Skin-Deep Beauty

I’ve noticed that Korean society puts way too much emphasis on skin-deep beauty. It’s what’s on the inside that matters. It’s better to have a good heart than a good skin, I believe.
Still, this doesn’t change the fact that Korea is the world capital of plastic surgery.

Unfortunately, this puts a lot of pressure on regular folks who take a look at all the stunning Kpop and Kdrama celebrities and start to feel insecure and inadequate about themselves.
Brown skin and black hair is considered ugly, apparently. Everyone needs to have rainbow hair and big anime eyes.
Let me tell you from personal experience that there’s nothing great about fair skin.

Of course, it’s not like celebrities have it easy, either. Most are puppets whose strings are pulled by big companies that mold them however they see fit.
With so much competition, getting under the knife becomes a necessity. Add the constant need to top charts and popularity polls, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.
Many get depressed and end up doing terrible things to themselves just to get away from it all, as it was the case with poor Jonghyun – may he rest in peace.

It’s universally understood the need to feel good about oneself and to live well, but with what price? You’ll discover that price to be the very life that you’re trying to improve.


K-Drama, Youtubers in Korea and the ocassional K-Variety show, have really put some things in perspective for me.
They focus on taking care of themselves from every angle. From the food they eat to stay healthy, to the skincare items they use to look good and, yes, even some procedures they may choose to undergo to be the best they can be.
For example, if someone had a severe case of acne and was left with significant scars on their face (that affect them mentally), I don’t see what’s the problem with visiting a plastic surgeon and getting some things done (lasers, etc.), if it makes them feel better about themselves.
Some people take it to the extreme though and that’s a whole different subject.

Every country has a “beauty standard”. This doesn’t mean however that everyone needs to try to look like it. And even if people do look like it, it doesn’t really mean anything.
I mean… look at Mr. Korea (or whatever his title was). He was voted as the best looking guy in Korea but he looked… uhm… well, borderline creepy.
And as far as actors and idols go, most of them aren’t famous because “WOW, s(he)'s hot.” but more like “Aw… S(he)'s cute/funny/nice”.

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Are you watching “My ID is Gangnam Beauty”?
It’s point is that this girl was bullied for being ugly and now is bullied for having done surgery. You can’t please them! Moreover, she’s still so scarred and insecure that she cannot embrace her new look and enjoy life, make friends etc.
I also agree on little fixes of things that need fixing. If I had these elf ears that some actresses have, I’d surely have gone to fix them. Or a nose like the Snow White witch.
But when you reach the point of breaking your jaw and re-aligning it, or becoming a cookie-cutter face, then it’s borderline creepy, as you say.
Moreover, it’s one thing to do it because you want to correct some flaws, and another thing when you know that you cannot even find a job because you don’t conform to that cookie-cutter beauty standard. That’s knife under pressure, and it’s serious.


I’m watching “My ID is Gangnam Beauty” and yes it’s never enough… first they tell people to do surgery because that would make them look pretty but when someone did it they get bullied because they get to pretty or something…

I do have a really light skin and blue eyes and I noticed that in Asia people like it a lot while I think they are pretty with their colored skin. Really I find it funny… here they sometimes say; “You need to be out in the sun more because that pale skin makes you look ill which isn’t pretty” while in many countries in Asia they are like: “What a pretty skin, so pale!”.

I’m not against plastic surgery but I’m also like you don’t cut into a healthy body unless it’s needed. But who am I to judge when something is needed or not?


I know the feeling. :sweat_smile: I came to my grandmother’s house to get a tan.

Oh, the most extreme form of this is in India. If you read marriage classified ads, they put “fair” even before beautiful, good character, education, money. Only caste goes before skin tone.
When I first went there, decades ago, I was told “You happen to be white AND pretty, but even if you were very plain, just with your skin colour you would get any match you wanted here”.


I was reading a public publication on Instagram and thought of your post, wanted to share:

(She lives in Seoul, credits to the author):



Oh, I totally forgot about this post. Has it been a year already? I still stand by everything I wrote, and I’m super glad that more and people are beginning to love and accept the perfectly imperfect image of themselves.


Time flies so fast! A wonder!
It’s reassuring to know that some things will never change. You keeping the same stance about it.

Thanks for the clip! Already listened to it twice!