Today, as you scroll through social media, whether it is TikTok or Instagram, you will see countless posts and videos of girls showing off their slim figure and perfect side profile. Then, you will not be able to help but think to yourself, “I wish I could look more like them,” or question why you are not as pretty as they are.
Today, in order to be considered conventionally “beautiful,” women are expected to meet many outrageous beauty standards. With the widespread use of social media, the influence that beauty standards have on young girls these days has been exacerbated, leading to insecurity and thus low self-esteem. According to a poll by the University of Michigan Health, approximately two-thirds of parents claim that their child is insecure about some feature of their appearance. While they should be worrying about other important aspects of their life, many teenagers these days are too caught up in how attractive they look to outsiders.
South Korea is known to be one of the countries with the most extreme beauty standards. Women there would often compete with one another to see who has the biggest eyes, smallest face, or palest skin. Such beauty standards account for why South Korea has the highest rates of plastic surgery globally, according to the Undergraduate Women in Economics at the Berkeley University. When girls turn 18, it is common for them to be given a trip to the plastic surgeon by their parents. Over time, plastic surgery on teenagers has become normalized.
These beauty standards are only aggravated by the K-Pop industry. As of now, most people would already be familiar with K-Pop as it has become increasingly popular in recent years, even gaining international recognition. However, these K-Pop idols have also played a part in setting the absurd beauty standards in South Korea. Almost every female K-Pop idol has the perfect appearance that fits the Korean beauty standards – clear and pale skin, slim body, and small face – because they would be severely criticized if they do not. The Korean netizens would bash them for gaining weight or having plastic surgery as they value natural beauty over anything.