The Destructive Effects of South Korea’s Beauty Standards
Diving Into the Plastic Surgery Empire of South Korea.
Upon interviewing Grace Cho regarding her opinions and thoughts about South Korea’s cultural beauty standards, I was able to include a massive amount of insight into this article. Her expertise in psychology was also imperative in helping me formulate many of the ideas that are included in this article.
South Korea is notoriously known for its hyper fixation on outward appearances and cosmetic surgery. The extreme focus on appearance pressures women and men to conform to societal expectations and spend a relatively significant amount of money to undergo cosmetic surgery procedures. The glorification of certain facial and body features can cause individuals to feel ashamed of their natural features, which could lead to lower levels of self-esteem. This is problematic considering that many institutions in South Korea reinforce a one-dimensional and uniform image of beauty- it is truly an epidemic and I am calling it out for what it is. Although tending to one’s appearance could be important for self-care, I would argue that obsessing over it is more harmful than it is helpful. I suggest that the strain of meeting South Korea’s beauty standards is due to South Korea’s embedded “listening culture” and social conformity. Many women and men become self-critical and as a result which contributes to the vicious cycle of feeling a low sense of self-worth and wanting to resort to cosmetic surgery. The reason why I believe cosmetic surgery may be more harmful than it is helpful is that even after spending a significant amount of money to change one’s features to “fit in” with everyone else, it does nothing to repair the internal feelings of insecurity and inferiority. It is only a mask that provides a false and shallow sense of confidence and only adds onto the cycle of being self-critical in the long run.
I identify as a Korean American woman, and if there is anything about Korean culture that I am most familiar with, it is the homogenous beauty standards. Ever since I was a middle school student, I had always felt a great amount of insecurity about my facial features. I desperately wanted to feel beautiful and admired. In South Korea, while having double eyelids may not be the normality, it is…