Essay About Korean Women

Over the years, a number of elements that the majority idolizes as the ideal standards of beauty have had an impact on Korean women’s look.

Many Korean women have adopted this consumption culture as the surest way to succeed in business and the workforce as a result of the pressure these norms have placed on them (Chul-joong ). Few of them are able to accept and cherish their distinctive features. They contend that the emphasis on physical beauty that dominates modern Korean culture has a substantial impact on both romantic relationships and the workplace. Despite the associated negative effects of altering their appearance, the Korean women still find it appealing to engage in cosmetic surgery because they are dissatisfied with their looks.

The standardized beauty in Korea

Social and technological factors have influenced the increased cosmetic surgeries among the Korean women. Beauty standards have been greatly influenced by contemporary Korean popular music (K-pop) which has developed to become one of the largest industries. K-pop has played a leading role in influencing the established national identity of Korea amidst the face of rapid development of a liberal democracy and industrialization following Civil War and Japanese colonization. Since K-pop is associated with female celebrities who possess stunning beautiful appearance it is apparent they have established a new identity that is now embodied by women in Korean society. Most of the K-pop celebrities are exclusively influential personalities since they have profound media presence as well as play an active role in other public domains. For instance, famous K-pop groups usually make constant TV appearances on different shows and are major actors and actresses in dramas. Besides, their photos feature on product advertisements as life-size cutouts placed in retail stores.

It is presumed that more than fifty percent of advertisements and commercials in Korea feature most K-pop celebrities unlike the trend in North America where celebrities feature only in about ten percent of advertisements.

Thus, the predominant female K-pop idols in media have established the nation’s standards of beauty for women. Social media and magazines have developed an inherent tendency to feature them in a bid to commercialize the cosmetic industry (Davies, and Gil-Soo). Their objective is evident by the fact that all the female K-pop celebrities have adopted similar physical traits, particularly their facial traits. These physical qualities include slim bodies, narrow faces, fair skin, slender noses and relatively large eyes.

It is apparent from this examination that women in this nation have lost the power to remain contented with their unique qualities largely because they are influenced by female K-pop images saturating mass media and the need to gain a competitive edge in the labor market.

They have been accepted as the ideal decision makers as far as beauty and appearance are concern. To attain these standards the women have had to engage in plastic surgery that requires huge financial cost hence this has become an expensive endeavor that does not only drain their finances, but it also cause some level of stress to conform to this societal norm. The widespread representation of K-pop stars and acceptance of plastic surgery have led to the establishment of social norms with which the ideal appearance of women are based. Repeated featuring of K-pop stars in the media facilitates the reinforcement of pre-existing stereotypes about beauty in the minds of women from childhood.

Instead of embracing their natural qualities women become preoccupied with their appearance.

Most of them respond to the urge to conform to manipulated images in Photoshop and the mainstream pressure to obtain favor in the job market. The existence of set beauty standards serves as merciless reminders that downgrade the natural beauty of the Korean women (Aquino and Norbert). It has become a pervasive surveillance that reveals facial as well as body shortcoming which drives women to engage in uncontrolled and unwanted changes in their appearance. Therefore, the Korean societal ideals of beauty have played a major role in influencing the appearance of women through the cosmetic surgery, clothing, make-up or hairstyle.

The social atmosphere of standardized beauty in Korea has resulted in more problems than benefits.

Through plastic surgery, most women end up looking identical. They embrace idealized female celebrities who have adopted more or less similar beauty standards (Aquino and Norbert). Since most of these female celebrities prefer to ape western ideals, their influence has forced the Korean Women to change their appearance to conform to western facial and body image. Essentially, this has established a tendency for Korean women to discourage their unique cultural and historical body image that is recognized the world over. Thus, this trend has instilled idealized images of beauty in the minds of young women which has resulted in the loss of respect for diversity.

Besides, a lot of hidden dangers are associated with the change of appearance through cosmetic surgery.

