How to be Beautiful Like a Korean Girl
Be honest, everyone has already felt the need to have a flat belly or a perfect nose. Maybe everyday when you look at yourself in the mirror, you think that you won’t be against plastic surgery. Let me talk to you about a country where it is “okay” and even recommended to spend a while on a surgery table, the procedure is so easy and very affordable, don’t you hear the little voice saying “do it!” ? This country really exists and is called South-Korea.
We (you and me) spend a lot of time to look at Korean movie stars, wishing that one day we could be beautiful like them. But behind the korean drama pastel colors, a terrible truth is hiding…
The Origins of a Superficial Culture
How do we recognize a Korean beauty?
A porcelain skin, round eyes, small nose, luscious mouth, tall body, slim and athletic. The whole Asia is jealous of them and Korean are proud of that. They are so much proud that they define themselves as a “pure race”.
For a little country that has spent centuries under Chinese and Japanese oppression without loosing their identity, they have a good reason. If you look closer to these beauty criteria, you will find out that they are close to Caucasian appearance.
Since westerners arrived in Asia and western culture invasion, “the white” reigns supreme on human being and Koreans until now on a pedestal, felt “envious”. In South Korea people are not satisfied by just copying Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake wardrobe, but they also want to physically look like them.
How do they do this? Simply with the help of plastic surgery.
The Ulzzangs, in Korean “best face”, are sending a perfect image, almost unreal, of Korean beauty.
What happened ? Aren’t they beautiful and handsome like they naturally are, Asian ? It is what it is, we can’t really explain the established criteria.
But is it not too much to have to cross the door of a clinic? Unlike France, plastic surgery is approved in South Korea. On the contrary, plastic surgery is the key to social success.
After establishing its own beauty standards beyond other countries, Korea is today a victim of its own game, the cult of beauty became a dictator, it can define your social status, decide to make you popular or not and influence your relationships. For example a “handsome” employee will be chosen instead of someone more qualified but physically not gifted. Your age can be a handicap too for your career. With all the plastic surgery clinics opening at every street corners, someone not born with the “handsome gene” or just looking for eternal youth can for example have a nose job done as this person was going to the barber for a new haircut.
The height of common sense: contests are organized to win the plastic surgery of your dream. With such enticing marketing, how could you resist to temptation?
Song Hye Kyo, “Full House” series’ lead actress: an emblem of Korean beauty. She is a natural beauty, but it is not the case of everyone.
Let’s start where it’s an evidence! of course, if Korean didn’t look so perfect people wouldn’t try to look like them. It’s like the debate around the “0” size in Europe, it said that “If supermodels wouldn’t be so skinny, young women or teenagers would eat more”. But like everywhere people dream about glory and glamour. To reach this dream, a little cut with a scalpel can’t be refused. A common practice among men and women, but most of the time it is unofficial, people cannot confess that they had plastic surgery to get a better job or being more popular, they will prefer to say that their surgery was necessary to fix an appearance problem.
Uhm Jung Hwa, the Korean’s Madonna, has changed as many times of faces than show costumes during her long musical career.
This is the problem, hypocrisy is a decease really active in Korean culture, especially when it’s about plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is promoted to boost your career, but the reckless who tells everyone about his plastic surgery will be mocked. Remember the movie “200 Pounds Beauty”, at the end, the young woman confesses in front of everyone her use of plastic surgery to become beautiful, then her fans told her “It’s ok”. The morality of this story is not to accept yourself as you are, but be honest about the plastic surgery topic.
200 Pounds Beauty: a beautiful satire on Korean mentality about beauty. But sometimes fiction becomes reality, a korean TV show used this concept to transform a girl from head to toe, to see if she could meet success in the music industry. Instead of success, she at least won a free full plastic surgery makeover.
More and more stars come on TV stages to make “incredible revealing”: YES ! They had plastic surgery! It isn’t a scoop for us, when you see how some people can look like, but let say that it comes from their hearts.
Do you know what are the most popular surgeries for Korean celebrities? Double eyelid surgery which enlarge the eyes to make them look like more Caucasian, also the jaw surgery after what the bottom face has to look like a ”V” to give an oval shape to the face and make it slimmer.
Hwanhee, (fake) Brian Joo’s friend in “Fly to The Sky”, has lost is mind in the dark side of plastic surgery, sadly !
Let’s say ” a fault confessed is half redressed”, does a social evolution can only be better? Don’t believe this, it’s actually getting worst. Now that it has become common to confess that you had plastic surgery, many idols release their secrets : Kim Heechul from Super Junior recently confessed that he had a nose job and plan to have his eyes done too. Recently Boa the Kpop’s princess also confessed that she used the help of magic surgeons’ hands. Then an 11 years old little girl believes that plastic surgery is the coolest thing in this world, because all her idols do it…
Young and Pretty
Teenage years are the years when you hate everybody, hate society and most of all, the age when you hate yourself. The lack of self-confidence, being naive, feeling like nobody understands you and being in a body that you don’t recognize is hard for a teenager. A critical age especially in South Korea where 30 people suicide per day.
