After debating on writing on this topic, I’ve finally decided to do so. There have been recent articles about Korean beauty pageants and the beauty queens that look “shockingly” similar. The articles I have seen have been rudely conclusory about Korean ideals and what beauty means to a culture that most of these journalists have never had any experience with.
Their lack of understanding and ignorance for publishing these types of articles is simply rude and a burden on the Korean-American population in the United States, and I’m sure to all Korean communities elsewhere. While the supposed percentages of Korean women engaging in plastic surgery is a shockingly high number, the assumption that these procedures are conducted to appear “more Western” and look more “American” and “less Asian” are extremely rude and offensive to anyone of Asian descent.
While I don’t foresee myself undergoing plastic surgery any time in the near future, I see these journalists branding Koreans and other Asians with “White fever” or this desire to be more “American.” This over-generalization and assumption that these features are predominately Western and therefore more desirable is simply wrong. These are journalists who have never spent time in Asia learning the culture and understanding what is beautiful to someone that looks so different from themselves.
As a Korean American growing up in the United States, I have been mistaken for another Asian girl more times than I can recall (in fact today it happened at the mall)… mostly by “white” people. I asked once, and someone told me that because Asian girls are generally just above 5 feet tall, black haired, and thin that we all “appear” identical at first blush.
Do you have an Asian friend? How many times have you mistaken someone for that Asian friend? Do you get confused? If you were to walk into an ALL Asian club, would you be able to tell every single face apart?
Can you tell me then, that you know with absolute certainty that these Korean women are trying to all look the “same” or to look “White” because a composite picture of Korean beauty queens? Because you are simply not nuanced enough to discern the difference between a bunch of women?
So… because YOU can’t tell the difference between the women, you draw ridiculous conclusions about their idea of beauty.
Before I sign off here… women everywhere are the same. We just want to be beautiful and we want everyone to think that we are beautiful too. Even the most secure and beautiful of us want to feel beautiful. Don’t you? Don’t you want to feel beautiful?
Take all your clothes off. Go stand in front of a full length mirror and take a good long hard look at your entire body, your face, and your flaws. If money was no object and there was absolutely no recovery time, and no pain…. what would you change about yourself? Most of us would change something, but we don’t because we have either come to terms with the hand we’ve been dealt, or we’ve found someone that thinks that we are so beautiful that we are okay with our flaws, or we’re simply too scared to go under the knife, or some other reason that holds us back.
The only difference between the women who haven’t gotten plastic surgery and those who have? Is the surgery. Because at our core, we just want to be beautiful inside and out.
So, my conclusion? Before you judge and before you come to some ridiculous conclusions about what it means to be beautiful to an Asian woman, or any woman… remember that we all just want to be beautiful and sometimes that means taking actions that others may not agree with.