When it comes to Korean society, it seems as if there are a lot of rules and expectations, specifically when it comes to beauty. From diets, skin lightening, and plastic surgery, it seems as if anything but the “Korean Standard” is often looked down on.
Yet, this desire to look a certain way and going to extreme lengths to achieve this goes further than just the K-Pop industry. If the struggles of being a teenager and balancing school, friends, and puberty weren’t enough, many now worry about their looks and how their peers perceive them.
In a recent video for AYO, two high school students who were open about having plastic surgery shared some of the stories about the procedures and experiences.
Aside from speaking about why they did certain procedures, the two girls spoke the response from her peers. Although many people have the surgery, it is still a taboo subject in Korea, and it is often shown in K-Dramas as something not to be spoken about.
The two girls shared that they were extremely honest about their procedures and wouldn’t lie if anyone asked because she didn’t want to hide it. Even on body parts where they didn’t get surgery, Kim Hee Jae explained that some people had harsh words for her.
They would stare at me, laughing, and go, ‘You got plastic surgery, yeah?’ The most hurtful comment was, ‘You would be the bottom 10% ordinary girl if it wasn’t for surgery.’
— Kim Hee Jae
However, while many have negative comments about plastic, Lee Soo Yeon explained that it is something that is very common amongst young people. Yet, the surprising thing was that she added that her mother encouraged her to get the surgery.
Although it might seem shocking for many in the West, the two girls then went on to explain the impact it had on their personal confidence.
It would be a lie to say I didn’t get confidence after the surgery. Before the surgery, if friends complimented me, I thought they were lying. Since the surgery, I go, ‘Ah really?’
— Lee Soo Yeon
Lee Soo Yeon then added that she also believed that, alongside her confidence, the way people treated her changed, and Kim Hee Jae also agreed with her.
After a video on TikTok showcasing the unrealistic beauty standards in Korea went viral, it doesn’t seem surprising that even students have certain outlooks on what is and isn’t beautiful. It is extremely worrying that even young people are taking these expectations to heart and others’ responses to these actions are so mixed.
You can watch the whole video below.