Lookism Phenomenon and Plastic Surgery in South Korea
Lookism can be defined as construction of a standard for beauty and attractiveness, and judgments made about people on the basis of how well or poorly they meet them. The lookism phenomenon happening in South Korea is giving many impacts in every citizen’s life. They hype on things that can improve their physical appearance. Starting from the light and simple ones such as skin care routines, up to the dangerous things such as getting cosmetic surgery. They can even end up being kind of obsessed in doing the simple routines that they did it in a not so simple way, for example the 10-step skin care routines. Some of them even applied the 10 steps each time they prepare to head outside and before going to bed.
According to our interview with the locals, lookism and plastic surgery is common to their country, they really don’t mind the people who undergo to this process. This has become normal or accepted to the community with that, South Korea makes the highest per capita rate of cosmetic surgery in the world, based on a recent study done by Elise Hu. Gallup Korea found out that one in every three South Korean women from 19 to 29 years old said that they’ve gone under the knife. Plastic surgery tourism is also a lucrative market especially to Asian countries.
From the survey conducted by the National Tax Service, there were a total of 1414 plastic surgery clinics registered in South Korea in September in 2017. This number does not include the number of major hospitals, dermatology clinics, and dentist clinics in Korea that offer various other forms of cosmetic surgery. 470 of these independent clinics are based in Gangnam-gu, where the famed Apgujeong plastic surgery district offers a dizzying array of clinics. Plastic surgeons say that there is a rise in the number of patients whenever recruitment season rolls around. Though appearance discrimination is commonly found in other countries and sectors as well, the status quo is that South Korean women take more drastic measures more often.
Plastic surgery can be considered as one of the ways for Korean to improve their condition, whether it is medical condition or physical appearance which later leads to improvements on other sector in their lives. There are many positive things that can be gained from South Korea’s lookism and plastic surgery phenomenon, as stated earlier. The craze has brought interest from foreigners which later gave an impact to their country’s economy.
Despite the positive impacts, there are also lots of negative ones. Like the issue in Gangnam, the area is now so saturated because of the massively growing market that there is a growing problem of illegal brokers who bring foreign patients to clinics that are not licensed to operate on foreigners. Parts of South Korean society are recognizing the prevalence of plastic surgery to be a problem. Seoul Metro has decided to phase out plastic surgery advertisements from their subway stations by 2020.
In general, Korean citizens especially the women is always following the trend regarding physical appearance. Nowadays they’ve experienced in combining Western and Asian beauty standards. People from different parts of the world have their own preference of beauty and it doesn’t matter if you’ve undergone surgery or not. As long as the person is confidently beautiful with a heart.
Team 15 FIRETEEN Asia Student Summit 2018 Batch 2
- AAUSHI TARIYAL
- MARY ANGELIQUE J. TABASA
- SASHA RANGANATH
- SHAIRA LORRAINE ROBIÑOL
- TERESA CHRISTINE JOHAN
- AVISA CETTA CRESMA INDONESIA
- SHOFIAH AGHNANI ALFI LAILA PUTRI FASADAQ
- KEITH RUSSEL E. SORIANO
- DIO FATURRAHMAN
- KUMAR PANDEY NEPAL
- KYLA CHABELITA A. GANGAN