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Plastic surgery in South Korea

A few weeks ago I saw Login, an in depth news program on the channel Canvas. They featured plastic surgery in South Korea. It has become so normal there that you can have your eyelids fix in your lunch break. People often wear bandages on the street or face mask to hide the temporary scars. In Login, they showed how a perfectly fine girl had her eyes done, and reconstructed her face by braking her jaw and remodel it. And for another girl, her mother, instead of supporting her daughters natural beauty, insisted on surgery, as if it was just as normal as doing the laundry.

The Evolution of Actress Kim Ah Joong, plastic surgery in korea
The Evolution of Actress Kim Ah Joong

Kpop stars are there reference. They want those big eyes, double eyelid, slim legs, and the cuteness. On the Korean TV there are huge make over shows, like "Let Me In". Participants sign up because they can't afford surgery themselves. The participants live together in a house and are followed around for several months and can't contact their family. It's big news for Koreans and at the end of the show when the participant is completely fixed up.

The excruciating pain that comes with the surgery is "worth it" to the women and men who do it.
They say, if you don't look good, you don't get a job! Surgeons on the other hand, put no effort at all into talking a perfectly fine girl out of it. In France the surgeon will have a consult with you, talk about it, the surgeon may say no. If they say yes to surgery, you have to wait 4 weeks, and then, only then, if you still want it, the surgery proceeds. In Korea it doesn't happen like that. The surgeon will happily go on, if you came for your eyes, why not your nose, your jaw and why not your whole face?

"The number of doctors trained as plastic surgeons has almost doubled in the past decade to 1,500. But 4,000 clinics provide cosmetic surgery, most of them in Seoul’s beauty belt, because the law allows other doctors to switch to this lucrative field. As competition heats up, some clinics host “Cinderella events,” where patients are given free surgery and appear in their ads." Source

In the end, they all want to have the same face. Small, big eyes, fine jaw and so on.
A news article said that one man wanted a divorce because their kid was ugly. He sued his wife, because she should have told him that she had plastic surgery done!

"In a 2009 survey by the market research firm Trend Monitor, one of every five women in Seoul between the ages of 19 and 49 said they had undergone plastic surgery." Source
One of every five women!!! Can you believe that?

And the calf reduction surgery, you can't walk for months, you have to crawl forward in intense pain because they removed muscles and nerves, only to get those "sexy calves"?

What concerns me is this; you can have the surgery in a blink of an eye, the surgeons won't say no (it's about money after all), you need to look "pretty" or "westernised" to get a job, a husband. Plastic surgery gets completely normal, parents give their kids surgery instead as a graduation gift.

I think there should be rules, just as in France and the U.S.A., have several consults, do a mental check up too, does she/he really want it after a few months etc. And stop having "unreal" people as their example!

What's your view on this?

Disclaimer: I am not bashing or insulting anyone, nor the Kpop artist themselves (I too, like some of the music). But, I do point my finger at the industry and doctors behind it!  Please, discuss your opinion with me, but keep it civil!


  1. Because we are living in a world
    where money turns around :D

    sad sad...

    Dit is natuurlijk niks nieuws voor
    mij maar goed. Ik vind die poster
    van laatste plaatje wel funny

    Breaking your jaw and remold it..
    oh god that sounds a painful


  2. I know it's nothing new,
    but I still found the numbers mentioned in the show shoking!

    Die laatste poster is inderdaad wel funny!

    Ik moet er niet aan denken aan zo'n kaak reconstructie! D:

    Als ik het mag vragen; Heb jij of familieleden ooit die druk gevoeld voor grotere ogen te hebben?

  3. gosh this is such a hard topic i think because i am not even sure how i feel about it. btw, this page might be really interesting to you: super insane. i guess think that with some minor things it is okay. for instance i saw this one girl who really was completely flat chested. there was nothing there. she got implants but they were so slight, like maybe AA or a very modest A, so it just helped her look feminine but wasn't crazy - in that way it still really looked like her. this girl on doctor 90210 got a nose job which made her look a bit better and fixed her breathing problems but she still looked like herself. i guess i just sort of hate it when women get EVERYTHING done like in korea and are not even recognizable and become so much more pretty. it raise the standard of beauty for all other women out there, and even naturally born pretty people are more unattractive in comparison to the plastic people - at least in terms of korea because a lot of those nose jobs are just not genetically possible. i struggle to decide if it is a lie - and it sounds harsh but i think you shouldn't be able to pay for beauty. it just hurts a lot of women in the end. dawn yang is also another asian known for the amount of work she has done. we all wish we could change things on our face, but it is creating even more unfair beauty standards because they are only achieved through surgery - still no one gets to choose if they are born with a face the world deems beautiful or ugly, so is it so wrong to fix things? to build confidence? yet it becomes an issue of money too - the rich can always afford to be beautiful. i am really torn over this subject ...

