Beauty ideals are affected and set by celebrities through mass media. The academic journal Cosmetic Surgery and Embodying the Moral Self in South Korean Popular Makeover Culture by Hwang and the scholarly web source A Visual Study of Plastic Surgery Advertising in South Korea by Ting both confirmed the idea of how celebrities and TV shows radiate the importance of beauty.
Korean celebrities are seen everywhere flaunting their beautiful selves. In addition, it is completely normal for these celebrities to admit to plastic surgery, which revealed shows how there is less stigma around unnatural beauty compared to Western countries. There are also TV shows that help working class citizens undergo cosmetic surgery and the transformations are usually very shocking. Such The show emphasizes their weaknesses before surgery and their strengths after surgery in hopes of encouraging South Koreans to undergo the process as well even if they don’t need it. Advertisements around subway stations are another form of encouraging South Koreans.
There is a particularly interesting orange advertisement (Appendix 1) where there are two versions of the same girl. On the left, the girl is smiling, has her hair down, has crowded teeth, and very pronounced cheekbones. There are devil horns drawn on her head by the maker of the ad. On the right, this same girl has her hair tied back, straight teeth, and there is a crown drawn on her head. Between these two pictures there are korean words “first impressions, and 3 seconds to make me.”. I thought it was interesting because people are associated with the devil if they look ugly whereas they are a princess when they’re not. The ad seems to target working women who want to make a good first impression in job interviews and dates.
The fact that it doesn’t take a long time to get the procedure concerns me due to the lack of quality which can lead to health risks. Another interesting advertisement is more simplistic (Appendix 2), with a bright pink background and two simplistic wedding rings draw on each side. On the left side, the diamond on the ring is small and the diamond with the words “Before” written below. The ring on the right has a much bigger diamond and has “After” written on the bottom. There is a white strip ad the bottom where information on Grand Plastic Surgery is being shown. This seems to target women who are looking for a partner and confirms the importance of marriage and having a family life.
The ad is giving the impression that the better someone looks, the richer their husband. The advertisement, celebrity and tv influence have built a norm surrounding plastic surgery and they all seem to be telling the audience that they are not good enough, that they need to improve. Body image: a handbook of science, practice, and prevention by Cash explains that criticism concerning body image, direct or indirect, can lead to a patient having a worsened quality of life, body image dissatisfaction, eating disorders and even suicidal thoughts. However, performing undergoing plastic surgery is solution for most women to meet their own standards and give gives satisfaction not only to her, but her family as well. It feels empowering to feel accepted by others and achieve one’s own goals.