You must realize that white skin is the ultimate of beauty in Korea. They don’t like tans at all. They even have special sleeve made that are not attached to their clothing to cover there arms when they think they might be exposed to the sun. They have naturally olive skin and tan very easily, and they don’t like it. They think only the peasants have tans. Having a tan makes you look like you are not even close to upper class. They actually have a kind of liquid makeup that looks green, and when they put it on their faces, it makes their faces look very white. The airbrushing you think you see may just bee that green makeup. Their standards of beauty are much different than Americans and Europeans.
This is a picture of a Japanese lady. The Japanese have been even worse at wanting white skin than the Koreans. She is wearing very white makeup, but the Korean makeup is not quite this white. I have heard the younger generation in Japan is beginning to accept their tans better.
Besides everyone wanting white, white skin, they also want small faces. If a Korean tells you that you have a small face, it is a compliment that means you are pretty or good looking. They also don’t want oriental looking eyes. They want eyes that are much more open. Seoul is the plastic surgery capital of the world. There is a special plastic surgery they do that gives them a line in their eye lids and opens their eyes up more. It may be the most popular plastic surgery, but there are more, and guys do it just like girls do.
You couldn’t even see this girl’s scars, but the way she acts it was like her face was like this.
There was a pretty girl who worked in the main office where I taught, and she had a minute, minute scar on her cheek that no one could really see. However, her parents were very upset by it, and it made her self conscious. She would often wear a band aide over it so no one would see it, but no one even knew it was there until she pointed it out. She finally had plastic surgery to have the scar removed. My daughter has a small scar on her cheek too that a dog gave her when she was small, but my daughter is American, and she ignores it, and so does everyone else.
He looked just fine without the surgery, but he was convinced he could get more girlfriends in America if he let them completely change his face.
I had a student who was a guy. He was extremely smart. When he wrote in English, he made me think of Edgar Alan Poe. He had an interesting face to go with his talent. He was so good at English that he won a scholarship to go to America as an exchange student. He used to come to Bible studies in my office with the other students. One summer, he said he couldn’t come to the Bible studies, but he would see me at the end of the summer before he left for America in the fall. When he called me at the end of the summer and asked me to meet him at E-Mart, a huge chain store in Korea, he was sitting on a bench waiting for me, and I didn’t even recognize him. He had had the eyelid surgery, and had changed his nose. He looked like a completely different person. He explained that he wanted to be good looking when he went to America. He knew that American guys had lots of girlfriends, and that he was afraid the way he was naturally wouldn’t attract girls. When he got to America, he had lots of girlfriends, but they probably didn’t know they weren’t seeing who the guy really was except that he was very nice and could have been just as popular with his real face, but he didn’t know it.
In Nigeria, they think fat women are queens and completely beautiful.
When you see the K-pop stars, probably 80–90% of them have had some sort of plastic surgery. Beauty is paramount in Korea. It is just a fact of life, and their definition of beauty may not particularly be our definition of beauty. To explain how different cultures see beauty, I was surprised when I was in Nigeria that they considered a fat woman the prettiest woman around. To them, if a woman was fat, she was affluent enough not to have to work hard, and it set her apart from the others. Just as in Korea, the white, white skin, they feel, sets them apart and makes them pretty because they don’t look like farm workers. However, as you know, Americans and Europeans consider people with tans to look healthy because they have the time to lay around on the beach somewhere,