  4. I am so happy you confronted this sensitive topic, which is starting to make more and more headlines internationally. I think it's important to realize there is no right or wrong; I think it will just make us look like bigots if we critique their culture without some empathy. However, I do think it's creepy if everyone looks the same, even if they are all beautiful.x

    d a n i e l l e |

  5. wow.. thaht's pretty creepy and sad. Especially if the parents want the daughter to change her look. I knew that there are many corrective operations nowaydays but I didn't think that it concerns such young people!

    Thank you for sharing this topic! It's quite interesting and I haven't read so much about it yet.
    I hope people (especially the young ones) will change their view on beauty and believe in themselves!

  6. I checked out the tumblr you gave me, I found it quite disturbing. a) because I saw a lot of just fine and also pretty women/men who did surgery... I don't understand why?
    b) The person behind it seems to promote plastic surgery.

    I can understand minor surgery, and if someone really wants their nose done to feel more confident, I will not stop them. But the line between normal and going overboard on surgery is very small.
    I think I agree with you, it's a difficult subject!

  7. I hope that people eventually will realise that fake is nothing in the end. Being yourself and healthy (not too fat or not too thin) is always the best in the end!

    If we are to change this development, were are we to start? The surgeons? New rules? I don't know, if it goes underground it get's even worse!

  8. It's a difficult topic, I wish for everyone to be happy with theirselves, and in some cases I can really understand why someone had it done. But most of the time, I see nothing wrong with them and they look more than fine to me, and that concerns me! :x

  9. I think this topic is quite complicated. While I respect anyone who may want a surgery to feel better, i don't think encouraging young people to have one so easily is good. I think that our differences makes us beautiful, instead of all looking the same. When I was younger I was really ashamed of my nose because i considered it too big and I wanted to have a nose job. Even though nowadays i still consider it too big i'm not unhappy with it. I think it gives me personality and If i think like that is thanks to my parents and my boyfriend.

    So as long as it is a meditated subject it is ok, but I don't think that changing your whole face/body may be the solution.

    and about you question, I use a canon mark II but if you are considering to buy a camera a 500D will give you amazing results

  10. That's crazy. I've heard of all the kpop stars who go through plastic surgery and it's just shocking.There's such an ephasis on being "perfect"

  11. Haha, mijn familie is gelukkig niet
    zo ijdel ingesteld. We hebben

    beetje 'schijthouding' haha. Ik ben

    mischien gezegend met een vouw in
    mijn ooglid (klinkt ook raar) maar dan nog.

    Mijn oma prijst al haar ieder individuele
    kleinkinderen als prachtheden c:

    Ik ga waarschijnlijk eerst een nieuwe lens
    aanschaffen voor mn huidige camera ;P
    dan pas ga ik een nieuwe SLR kopen!


  12. Gelukkig! :D Je oma heeft de juiste instelling :3

    Die 12-50 kitlens heeft een goede beoordeling, en een goede macro stand. Neem je die? :3

  13. Gosh... I was wondering why all those kpop star and korean, and asians could have THOSE pretty noses... So that's why. Honestly, I wanted to get a job nose, but just by reading Barbara's comment, I feel better... And thanks to this interesting topic, now I know that they often are "unreal" people

  14. But I'm not so suprised and feel really sad for them... Because in their country, people are more interested in "appearence". You have to be a nice and good looking girl/boy. This is how their world goes on... nevertheless, that's really sad that they've to suffer like this to be accepted by the elite

  15. I know it's been a while since we've spoken and I've been back for a few months! I have lots of catching up to do! I have a lot to say about this, but ultimately, I don't think should do it (a) if it's not completely their decision that they've completely thought out and (b) if they don't already love themselves and have self confidence and/or (c) if they think it will make them happy/happier. If it's their decision and they've thought it through, if they love themselves and are already confident, and if they are already happy and know how to make themselves happy, then maybe it's a good decision FOR THEM. I don't know that anybody else can decide for someone else if plastic surgery is a good decision for them.

    This is a really good topic and I do have a post that I wanted to write about it!

    I saw all your travel posts! Wow! How dreamy! -Jess L

  16. Hi Jessica, I hope you're well!

    It is a complicated issue, but it's their body, so they should decide! But I do think they should consider it more, instead of "let's get a new nose during my lunch break".

    I have new travel posts here about belgium: Belgium 2015