Kim Ji Seon
Department of Korean History
In South Korea, interest in appearance is increasing day by day. A lot of products helping diet have been released, there are many plastic surgery centers in Korea, and foreigners come to Korea to have plastic surgery. Although this social climate makes people feel a sense of deprivation, I think having an interest in one's appearance is natural.
First of all, our ancestors spent time on improving their appearance. Though facial makeup decreased during the Joseon Dynasty, a cosmetics vendor existed and a relevant office was established in the palace. People washed their hair with water infused with sweet flags for good hair. Hanbok (Korean traditional clothes) of various colors were made. In other words, historically, interest in appearance is steady and modern society does exist as an extension of its history.
Secondly, it is one of the ways to increase self-contentment and self-confidence. According to a survey, more than half of single women replied that they improve their appearance for self-contentment. Also, the number of men visiting a dermatologist and purchasing cosmetics has grown. This action is possible to improve their satisfaction and induce a positive mood. In addition, it can be connected to the quality of life. Through the pursuit of goals, people’s quality of life can be increased and they can release stress easily.
Lastly, people who have much interest in appearance are recognized as being good at self-management. We can easily see some people who are planning a new year's resolution to diet. However, the plan falls through because of laziness and annoyingness. If they achieve a goal, they will get a strong sense of responsibility as well as a more attractive appearance. For example, Yoo Jae-suk, a popular comedian of South Korea, is active in the entertainment programs because he changed his physical condition by exercising. Like this, taking care of the way one looks is remembered as a positive image.
Park Su Jin
Department of Chinese Language and Literature
Having an interest in appearance is normal. I am also interested in appearance and I like to take care of my looks. Improving one's looks can help people get high self-satisfaction, and it can be their hobby.
For example, every morning, I am always very busy putting my make-up on and picking pretty clothes. It is my joy. I do not have any other hobbies, but I get pleasure from taking care of my looks. Recently, there was a new term coined, Kodeok, which refers to a cosmetic collector.
The new word was made because there are more and more people who get pleasure from improving their looks.
These days, it is very easy to see those who have had plastic surgery. Many high school students go to a plastic surgery center after they graduate high school. People who have a complex can lose their confidence. If they can get confidence after they have plastic surgery, however, it is very helpful to them. It could be a problem to be abnormally obsessed with plastic surgery, but it is good to overcome a complex through plastic surgery. I think it is not a problem.
I think being good looking is important. Of course, appearance is not everything. Inner beauty is the most important thing. However, when we meet people for the first time, appearance is important. The first impression is hard to change, and appearance takes up a large part of the first impression. We want to be good looking to other people, so we are conscious of the way other people are looking at us. Especially, people judge other people during an interview in a brief time. At that time, appearance is more important. Therefore, more people are concerned about their appearance and want to have a more beautiful appearance. If people are only concerned about their appearance and only judge people by appearance, it is wrong. However, some interest about appearance is not weird. I think it is very normal.
Lee Jae Ho
Department of English Language and Literature
A post on a website regarding appearance being a factor in hiring has recently gone viral and become controversial. Some, who call themselves managers of coffee shops or restaurants, claim that good-looking employees, in reality, have a positive influence on the number of customer complaints as well as their sales. Such perspectives have probably existed over several decades considering that the term “Lookism”, meaning “less attractive people with fewer opportunities” was coined in the 1970’s. However, each individual should be aware that a society where equal opportunities are denied due to people’s appearance is unquestionably abnormal.
First and foremost, the social atmosphere where some feel pressured to have some sort of transformative surgery cannot regard itself as a decent society. In consideration of the fact that it is nearly impossible to make dramatic changes to one’s appearance, certain people are urged to have cosmetic surgeries to not fall behind in the society of lookism.
Unfortunately, the result is not always guaranteed. Numerous medical accidents caused by cosmetic surgeries have been reported over the past few decades, and such cases are still arising as the rate of surgeries is steadily increasing. Also, a neologism “surgiholic” emerged recently to label a specific group of people who keep demanding cosmetic surgery. Because the standards of attractiveness are awfully ambiguous and innumerable, those who seek impeccable beauty end up experiencing unnecessary surgeries that can possibly be unsatisfying and harmful enough to risk their lives. Such issues can be attributed to lookism, which is already rampant in our society.
In addition to this, there are still numerous people out there who prefer good-looking people to unattractive ones. However, these people will still taunt the ones who have experienced cosmetic surgery. In this respect, the latter’s dilemma is the choice between an unpleasant appearance and the criticisms that come with man-made beauty. The people themselves have never chosen to be born with undesirable appearances; however, regardless of their choices, it could be inevitable for them to be condemned and discriminated against for either bad looks or cosmetic surgery. If a generic inheritance is a discriminatory factor, how is lookism different from racism?
Sadly, lookism is already conspicuous all around us. The former president, Park Geun-hye, recruiting a good-looking French interpreter is one well-known example; and Jeremy Meeks, who was a felon but gained exponential interest from the public due to his good looks is another famous case. More than a few folks are still taking advantage of their looks. Some might say that it is part of human nature to prefer good-looking people, and they have the right to choose in light of their preferences. Nevertheless, the right not to be discriminated against is correspondingly significant; therefore it must be upheld.
Jung Gyeo Un
Department of English Language and Literature
I think I am not pretty and sometimes I even think that I am ugly. These thoughts often let me down, threatening my confidence and self-esteem.
It is because I am a Korean and most Koreans (at least who I have met) regard physical appearance as really important. It is called “Appearance-oriented Views" and I am completely against that.
Several days ago, I read a news article about former President Park Geunhye. It was on exposing an injustice that a student studying abroad in France faced. When Park visited France, she looked for an interpreter and the student applied for the job. However, Park required a pretty appearance rather than interpreting competence, asking for pictures and some information including height and weight. She was wrong. I do not think all Koreans have the same values, but I think this controversy reflected one side of Korean social tendencies. In fact, this phenomenon is prevalent in our society. For instance, there is an expression “plastic surgery for getting a job”. It implies that companies employ personnel based not only on their ability, but also their appearance. In reality, human resources officers say that applicants’ physical appearance influences hiring.
Another example is “travel to Korea for plastic surgery” This means that foreigners, especially Japanese and Chinese, visit Korea to get the plastic surgery. Korea has the best plastic surgery skills, which means that Koreans are in high demand to perform surgeries. These examples prove the importance of outward appearance for Koreans.
I do not think that plastic surgery is bad. I say “Do not do it for others, but do it for you.” When I was young, I used to be teased by my friends because I was plump. So, I skipped meals and worked out hard to lose my weight. However, I lost my confidence and self-esteem even though I loved the way I looked. Now, I realize that I have to judge myself by my own criteria rather than the criteria of others. There is a proverb: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” If you judge someone by their looks, you take away someone’s opportunity to spread their ability or to show you who they are on the inside. Also, you are taking away your opportunity to know their competence or to meet new people because of your rash judgment.
The Chungdae Post -
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