linked to healthy bodies and healthy minds. BAM House focuses on personal, physical and emotional wellness as well as social change as related to health and wellness. Activities include weekly yoga; workshops about fresh food, happiness, relaxation techniques, journaling; and fun activities such as movie nights, ice skating, and baseball games.

Event Co-Sponsor/Women’s and Gender Studies engages in research and exploration concerning all areas of women’s experience. Interdisciplinary and multicultural by definition, Women’s and Gender Studies emphasizes the importance of gender while including other essential categories of analysis such as race and class.

Event Co-Sponsor/The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in Seattle, Wash., a not-for-profit organization, supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders and advocates for prevention, treatment and research funding for eating disorders. Since the inception of its Helpline in 1999, NEDA has referred more than 50,000 people to treatment and tallies more than 40 million hits annually on its Web site. For more information on eating disorders, visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org.