What happens if make-up isn’t enough? Some people choose plastic surgery as an option to permanently alter their appearance. In America, people stress the idea of natural beauty and individuality, but in countries like South Korea, people actually pursue artificial beauty. Major reasons for plastic surgery are insecurity and peer pressure. Some instances of plastic surgery are done to avoid Asian stereotypes and acquire Western beauty. Plastic surgery is so popular that it has become a tradition in Korea. The beauty-seeking trend has developed so quickly that people feel comfortable discussing it in public. According to a 2009 survey by the market research firm Trend Monitor, one of every five women in Seoul between the age of 19 and 49 state that they have undergone cosmetic surgery. This is significant considering that 20% of the female population in Seoul has undergone plastic surgery some point in their life. A major consequence of this boom is the peer pressure to keep up with the trend of plastic surgery. For example, when lots of people undergo plastic surgery, they directly raise up the standard of beauty. So, what was once considered a decent, yet natural, look is now dull and incomparable to the new artificial faces. It is like an invisible scale; some people undergo cosmetic surgery just so they can keep up with the standard of beauty. While most of these cosmetic surgeries are voluntary, some aren’t. There have been a popular trend of people seeking surgery due to peer pressure; sometimes parents even force their children to undergo surgery just to avoid stereotypes. The most common stereotype associated with this is that Asians have small eyes, so parents pressure their children to do double eyelid surgery. Double eyelid surgeries are very common in Asia, but in this blog we will focus on surgeries in South Korea because it has the highest number of surgeries performed per capita, according to Mailonline.com. The majority of these surgeries are done on the eyes because young women want to acquire a Caucasian look – big eyes, straight nose and pale skin. Their thirst for western faces is so strong that plastic surgeons almost never go out of business in Korea. Although the practice of surgeries is beneficial to those in that work field, it becomes an issue when it comes to identity. Personal traits and features are part of a person’s identity; undergoing cosmetic surgeries contribute to a loss of identity. When 20% of the population pursues artificial beauty, its society’s values become questionable. It is totally acceptable that people admire the use of plastic surgery; however, it is a problem if people are doing it to erase part of their identity or simply to follow the trend.
What are other consequences of plastic surgeries, except identity risk?
Here is a real life story about a man divorcing his wife after finding out that she has undergone plastic surgery.
As a summarization of this video and further research, a Chinese men Jian Feng sued his wife in China for “being ugly” as described by various media. Surprisingly, he won the sue case and got $120,000 out of it. Although many news and articles have titles that say Jian sues his wife “for being ugly”, it is somewhat misleading. If Jian’s intention is to marry a beautiful woman, then he wouldn’t have divorced his wife – who became attractive after surgery. According to his own words, he feels betrayed by his wife because she wouldn’t tell him the truth before marriage. His divorce demonstrates that he doesn’t value looks as much as honesty and truth to identity. As mentioned before, plastic surgery causes a loss of identity, so this is one of the potential problems associated with stereotypes and social values.