Warning detail: 60% of Korean teenagers have been thinking to end their lives, 20% have imagined and plan their way to die on every details. In a continent not open to psychoanalysis, we prefer to hide problems instead of solving them from psychological roots. Custom-made pop stars are created to sing honey-words instead of promoting other artists able to sing more elaborated lyrics which could lead to reflection. Because plastic surgery has become a master in the art of blurring the reality, it is the solution to calm down the whims caused by teenage hormones, for example when a young girl get her bachelor degree, it is common to offer as reward a double eyelid surgery, and these girls are often only 16 years old.
If she wants to look like a gold fish as most of her idols with bulging eyes, why not? Instead of this we could teach her how to like herself as she is. This is why it is not surprising to see that when they become adult till their old days, 50% of Korean Women have plastic surgery at least once in their life.
Boys are flowers – Plastic surgery for men in Korea
Won Bin, Korean sex-symbol, actor… but first of all bishie (from Japanese “pretty boy” bishounen).
Don’t think that men are late on the plastic surgery question. Remember, we are talking about “Bishieland”, even bishies are confrontated to plastic surgery. In Europe coquetry for men is still taboo, but in Asia it is something normal for years. David Beckham didn’t create anything, ”metrosexual” is well born in Japan and South Korea but in this blog page we prefer to say “bishie”. We all know that the bishie likes to use ambiguity and totally assume his feminine side to use it as an advantage. Jean-Paul Gauthier French couturier released his first luxury makeup product range for men in Europe, when in Japan a famous store has dedicated a full floor to masculine cosmetics. In South Korea, men confess without any shame that they spend time in their bathroom trying many kind of different creams and masks for face. Same thing when they spend time in front of the mirror trying all they wardrobe, Koreans are handsome and we like to tell them.
This is the identikit picture of how Korean men would like to look like, according to Korean plastic surgeons.
In a country where 50% of women try to reach the perfect beauty, men can only follow this trend… For fashion and trends reasons, for perfection matter or the hope to catch the eyes of the female gender. And of course if a girl cannot handle her own imperfections, do you really think that she will accept her boyfriends ones ? No way ! They are looking for PER-FEC-TION ! With the South Korea’s president, who confessed that he had plastic surgery, plus 50% of the male population which is not satisfied by the way they look, once again, surgeons can be happy and be ready with their gloves on to welcome their male customers.
With so many failed plastic surgery cases, lipposuction messed up, or even injected Botox on a nerve, South Korea slowly realises that she has to make prevention, thing that the country had omitted to do from the beginning.
This is Han Aeri, former member of BabyVox Red, who has been taken to a hospital when her body made bad reaction to the numerous surgeries that she had (including breast surgery). After this, she spoke frankly about her trauma, with tears in the eyes, warning everyone to really think twice before trying anything.
Kim Sun Ah who ironically passed on her her surgeon’s table more than once, won a price in 2005 for her role in the korean drama “My Name Is Kim Sam Soon”. The originality of this drama? The heroine, about thirty, loser, untidy hair, no makeup, stoutness (the actress took 10kg for this role). The heroine catches a rich guy, stylish and younger than her by being like she is. A kind of Korean Bridget Jones, the series was a hit in Korea, people felt closer to the main character episode after episode. A strong message that helped people to think differently and learn to accept themselves as they are.
In the meantime there are a celebrities clans, like the last survivors of a extincted specie, who are identified as natural beauty. They swear to never use plastic surgery. For example, Bi rain never hidded the fact that it was more difficult for him because of his too small eyes, he couldn’t match the Korean beauty criteria. But thanks to his talent and his charisma he became the numner one Korean sex symbol, getting his power in his “authentic” appearance.
Cinderella, a horror movie released in 2006, was another way to touch the youths who are easily influenced. The heroine’s mother is a cosmetic surgeon who uses her art for macabre purpose.
Are these precautions comming too late ? it is important to notice that Korean plastic surgery popularity has crossed the borders, contaminating other Asian countries as Thailand, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia. These countries are so fond of Korean culture that they decided to promote the use of plastic surgery to look like Korean celebrities. It will need time and patience to change the mentalities, but it belongs to YOU, not to enter the game.
Yes, you who is reading since the beginning, we know that we can say anything we want, explain you that plastic surgery is bad, but if you can’t face your demons and accept that no one is perfect, nothing will change your mind.
So, think well before looking into the mirror or envy these bishies girls, make the best choice between a perfect beauty but made of plastic, or some imperfections that give you originality and authenticity…