National Geographic Taboo. Episode on ‘Bagel Heads’

National Geographic is highlighting a ‘trend’ (upon further research, turns out it is not as popular as the episode makes it seem) around Japan. The trend is that of injecting saline into the forehead and pressing a thumb into the bulge of saline to make it look like a bagel. If you watch the video, the bagel heads seem truly happy with their fashion statement and the Japanese onlookers cannot help but squeal about how ‘cute’ they think the bagel heads look.


American editorial blogs on the subject:

People, especially Americans, have an ideology that anything that is outside their own culture is abnormal.

People’s fear of the unknown tends to lead people to abrasive conclusions. When hearing about the “bagel heads” Americans, blogs, etc. did not hesitate to come up with excuses as to why something another culture would find alluring is bad.

One disclosure is that this procedure is unsafe.
The Post calls it a “bizarre cosmetics procedure” and asks “who the hell would do this to themselves for no apparent reason?” but then casually mentions needing “Botox” later on in the post. Botox is a common cosmetic procedure not worthy of the author naming it bizarre like she does the saline injections. Saline has many different uses; piercing aftercare, wound wash, contact solution, nasal spray, ear spray, and various medical uses. If it is used for all these things that are internal, perhaps it could be safe for injections? Saline is made of 0.9% sodium chloride. Essentially it is salt water. The difference between salt water and saline is that saline is isotonic. Isotonic means that is has the same ratio of salt to water as the inside of your body, and therefore does not disrupt the balance inside or outside your body because osmosis and diffusion will not occur. Botox is a neurotoxin and is produced by bacteria. The author of the editorial wonders, “who the hell would do this to themselves?” about the saline injections, while other cultures are saying the exact same thing about the American’s ever-so-common Botox injections.

The author even admits that “it might seem as though this trend is new in the Asian art scene, but it’s actually been around for several years.” As previously mentioned, saline is used for many medical purposes, specifically as an injection. Though besides the practicality of the medical, it has also occasionally been used for body art in America for several years. It wasn’t until the Japanese created a fad out of it that North Americans started to question it and think it was weird.


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