A new fashion in Japan has women paying specialists to have their straight teeth intentionally disarranged, as men are said to find this attractive.
The look is called “yaeba” in Japanese, or “double tooth”. Some blogs are devoted to it, celebrities show it proudly and recently dentists started to receive orders to arrange it artificially, by placing plastic fronts to real teeth.
A Vietnamese-American living in Los Angeles, Michelle Phan, has written about the new trend on her beauty blog. “It’s not like here [the U.S.], where perfect, straight, picket-fence teeth are considered beautiful,” she says. “In Japan, in fact, crooked teeth are actually endearing, and it shows that a girl is not perfect. And, in a way, men find that more approachable than someone who is too overly perfect.”
Emilie Zaslow, an assistant professor of communication studies at a Manhattan university, who has studied beauty in nowadays consumer culture, thinks that this kind of unusual taste often originates from 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 says. “It’s this kind of emphasis on youth and the sexualization of young girls.”
But to sum up, it’s still a trend based in non-self-acceptance, she explains. “It’s still women changing their appearance primarily for men.”