It’s a good question. I think – and this is my theory – the more diverse a country is, the more lax the beauty standards are. Why? Because when you have a diverse population, you cannot really enforce any beauty standards as everyone is so different.
Like in the USA, there’s so many different races and types of people. How can you have any effective beauty standard? Or China, which has something like 50+ different ethnicities living there. You can’t even push the same beauty standards that Northern Chinese have onto Southern Chinese, they are very different people. India? Yeah same thing, you can’t push one beauty standard onto 1.3+ billion people.
Korea is unique in that it is one of the only countries in the world, and might be the only developed country in the world – that consists of 99% one race. It’s utterly homogenous. Not only that but they have a collectivist culture where people stick together. This is basically the easiest environment in which a strict beauty standard could emerge.
-Small area and population? check
-Society is Confucist, conformist and collectivist? check
-99% one race? check
I mean, you might notice that even North Korean girls (the ones in the rich areas of Pyongyang at least) are better styled than the typical Chinese girl. A dictatorship where the people live like they are in the 1950s still have a higher beauty standard than China. Why is that? because of everything I said about Korea. Both North and South Korea are countries that are not diverse, are very uniform in thinking, with a small area and population.
This is Yeonmi Park, she is a North Korean girl who escaped North Korea and now lives in the US. Let’s face it – if you didn’t know she was North Korean, you would have thought she was a South Korean girl. You would not have thought someone so beautiful, was once struggling for food and survival in a destitute country, but its true. Something about Koreans (North and South) they innately care about their appearance more.
Edit: Japan as some people noted, is also very homogenous. They do have more population and somewhat more influence from indigenous people tho – that said Japan does have higher beauty standards than most other countries as well, probably second to Korea.
That’s my theory on why most countries in the world tend to have a very lax beauty standard, and Korea uniquely seems to have a high beauty standard.
Strangely enough, What do non-Koreans dislike about Korean culture and Korean people? non-Koreans seem to hate on Koreans for having a high beauty standard, which I don’t understand. We don’t hate on countries for having a high education or athletic standard, why is beauty different? Is being more beautiful seen as a negative thing?