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in brief: south korea has most plastic surgery procedures in the world


Much has been said about recent findings that South Korea now has the world’s highest rate of plastic surgery procedures per capita in the world.Attracting attention on the internet are eye and nose cosmetic surgeries, implants as well as bone shaving jaw lines.

Double eye-lid surgery – in particular – is one which stands out in talks about South Korea’s obsession with plastic surgery. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s the crease found above the eye in caucasian and other ethnic backgrounds. If you’re not from north Asian countries then you’ve probably never even noticed. Young South Koreans have been documented undergoing the procedure to create the appearance of a double eyelid.

If you’re still not sure, a simple google search of ‘double eyelid’ brings up pages of YouTube videos, tumblrs and other show countless DIY projects and ‘tips’ to create your own.

What differs between the discussion around the procedure, is the reasons driving these numbers and statistics.

On Tuesday’s dateline, Anderson draws a link between the runaway success of ‘K-Pop’ – Korean pop music – and the growing trend of plastic surgery among young Korean men and women.

Catchy music, good looking boys and girls, choreographed dance moves – the formula is much the same in Western cultures. However, it’s put forward that the desire to emulate idols have lead the plastic surgery trend. According to Jeannette Francis’ report on dateline:

‘K-Pop is an international phenomenon. The pop stars are known for their catchy tunes, synchronised dance moves, trend setting fashion and flawless faces; those big eyes, high noses and slim jawlines –  features not inherently Korean. They’re also known for the amount of plastic surgery they get. With reference to one particular girl group, I was told their faces changed each time they released a new song.

There are exceptions, but it’s a generally accepted principle that to succeed in the pop industry, you must be beautiful, in other words you must have those aforementioned features that define beauty. And if you – like most Koreans – are not born with these you can – and should – change them and many pop stars do.’

Another view put forward is western obsession. It’s said that Western influence on Asian culture is another factor pushing the trend. The Guardian’s own headline on the matter puts it quite bluntly: ‘South Korean girls’ obsession with double eyelid surgery as they strive to look like ‘pretty western celebrities‘.

But is it just a desire to be more Western? Is it a form of Western Colonialism to assume that all Asians are obsessed with becoming more ‘white’? Is it hypocritical to condemn procedures like double eyelid surgery, jawbone shaving, where practices like botox injections and breast implants are also available in Western culture?

What do you think Lipsters?

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One thought on “in brief: south korea has most plastic surgery procedures in the world

  1. This is really interesting, but I don’t think the two points raised in this article are actually separate. Isn’t it quite possible that ‘ordinary’ people want to look like k-pop stars, and k-pop stars want to look like western celebrities? Just a thought.

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