As we all know, every society has its own standards of beauty. In America, for example, we love a flawless face and a variety of body types: who doesn’t envy Kim Kardashian’s curves or Kate Moss’ super thin figure? Japan’s idea of beauty is a little different: men are attracted to girls with crooked teeth. As a result, girls are actually paying to get crooked teeth. As a collegiette™ with an irrational fear of teeth, I was definitely shocked and kind of disturbed when I heard about this trend.
What we call “fangs” or a “snaggletooth” is known as “yaeba” in Japan. Yaeba translates to "double teeth." In order to obtain this new trend, dentists use a non-permanent glue to attach artificial teeth to the patient’s natural teeth. I don’t know about you, but this is making me cringe!
“In Japan, in fact, crooked teeth are actually endearing, and it shows that a girl is not perfect,” says blogger Michelle Phan. “And, in a way, men find that more approachable than someone who is too overly perfect.”
One thing that’s upsetting about this trend is its primary goal: men’s approval. “It’s not based in self-acceptance,” Emilie Zaslow, a professor at Pace University, told The New York Times. Call me naive, fashionistas, but I think it’s important for a guy to like you for you, flaws and all!
Yaeba is also in popular demand because it makes Japanese women appear younger. “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,” says Zaslow. “It’s this kind of emphasis on youth and the sexualization of young girls.”
Without a doubt, America is obsessed with all things youthful. But does this trend take the craze too far? According to Zaslow, yaeba in Japan is like Botox in America. “It’s still women changing their appearance primarily for men,” says Zaslow.
Although I’ve diagnosed myself with odontophobia , I do think it’s important to celebrate what makes you unique: Lara Stone and Georgia Jagger, for example, rock their gap teeth with confidence. However, their iconic smiles are priceless. From imperfect teeth to women with fuller figures, we are lucky to have some fabulous role models in the media who show us that it’s always on trend to flaunt our natural features. Paying for artificial teeth, in order to satisfy a certain standard of beauty, is both upsetting and extreme. As cliché as it sounds, we need to appreciate the bodies- and smiles- that we were born with.
What do you think about this trend? Sound-off below!