Double eyelid surgery, nose jobs, liposuction, jaws shaved down; these are just some of the plastic surgery procedures Korean men and women are undergoing.
In the video below, one Korean pop group, D-Unit, interviewed said: “Our ideal appearance would be that of westerners… big round eyes, straight nose and a round face.”
South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita in the world, and according to Jezebel, one in five women in Seoul have undergone some kind of procedure. The most popular being eyelid surgery, “to make the eyes ‘more Western,'” along with jaw contouring or shaving.
One point of view in the KoreAm Journal suggests that the reason for the nation’s obsession is the rise of K-Pop (Korean Pop):
“However, even as countries around the world are reveling in the music of girl and boy bands like Girls’ Generation, 2NE1 and Big Bang, some Koreans internally are worried that K-pop may be encouraging the growth of another trend: teen plastic surgery,” Seunghwa Madeleine Han writes.
“Commonplace today on numerous K-pop fan websites are speculative stories about whether pop idols with picture-perfect facial features are natural or the work of a talented plastic surgeon.”
Sharon Lee, an associate professor at New York University who has researched the phenomenon says: “The reasons are tied to Korea’s rapid industrialization “Korean people largely see themselves as having made a lot of sacrifices to be where they are today. Where they are today and where they want to be is to acquire these symbols of wealth because that’s the narrative that’s been told to the nation,” she explained. “That atmosphere has led to a focus on looks and image.”
Whatever the reason for each individual resorting to plastic surgery, the below before and after plastic surgery images are equally mesmerising as they are depressing. You can see more images at site like BuzzFeed or Jezebel or the Korean Plastic Surgery Tumblr.
Vice Magazine’s reporter Charlet Duboc attended Seoul Fashion Week in October last year and spoke to several Korean women about the popularity of double eyelid surgery. Take a look, it’s fascinating: