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South Korean Women’s Beauty Standard Contestation from True Beauty Drama

True Beauty, a South Korean drama that became one of the popular series in the Korean drama world. The series adapts one of the popular Manhwa published on Webtoon with the title “The Secret of Angel”. True Beauty drama tells the story of a woman who comes from a small, well-off family. The woman’s name is Lim Ju Kyung. She is a high school student who is not confident with her face. Therefore, she was the victim of bullying at her school.

Because her parents decided to move, Ju Kyung inevitably had to change schools to follow her parents. At the new school, because she had been treated badly because of her appearance at her old school, she finally decided to hide her real face with makeup. With the help of makeup, she turns into a person who has stunning beauty.

From here we can see that beauty is important in South Korea. Not only in dramas, such things often occur in South Korean society, especially school children. They value looking good, having abundant wealth, or having special connections. On the contrary, it does not apply to people who are less attractive and less well-off.

Nowadays, getting facial and body treatments is not just for health, but has become a trend and makes women compete to get it. They do everything they can to beautify their face and body, such as taking care of and buying products that can support their health, to the stage of doing plastic surgery to meet the standards.

However, the standard of beauty in South Korea is increasing day by dayThis is due to the spread of the Korean Wave. According to Mellicia in her article entitled “The Effect of Spreading the Issue of South Korean Beauty Standards Through Social Media on the Imitation Behavior of K-Pop Fans”, beauty standards for South Korean women are having pale white skin, a thin face, slim body, a small face, eyelid folds, a straight and pointed nose, and neat teeth. 

These beauty standards are considered important in South Korean culture and are reinforced by social media, which reinforces the perception that having a beautiful appearance and ideal body is everything. Many teenage girls are influenced by these beauty standards and follow the trends set by K-pop idols through social media, including their style of speech, beauty products used, and even their daily activities. 

However, the beauty standards in South Korea are increasing day by day. This is due to the spread of the Korean Wave. According to Mellicia in her article entitled “The Effect of Spreading the Issue of South Korean Beauty Standards Through Social Media on the Imitation Behavior of K-Pop Fans”, beauty standards for South Korean women are having pale white skin, a thin face, slim body, a small face, eyelid folds, a straight and pointed nose, and neat teeth. 

These beauty standards are considered important in South Korean culture and are reinforced by social media, which reinforces the perception that having a beautiful appearance and ideal body is everything. Many teenage girls are influenced by these beauty standards and follow the trends set by K-pop idols through social media, including their style of speech, beauty products used, and even their daily activities. 

In the end, people will not be satisfied if they only cover their faces with makeup. Ironically, this higher standard of beauty has encouraged many individuals, especially women, to achieve it in various ways, including through plastic surgery. Some South Koreans who have undergone plastic surgery publish their before-and-after looks on social media. So more and more South Koreans are convinced of plastic surgery. Another thing that greatly influences South Koreans to do plastic surgery is the K-pop idols they love. K-pop idols also have a big influence on people’s perspective that beauty standards must be like idols.

According to a 2022 global survey by The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), South Korea is ranked 5th with the highest use of plastic surgery in the world. This also shows that plastic surgery has become a beauty trend for South Koreans, especially women. It should also be noted that plastic surgery risks nerve damage, infection, skin redness, or irritation.

Not only that, Korean beauty standards are also not only with plastic surgery, but also by going on extreme diets. Korean women often feel pressured by the expectation to have a slim body by existing beauty norms. While this may be done with good intentions to boost self-confidence, it often leads to negative impacts on physical and mental health. Some of them are K-pop idols who collapsed due to extreme dieting. According to PharmEasy.in, extreme dieting can lead to dehydration, changes in blood sugar levels, malnutrition, and more.

It should be noted that this phenomenon not only affects physical health, but also the mental health of each individual. The pressure to meet unrealistic beauty standards can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. True Beauty drama provides a message about self-acceptance and the importance of understanding that true beauty is not only seen from the outside, but also from the inside. Lim Ju Kyung, in her character transformation, shows that confidence comes from deep self-acceptance and not just a perfect physical appearance. This drama is not just entertainment, but also provides an overview of the reality of life in South Korea as it relates to beauty standards. 

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