Super competitive culture especially on appearance. Unlike China and America, Korea doesn’t have multiple standards of beauty. They have ONE standard. Why is that? Because they are a single race country with a limited gene pool that also happens to be really small, that’s why. Now combine that with a super stressful culture where everyone is trying to be the best, and that’s why plastic surgery is so popular. It’s often used to get a leg up on other people, especially with regards to dating or getting a job.
But I especially dislike it when people talk down on Korean women because they got plastic surgery. First off, as I said it’s not really their fault, but rather due to their high competition society that many women feel insecure and end up getting surgery.
Secondly if they want to enhance their appearance why criticize them for that? I don’t criticize girls for wearing makeup, waxing, doing their eyebrows or painting their nails even though those are all artificial ways of enhancing their appearance, so why would I criticize them for plastic surgery? It’s no different.
Thirdly, the plastic surgery stereotype is often exaggerated. The statistics show about 5% of Koreans have done them. The reason why it *seems* like every Korean has done it is because of its prevalence in famous models/singers/actresses and the advertising for it which is everywhere, and might I add a bit of confusion between makeup and surgery. A lot of people think some girls did surgery when really its just makeup skills.
Fourthly, the touristy spots like Gangnam, Jamsil, Sinsa, Itaewon and Hongdae are full of plastic girls. Outside of these areas, its not that common, but since tourists don’t go to say.. Gwangju or Gyeonggi-do, they get the impression that all korean girls are like the ones in Gangnam, but that’s not true.
Fifthly, the definition of ‘plastic surgery’ in Korea is very broad and includes lasik surgery and laser hair removal. By this definition, I have done ‘plastic’ surgery as well. The majority of the remainder is simply double eyelid surgery. True ‘invasive’ surgery like what you see in the before/after advertisements is very rare, yet people just assume that’s what most Korean girls do which is not true. In fact studies (and personal experience from talking with plastic surgeons in Korea) show there is more foreigners who get invasive plastic surgery (usually from China) than domestic Koreans.
Sixthly, We have no right to judge them as foreigners for caring about their appearance or being ‘shallow’ no more than they have the right to judge us for dressing too casually, not wearing makeup everyday, caring about designer brands too much, being vegetarian etc. It’s part of their culture. Korean culture is different from other cultures. We should respect it.
My 2 cents from having a lot of Korean female friends.