Posted by : KPopRanter March 19, 2014

V-line. Double eyelid. High cheekbones. Pale, milky skin... all small elements which add up to equation of beauty in South Korea. With the high demand of being beautiful or at least a somewhat 'physically attractive' addition to the country, it may seem a bit challenging to express oneself and be unique with their own individual charms and style. Whether the beauty standards in Korea is an concern or something we really don't need to worry about, it's undoubtedly obvious beauty standards are popular and valued heavily in South Korea and should be a topic that's openly discussed rather than just simply looked at then brushed off to the side.

Miss Korea 2012, Kim Yumi
The problem
First off, all societies are different. Just because own countries ideals are against Korean ideals of 'one type of beauty' doesn't mean that it's wrong because let's face it--subtly, most people in every single country find the traits showcased and desired from Korean beauty standards as the best traits to possess, anyway, and isn't much different than your's. 
Nonetheless, rather than blaming the set beauty standards on the whole Korean population themselves, how about we blame it on the Korean society and how they portray, incorporate and basically shove down people's throats beauty in everyday lives which causes people to feel insecure about themselves? To be honest, it's nearly impossible not to be persuaded to go under the knife with:

 ads and images of it everywhere encouraging the procedure celebrities
  role models whom you follow and basically worship having indescribable changes on their face from their past photos to their current photos.
  even the mere existence of shows like 'Let Beauty' which promises plastic surgery to a person with apparent physical problems (for example, an underbite jaw) however, going over and above with the surgery and correcting things that never required revision (like getting a boob job, double eyelid surgery, etc.) are things that can persuade the public to do it. Likewise, the show 'Let Me In' where a bully victim shares a measly sob story, then goes to plastic surgery as a reward isn't helping either, simpler to the American television show 'Teen Mom' and basically encouraging people who are bullied to hate themselves even more and want to get a billion surgeries as if that will make things better.
  clinics showcasing and giving discounts on plastic surgery for graduation presents as well as 'packages', equivalent to like a "buy 1, get one half off" deal.
  When applying to jobs in Korea, you have to send in a picture of yourself first... some people not even getting jobs due to their 'ugliness' and are forced to go under the knife if they want to put food on the table.
  If you're pretty and go into a store, they'll give you discounts and all kinds of shit. The ugly people? Nothing but full price.

With a society that projects 'beauty is everything' and 'will help you overcome all your problems', it's difficult not to want to fix one of your attributes that sets you different from everyone since you want to be live everyone. With literally one in five Seoul women going under the knife (and one in twenty men), the society also makes it seem like 'hmm... plastic surgery isn't that big of a deal since it's common therefore, get it!'.

The solution
I'm not going to be optimistic and beat around the bush--I don't think there's anyway possible in the near future of clearing any of this up. What unrealistic foreigners don't understand is that, sure, you can attempt to teach one person one thing, but the second you try to shove your testimony of how not just one person, but millions of people in one country has to change their perspective and basically how they live their life in order to live a happier and more fulfilling one down their throats, there'll be absolutely nothing good coming out on either end. I mean, it's just the society and culture they grew up in and accustomed themselves in so of course, they have different beliefs and views of the world. As mentioned before, not every single society needs to fit the standards of your country just because you see your country's ideals superior to the next country's. Not to mention, South Korea is doing fine as is, and from the looks of netizen comments it's obvious that people know the right and wrong with beauty, going too far with it and can tell that the world is different through everyone's eyes.
All these comments about how women should have some fat on their thighs (replying to an article about thigh gaps, most comments are saying gaps are good) just because men like it that way are stupid ㅋㅋㅋ Women were not born to fulfill your sexual needs. Your preferences on the issue do not matter. 
Certainly, educating South Korean children and possibly the immigration of more foreigners would help, people being able to see and of course, mix more cultures together and see that beauty isn't everything. Ultimately, it's great to remember that little nursery rhyme, Pease Porridge Hot that subtly builds the idea that people have differences and not everyone is the same and have different preferences:

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

Because there are different tastes and different eyes when seeing things around the world and to set up almost everyone in a country's beliefs as though 'this is the only thing that will make you beautiful' is a bit harsh and discouraging if you ask me, everyone having their own flaws and should have the chance to embrace it... rather than hating it and turning to a whole different person.

{ 2 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Pretty much spot on. I don't hate plastic surgery , however, I don't think that people should live in a society where majority of them can't reach the beauty standard naturally, therefore they have no choice but to get a plastic surgery. Plus when you hear some of those PS procedures, it's best to just "stay ugly."


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