These surgeries involve liposuction and trimming of unwanted fats to attain specified perfection. Since it involves surgical procedures, many surgeons and psychologists warn that there are many potential risks of these procedures. Researchers in this field point out that cosmetic surgeries subject women to unintended cultural, physical, and emotional negative effects. Leading among these effects is the resultant unexpected beauty botches (Ja). As an individual tampers with their body balance through surgical procedures, they risk creating new problem areas. For instance, it has been established that women who have undergone suction to trim unwanted fats in their lower abdomen and thighs ultimately harm those body cells. Once they regain their weight, the fats will be unevenly distributed.

Apart from negative medical effects, the process of changing one image has given rise to other severe threats such as emotional and mental cost.

As indicated by women who have undergone cosmetic surgeries, it is evident that the process is associated with untold stress, lack of recuperation and sleep which is accompanied by fatigue, swelling, and pain (Aquino and Norbert). These side effects make most women experience some degree of depression. According to Joseph Hullett, a renowned psychiatrist, as individuals heal they begin to experience depression even when the results become visible they still experience some measure of disappointment.

Possible Solutions

As illustrated in this analysis the beauty standards that have influenced the appearance of women in Korea are detrimental in the long run. This trend calls for concerted measures to address these prevalent socially imposed constraints negatively affecting the appearance of Korean women. It is clear that the problem lies in the Korean society where different social, cultural, economic, and technological factors have been accepted as the standard parameters that must be attained for any individual to enjoy given a set of privileges.

There is a need for the Korean government to streamline the rapidly modernizing job market where job seekers are expected to possess certain appearances to gain a competitive edge in the labor market.

This growing demand is the major driving force among the majority of women who want to appear modern and good looking. The established requirement for job seekers to attach their photos on their resumes has fueled employment cosmetic even to a higher level. Young women in search of employment have had no other choice but to embrace employment cosmetics to improve their chance of being hired. Through the support of the government, these requirements should be abolished. Instead, the qualification for employment should be based on the academic performance of an individual. Employers must steer themselves away from adopting appearance as the ultimate basis for employment, as such, they should make as part of their policies that applicants should not attach headshot on their resumes. By embracing these changes the growing demand for cosmetic surgery will reduce and ultimately it will encourage most women to value their natural appearance.

The government through its educational institutions should enforce curricula that familiarize the students with the importance of respecting diverse ethnicities.

Much emphasis should be placed on discouraging the influence of media, especially celebrated female K-pop artists who are repeatedly advertised on TV and magazines. The students must be encouraged to appreciate their unique natural qualities. They should be informed of the potential dangers of imitating the appearance of other cultural and ethnic backgrounds. They should be warned that though they might undergo cosmetic surgery, the result does not resolve their frustration about their identity. They should be sensitized that contentment and respecting the diverse nature of human appearance is the only way to attain true peace and enjoy their true selves.

Also, efforts should be put in place to educate the general public about the prevailing social constraints accompanying cosmetic surgery.

Through programs on the media, the Korean women should be familiarized with the need to maintain their ethnic diversity and make attempts to desist from embracing the advertised females’ images perpetuated by celebrities and other prominent female personalities.

Besides these measures, the Korean government must also play a leading role in ensuring the prevalent culture of the cosmetic industry within the country is regulated adequately.

Many practicing cosmetic surgeons have relatively lowered their operational cost which, in the process, has resulted in an increase in the number of cosmetic surgeries. It will be a prudent move by the government to impose more tax charges on plastic surgery as a way of regulating these operations. Increased tax will result in an increase in the cost of surgery hence it will discourage Korean women from engaging in this practice.

Work Cited

Aquino, Yves S. J, and Norbert Steinkamp. “Borrowed Beauty? Understanding Identity in Asian

Facial Cosmetic Surgery.” Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy : a European Journal. 19.3 (2016): 431-441. Print.

Chul-joong Kim, “Beauty Industry Could Create Next Korean Wave.” October 15, 2009

Davies, Gloria, and Gil-Soo Han. “Korean Cosmetic Surgery and Digital Publicity: Beauty by

Korean Design.” Media International Australia. 141.1 (2011): 146-156. Print

Ja, Woo K. “The Beauty Complex and the Cosmetic Surgery Industry.” Korea Journal. 44.2

(2004): 52. Print.

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