South Korea's cosmetic industry is disturbing
Korean makeup has grown extensively popular, making it one of the leading beauty markets in the world. Even American corporations such as Target, Sephora, Ulta Beauty and Nordstrom carry Korean products. When searching for Korean beauty products on Amazon, over 10,000 results appear.
According to CNN, the industry will make an “estimated worth of over $13.1 billion in sales in 2018.” The industry is well-known for creating trends in the cosmetics world and formulating “unique recipes.”
Although the Korean beauty industry is currently booming, the beauty standards in Korea have been detrimental for both men and women.
In western culture, the beauty standards are comparably different. Americans are taught to embrace their beauty, and that they are all unique. Between one-fifth and one-third of all women in Seoul have undergone some form of plastic surgery.
Some men have also had plastic surgery done to alter their jawline and then proceed to buy foundation and blush, to achieve this “pretty boy” look. According to The New Yorker, women and men go to doctors with pictures of celebrities to get a similar nose or jaw and are told to fill out a survey of why they want the surgery.
Questions include “if you get the result you want from plastic surgery, what’s the thing you want most to do?” with choices ranging from “get a lover” to “find a job.” It has become so normal for women and men to get surgery that even the public transportation has ads that urge people to get surgery.
Moreover, girls in K-pop bands have been documented to take the most extreme ways to lose weight. For example, one female celebrity went through a “one-food diet,” which meant that she only ate cucumbers for three weeks.
Fittingly, eating disorders are also on the rise. According to a study done by the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, there is no direct correlation between weight and depressive symptoms.
However, the study does show that women are vulnerable to a relationship of “higher body weight and more depressive symptoms.” The Korea Peace Movement by the Asia Institute has spoken out against the beauty industry for treating women as sex objects and marks their standards as “violence against women.”
Is it normal for teenagers to get cosmetic surgery? Apparently, in South Korea it is.