Why is it shallow? If you mean by they care about their physical appearance more – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Our physical appearance is something that everyone always sees, and its the first thing people see about us. Whenever we buy a Macbook or an iPhone or gaze our eyes upon a stunning 4K OLED TV, or an Aston Martin, we are effectively being ‘shallow’ because we care about the appearance of other things in our life. So why not with people? We only have a limited amount of time on this Earth? Why not strive to improve our physical appearance as long as we have the youth and the time and capability to do so?
Koreans realize that there is value to be had in caring about appearance- actually all human beings subconsciously care about appearance (ask any guy who assigns ratings to girls on the scale of 1–10) – its just that Koreans realize this more than other people do. There’s value in looking good – people who look better are often treated better than ugly people – and this is true across different cultures.
Ask anyone – How would you treat a guy who is wearing baggy shorts and a tshirt and completely bearded compared to that same person clean shaven wearing a suit? How would you treat a girl who is wearing slacks, hoodie and no makeup compared to the same girl wearing full makeup, one piece dress and high heels?
If your answer is ‘exactly the same’ then you are lying.
In any case there’s value to be had in caring about your outer beauty – (inner beauty of course is also important but it can’t be changed as easily) – and Koreans realize this. Other cultures are shallow too but in other ways. Why do Chinese people put so much value into showing off name brand items and wealth? Isn’t that a form of shallow-ness as well? Except in this case I would say there’s less benefit to be had. I would not treat someone who drove a Mercedes or carried a Louis Vuitton bag any different than someone who drove a Hyundai Accent and carried a no name wallet. And most people wouldn’t across the world. Perhaps in China there’s some value to be had but its not a transferable value. Unlike physical appearance which has transferable value anywhere in the world because EVERY CULTURE cares about physical beauty to some degree.Koreans just care about it more. And there’s nothing wrong with that.