Sociology of plastic surgery | Plastic surgery Korea KIES-U

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Sociology of plastic surgery

Humans want more beauty 

Langlois and others conducted an experiment on 3 month old babies by giving them 2 pictures and observing which they like more. Although these babies could not speak, they look at the picture of the one that the adults judged to be more attractive.

Couple of years ago, there was a TV program that tested which teacher the kindergarteners liked more, a pretty looking teacher and the ones who is not. The kids concentrated more in the class thought by the teacher who was more attractive and they thought her to be more professional.

Based on such experiments and information, we can think that the want for beauty is gained through learning and also something that is innate.

A human’s stand towards beauty is both longing and a desire, and at the same time something that is artistically wanted for.
Sophisticated, noble, smooth, attractive, lovable, enticing, etc, words such as these show how much us human being long for beauty.

In this regard, our society too is very and overly interested in plastic surgery. The plastic surgery in Korea is very famous throughout Asia.

I always think about how our country has become so famous in plastic surgery globally in its technique and culture. I would like to share about this today.

Perspectives that oppose looks and plastic surgery

Plastic surgery is a behavior that is highly related to a person’s needs and wants towards beauty.

We all have our want of beauty but we are in a culture where we cannot be open about it. Things have changed a lot, but not this.
If a celebrity has a plastic surgery, this becomes a gossip but he/she and the management make it untrue or are hesitant to talk about it.
This is because many people criticize the person who look better through plastic surgery. This is especially so with mid and old aged men who are the backbone of our society.
This shows that neo-confucianism perspectives still remain as a part of our society. Such culture can bring out absolutely different perspective of plastic surgery.

These mid and old aged men set priority on the root and are trapped within the idea that “although she got pretty because of the plastic surgery, the root does not go away.” In opposite, young ladies are too concerned about looking good and they want to look good through whatever way possible.

As such, we can see two opposing views regarding plastic surgery according to social class and age.

Are we too centered on appearance?

We need to talk about this as well.

This happened couple of years ago. An announcer in KBS came out on TV and looked as if she gained more weight than before. The viewers criticized her by saying “how can she come out TV looking like that?” There was a lot of criticism that our country was too much focused on appearance.

Ability, skill, and experience should be more important than appearance but we are too focused only in the appearance. So there are many critics that say that our society not only judges ability but also beauty.

I had a conversation with the head of announcer academy. I asked him if he could know that the student could become an announcer just based on the looks. He answered that the student needs to be “Pretty, Being pretty is good enough. You can’t be selected if you are not.”
Beauty can be more important for visual area… but I still had some questions. This is maybe why our society is too appearance oriented.

But in overall, I don’t think that our society is that much appearance oriented. There are times that we spend much focus on the beauty but it is not the most important factor.

In Brazil, South America, it is known that 18 year old teenage girls go to the banks to get loans. They want to get cosmetic surgery on the hips and breasts. The girls here, when they become legally adults, do not go for a drink or have a date night with their boyfriends. They get money to get a cosmetic surgery.

Our country is perceived to have many who want cosmetic surgery but it is not comparable to Brazil. It is not perceived that majority of the society is focused in cosmetic surgery.

I don’t think that the problem lies because we are too centered in beauty, but the problem is because we are obsessed by it. This is highly influenced by the marketing activities of cosmetic surgery clinics as well.

Concerns about standardized beauty and personality

There is a famous portrait named “Gangnam Beauty”. I think that many of you have seen it. There are number of ladies with same faces in this portrait.

Those from the rural areas when visiting Gangnam say one common thing, “all women in Gangnam look the same.” I don’t think that they all look the same based on my 10 year stay here in Kangnam.

There is a trend toward a standardized beauty in cosmetic surgery.

But this trend changes little by little with time.

The number of cosmetic surgery clinics in Kangnam are reduced with time as well unknowingly. People are starting to be aware that cosmetic surgery if resulting in bad outcome can lead to a loss of personality and attractiveness.

There was a TV show called Let@# that was on air until last year. It was one of the most effective means of promoting cosmetic surgery clinic of which the topic that the viewers were mostly interested in was bimaxillary surgery.

At one time, bimaxillary surgery was The Cosmetic Surgery.

The actual name for bimaxillary surgery is bimaxillary concurrent surgery. Tooth correction is carried out simultaneously therefore careful decision making is necessary. Many viewers thought that their faces could become smaller through bimaxillary surgery and invested much money just by watching the TV program.

These people have suffered from many complications after the surgery. The doctors did not ask or judge anything but just received money as they conducted the surgery. This has led to various complications and side effects resulting in legal claims and suits. There were some celebrities who came on TV crying and saying that there are at difficult times.

As people saw these things, they became to realize that cosmetic surgery is not something that can be done lightly. They also realized that bimaxillary surgery did not make their faces smaller. They also because aware that following others who look pretty and getting a cosmetic surgery is a dangerous thing to do.

In the past there was a standardized beauty, but today, consumers are aware that beauty does not come down from heaven just with money.

Complication of bimaxillary surgery… “Hospital to pay KRW 60 million”
There was a judgement that if there is not sufficient information of bimaxillary surgery then the hospital must be responsible for the complications that arise. On the 18th, Seoul district court ruled that the hospital must compensate for the complications caused through bimaxillary surgery. The ruling also included that “plastic surgery is not an emergency one, therefore the result can be different from what the patient expects, Therefore, the hospital needs to share about the treatment methods, improvements in detail to the patients”. “Also it should be noted that B did not provide enough information.” It was added that “B seemed careless and also damaged some parts by forcing this surgery.” “However, the surgery itself has some dangers therefore, B’s responsibility is limited to 60%.” “B must provide punitive damage of KRW 61 million to the patient.” A visited B’s hospital in 2007 for bimaxillary surgery but A did not see any positive effects but only got more complications that led to trial in court.

The consumers and society are changing in the cosmetic world

The Korean cosmetic surgery market grew with much focus on beauty. There was no individualism and personal standards. Just common beauty was required that led to much problems. But I think that today, we have different standards of beauty and there no one specific standard.

This is a time of change and I knew that this time would come soon enough.

Beauty cannot be judged instantly. Beauty at first sight only is a thing of a past. Beauty is something continuous and attractively felt. “You become more attracted to it as you see more of it” is the new perception now.

Thank you for reading. More of the related contents will be shared in the near future.
Have a great day.

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