The Never-Ending Plastic Surgery Debacle

Everybody is already familiar with all the rhetoric and arguments that take place when the words “South Korea” and “plastic surgery” are spoken in the same breath. I can’t come to a conclusion on the whole “Is plastic surgery real beauty” argument, because:

1) Outward beauty is a complicated set of ideals with values that fluctuate over time
2) Outward beauty is irrelevant in determining “real beauty”
3) I don’t know nearly enough about South Korea (or human psychology) to understand why people do what they do

When a photoset of 2013 Miss Korea candidates surfaced on the internet, South Koreans were alarmed at how the Miss Korea contest had evolved into a facial homogeneity contest. Comments ranged from extremely mean ones from people who called these women “ugly,” but more cerebral commenters questioned the values of a country that placed such a high importance on outward appearance.

At the cynical core of it, beauty pageants are (regrettably) designed to gauge physical attractiveness, but how do you determine who is the most beautiful when all the candidates kinda look like biological sisters?

misskor2013(GIF Source)

Clearly plastic surgery is not the only one to blame here, because it’s pretty obvious that the controversial candidate photos are also a result of makeup and pretty heavy photoshopping — you can see the difference in the before-after photos that have been making rounds online. What we really have to ask ourselves is why these women feel the need to go under the knife.

I personally have a pretty laissez-faire attitude about plastic surgery and have zero issues with people who choose to do it, but I do wish there was a way to concretely find out the reasons behind someone going under an invasive cosmetic procedure. Why do women feel like they are beautiful enough? Who are they really doing the surgery for — themselves or others?

misskorea (Image source)

Plus, is it really possible to draw a line in the sand to determine what is a confidence-boosting facial modification or cry for help? If we as a society are so accepting of self-improvement, then why do we applaud some efforts at physical alterations and demonize others?

 Next: South Korean Beauty Pageants of Yesteryear >>