Korean Beauty And Their Obsession With Blepharoplasty
This article does not in any way classify all Koreans, but only those who have done plastic surgery. In no way do all Koreans change their features or even like the western look. In no way is this article meant to disrespect or stereotype people of Asian descent.
I fell in love with South Korea because I believe they have a wonderful history and I have a thing for Asian people. The few Asians I have actually met have been really good to me. I worked with a Malaysian and we shared such a strong bond. I love her so much and she feels the same about me.
I wanted to learn more about Korea after watching a few of their dramas so I started researching about their food and culture. However, after watching a few more of their very dramatic dramas, I began to question whether or not they were depicting their actual beliefs in these shows or were they acting to please the western populace.
After doing some extensive research I found a few things which really astonished me.
- Their standard of beauty is very vain and I will explain this deeper in this article
- Their idea of age is also very vain
- unlike people here in the west they are not ashamed or embarrassed about admitting to plastic surgery. As a matter of fact they encourage it.
What is blepharoplasty?
Originally, blepharoplasty was the surgery used to correct deformities and disfiguration of the outer skin of the eyes. However, in recent years it has been used as corrective surgery for people who wish for an aesthetically pleasing look.
This form of eye surgery is the most popular surgery done in Korea and it is encouraged at at early age. The surgery includes an incision on the upper lid of skin, removing excess skin or adjusting tissue and muscles to get the desired look.
Are you a Korean Beauty?
The standard of beauty in Korea is so specific that it's quite hard for their young people to meet. As we all know, Asians, especially Koreans, Chinese and Japanese all have facial features which are unlike whites, Indians or Blacks. Some people cannot tell the difference and sometimes refer too these nationals as "Chinese", which is understandable because their features are so similar.
- Their eyes are usually smaller and slanted with no fold and little or no lashes.
- Their faces are usually round and smaller
- Skin is usually pale yellow
- Nose is small and button like
- Lips might be fleshy and pink
The natural features mentioned above are not seen as beautiful in Korea and because of this kids are pressured into getting plastic surgery in order to meet the standard below:
- Big eyes
- Skin fold over eyes
- Long lashes
- Pointy nose aka "the white man's nose"
- Pale skin
- Being skinny
- Small face
Western Standard of Beauty?
The pale skin
It is true that some of these features of beauty are what we in the west have set the standard to be. However the pale skin beauty in Korea was their own cultural standard set centuries ago when aristocrats were seen as more beautiful because they spent less time in the sun.
Koreans are not the only people to view pale skin as beautiful though for entirely different reasons. Black people have been told how ugly they are and as a result have been bleaching the skin to become paler. In Jamaica the culture of bleaching has reached epidemic proportion. When asked why they bleach, young men and women will respond that it makes them pretty.
Koreans are encouraged to pale the skin in order to become more beautiful. It is quite difficult to find make-up for dark skinned people in Korea because of this standard.
In the west, tanning has become very popular during the last few decades and this has proved to us here in the western world, that pale skin is not necessarily what we see s beautiful. There are numerous dark skinned models who are very famous so there is no misconception about skin beauty here.
The standard of beauty set by models and beauty pageants have always been "skinny is more beautiful". This is a known fact in the western world though it is now changing. We are now seeing plus sized models hitting the runway but will we ever see a fat woman entering the Miss World Beauty Pageant?
Korean women will starve themselves and even ridicule another for eating too much in order to maintain that perfect stature. Though skinny by nature they aim to be even more skinny as they feel they will not get a boyfriend if they are fat or ugly. It seems that being skinny is a huge part of being beautiful in Korea.
It's all in the eyes?
Asians do not naturally have folded skin over the eyes like the rest of the world but for some reasons they think this is beautiful. I can't disagree but then again I was born with this fold.
At one point I thought how cool it would be to live in Korea but with the idea that I would be told how ugly I was for my dark skin I decided against it. I know how beautiful I am but living in a sea of people who have no qualms about telling other people how ugly they were was not something I want to subject myself to.
High school students are encouraged to have plastic surgery in order to meet these ridiculous standards in order to start dating. The eyes is where the surgery starts and then move on to other areas of the face. They get the fold on to the top and then add long lashes to boot.
This is the most popular surgery in Korea as they are obsessed with having the eyes look this way. Even women in their mid thirties and over forty are getting this surgery in order to look 'pretty'.
Old people not welcome
Though very respectful to their elders if you are single past the age of thirty you become an old spinster. Males are subjected to less ridicule because of age and can marry at any stage.
Women over thirty are known as old and though the age dating barrier is changing where younger men are told it's okay to date older women, they will still be subjected to ridicule. Parents will object and you the female may find yourself marrying a foreigner because you can't get a Korean date.
As a single 42 year old female it would be next to impossible for me to even think of falling in love in Korea let alone date or get married. The odds are stacked against you the older you get. Imagine a colored female age 42 trying to find love in a place where the standard of beauty is very pale skin, straight nose, skinny and under the age of thirty. Wouldn't it be the same as becoming a nun?
The "before" photo looks like Bruce Lee. He wasn't that bad looking to begin with.
I am Beautiful
In order for the Korean to say "I am beautiful" they must meet the standards set by their own society. Without the money for plastic surgery, if you weren't born with these features, you are doomed to remain single and being told everyday by peers, parents and and strangers you meet, how ugly you are.
I know I am beautiful by western standards. I have many features of what Koreans see as beautiful. I have large eyes, folded skin over the eyes, full lips, small face and being skinny is easy to achieve. But my skin tone, though pale in comparison to my fellow countrymen would stand to be deemed ugly on Korea. I am known to be one of the more beautiful women in my country yet I know I would be ugly in Korea.
What this means is that in order to meet the standards I would need to bleach and become paled skin. No way would I do that. But this isn't about me.
What about the millions of Korean boys and girls who believe they are ugly thus subjecting themselves to undergoing numerous plastic surgeries in order to become beautiful?
There doesn't seem to be any sign of this changing anytime soon as more and more young people are doing what they need to do to get a boyfriend or become actors.
Until they see themselves as beautiful in their own eyes there will be no change and the rest of the world will be seen as ugly.
The Business Insider: Here is an article which speaks about the practice of plastic surgery for Koreans.
Questions & Answers
© 2013 Carolee Samuda