We have heard about the obsession with cosmetic surgery of America’s celebrities from the countless tabloids and fashion magazines updating us with who has got what done accounting for approximately $12 billion on cosmetic enhancements alone in 2014. However, the trend has now been sweeping across Asia, with South Korea being labelled as the “global capital for plastic surgery” with a staggering one in five South Korean women having done cosmetic surgery as compared to one in twenty in America.
To critics, the surgery is a symbol of white America’s history of cultural dominance over South Korea and in a bid to look more western, the industry is booming with the most popular cosmetic procedures like “Double Eyelid Surgery”. Rhinoplasty to get a more prominent nose is apparently the next popular trend.
In South Korea, people have also come to equate “beauty” with success and job applications commonly require a photo of the employee included. It is simply a reality that beauty has become a means to distinguish oneself in the nation’s hypercompetitive culture and when it comes to selecting an employee, it is assumed that the preference involuntarily goes to the one who scores better in the beauty meter.
Though cosmetic surgery in Korea today seems less dogmatic, it was once reported in the 90’s that many Asian women underwent cosmetic surgery to escape the racial prejudices and the stereotype of negative behaviour attributed to facial features with small, slanty eyes and a flat nose, characterized with dullness and passivity.
While South Korea tops the chart with cosmetic surgery clinics with the highest numbers of tucks, peels, fillers, jabs and lifts in their quest for the perfect body, the U.S aesthetic culture remains predominant with Mommy Makeovers, Breast Implants and Liposuction, all designed to help women return to their pre-pregnancy bodies.
The competition for beauty is innocuous in this cut-throat world and when it comes to reaching the desired potential staying attractive is a clear ticket to success. Nations have realized the potential for medical tourism with Cosmetic Surgery and significant contributor to the GDP. That certainly keeps this industry in the boom and in demand in the aesthetic world.
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