In Korea, plastic surgery has become as commonplace as a dental checkup. Every year, a number of people who take plastic surgery are increasing dramatically. According to the recent research by the beauty magazine ‘Cosmopolitan’, Korean women’s plastic surgery population rate is 47.3%. This means nearly half of women in Korea have had plastic surgery. It's not an exaggeration to say that plastic surgery became a trend in Korea these days. As a society became lookism; discrimination or prejudice towards others based on their appearance, Korean are becoming more obsessed with their look. Nowadays, some parents give their daughters a plastic surgery as an entrance school gift in Korea. Moreover, there is an area where is famous for plastic surgery in Korea, Gangnam. In Gangnam, There are more than one hundred plastic surgery hospitals. These are basically why some people call Korea as “The Kingdom of Plastic Surgery”. In Korea, making double eye lid is the most common procedure among many kinds of surgery. As stated by the latest news, almost 70% of young Koreans have double-lined eyelids. However, less than 15% of Korean could be able to have them genetically. This phenomenon shows that how many Korean go through plastic surgery. Then, why are Koreans so obsessed with their appearance? What makes Korea as “The Kingdom of Plastic Surgery”? I was wondering about if there is any relevant to this plastic surgery boom phenomenon with Korea’s social atmosphere or Koreans’ unique characteristics. And I also want to know about ‘pros and cons’ about this phenomenon.
Why Koreans are obsessed with their appearance?
The streets of Seoul are full of impeccably groomed young women in miniskirt even in really cold weather. Unlike in many other countries, it is hard to find a woman with no-makeup, or a woman who is extremely overweight in Korea. Then why do Koreans try so hard to become attractive to others? This basic question is closely related to these days plastic surgery boom phenomenon. First, lookism has a tremendous impact on Korean society.
Lookism is a thought that the most important value is appearance and people’s value are judged only by how they look. In Korean society, physical appearance became far more important than a person’s inner beauty or ability. In this society, it is natural that people want to look more attractive than others. Even in job interviews, good-looking applicants are preferred. By this lookism, many Koreans believe that a beautiful face and body is essential to get a good job or have a nice boyfriend or girlfriend. Even worse thing is that many advertisements on mass media keep on whispering how great it will be if people have plastic surgery and forcing people to grasp the chance for a better life by improving their appearance. Actually there was ul-jjang boom, which means the best face, a few years ago in Korea. At that time, women, and some men as well, took their photographs and posted them on websites, where they could be ranked by their looks. The winner of the competition was able to get a chance to be a model or an actor. This society, where people are pressured to be beautiful, made Korean more eager to have plastic surgery. Next, the prevalence of plastic surgery among Korean has relation to their pop culture. Korean pop culture shows people the ideal appearance and beauty standard. The images of women in Korean pop culture negatively affect Korean and their self-images. The idea that double-lids, sharp nose and larger breasts are beautiful is reinforced by many TV programs in Korea. It also popularizes the cosmetic trend of plastic surgery. From this phenomenon, Korean’s sense of well-being becomes more dependent on appearance and beauty. And it is also true that there are many Korean celebrities who had plastic surgery. Their complete change gave people a big shock and at the same time, Koreans want to become beautiful and popular like them by taking...