- Date: 20-Jan-2015
- By: Natasha Renée Hayes
- Comments: 1
Korean Beauty Perspective
I like the balanced perspective concerning beauty in South Korea.
Balanced Perspective? Are You Serious?!?
I know that saying "I like the balanced perspective concerning beauty in South Korea" may seem like a ridiculous statement to some. South Korea is in fact known for an over-the-top concentration on beauty with multiple plastic surgery procedures and makeup techniques employed to achieve the perfect look. The balance I refer to isn't in their standard of beauty itself, but rather their realistic appreciation for what it takes to achieve the beauty they so value. Allow me to explain.
American Perspective of Beauty
In America so many men want women to be beautiful, but when they find out that it took a woman two hours to get ready, they think it’s ridiculous. They want a certain look and shape, but when they find out that someone went through surgery to achieve it, they look down on her. They want beauty, but they place more value on those who are simply born with it vs. those who work to achieve it. Someone going through pain and effort to achieve beauty is somehow looked down upon, while the people who did nothing to earn it are vaunted.
Korean Perspective of Beauty
In South Korea, men value that women spend time on their appearance. They don’t look down on it. Korean men are more realistic about valuing not only the beauty, but also what it takes to achieve it. They are complimented by the time that a woman puts in to looking good, and they also put time into their own appearance. Beauty isn't as one-sided in Korea as it is in so many Western countries. Korean men spend a great deal of time, money and energy into their own appearances, and not just for a hair cut and a nice outfit.
"[South] Korea is the world's largest men's skin care market...growing at more than 20% a year". Total Beauty via Euromonitor International, 2012
"Growth is being driven by such factors as...rapidly growing men's cosmetics sector." Barker via Korean Chamber of Commerce [KCCI], 2013
In the CNN article, "Welcome to the plastic surgery capital of the world", Violet Kim explores the world of beauty and plastic surgery in South Korea. During this time, she speaks with a couple of plastic surgeons, including Dr. Kwon Seung-taik. He shed some light on the Korean attitude toward beauty that I really appreciate.
"Koreans have a special attitude toward beauty. To Koreans, beauty is something that is attainable through hard work -- just like anything else...According to Kwon, Koreans have less respect for inherited beauty. They see beauty not as something to be envied, but something to be attained. "It's kind of like an ‘if you’re pretty, I can be pretty too!' attitude," he says." Violet Kim's CNN interview with South Korean Dr. Kwom Seung-taik, 2012
The Perspective I Appreciate
So, when I say that "I like the balanced perspective concerning beauty in South Korea", I'm not referring to whether one should have such standards of beauty (I will always view that as a personal decision for each individual). I am, however, referring to the fact that if one does have a high standard of beauty, they should have an equally high appreciation of what it takes to achieve that standard. I also appreciate the perspective given by Dr. Kwon,
"beauty is something that is attainable through hard work -- just like anything else...[it's] not something to be envied, but something to be attained."
One isn't born educated, successful, knowing how to play an instrument or even how to deal socially with people. If you find those things desirable, however, you can work hard to achieve them. Beauty can be the same thing, if it's important to you.
What About You?
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