Asian beauty standards causing more harm than good

Detrimental beauty standards in Korea have taken my time trying to live up to its unrealistic expectations. 

Typically, when you imagine a “pretty Asian girl,” you think of K-pop idols, actresses in a drama or perhaps that stranger that walked past you with perfect hair and makeup. These people create a sense of obligation in what girls think they should look like when in reality, there should not be a definition of what is “pretty.”

Asian beauty standards are a great misconception in Asian society. The Sidekick staff writer Katie Park discusses the negative effects of stereotypical standards and explores the nature of beauty that can be found in everyone. (Katie Park)

Women and girls in Korea have indulged in Korea’s extensive skincare and makeup industry, striving to achieve clear, glass skin. Facial products are known to be cheaper and more affordable in Korea, thus increasing resources for girls and women.

However, some take it a step further. South Korea has the world’s greatest rate of plastic surgeries, dominating the cosmetic industry. A common type of plastic surgery is double eyelid surgery, also called a blepharoplasty. The logic behind the double eyelid surgery is to succeed in making your eyes look bigger and wider, also called “doe eyes.” This is to enhance the look of innocence and youth. 

As an East Asian with mono-eyelids, I feel at times my life would be looked upon much higher if I were to have double eyelids. Family members would gush over my younger sister as she possesses the favored double eyelids, while I was not a part of the admiration.

Asian beauty standards are a great misconception in Asian society. The Sidekick staff writer Katie Park discusses the negative effects of stereotypical standards and explores the nature of beauty that can be found in everyone. (Katie Park)

The love people around the world have for K-pop singers and Korean actresses sometimes makes me feel like I also have to match their features to be deemed “pretty.”

In sixth grade, I had become very tan from my church’s summer camp and was told by my family members that I was too dark. I started to wear sunblock with high SPF coverage to try and change the color of my skin.

East Asian beauty standards can also coincide with beauty standards present in other countries such as India where society favors fair skin. These are extremely detrimental to one’s well being and are often exclusively targeted towards girls. The standards create extreme self consciousness in young women and normalizes going out of their way to change your appearance to fit in with society’s standards.

Plastic surgeries and similar procedures intensify Korea’s beauty standards which puts K-pop idols at the spotlight to be the visual representation of their definition of beauty.

The requirements of having features like a small, V-shaped face, bright pale skin, plump lips and a slim figure indirectly convey women and girls who do not possess these features to be unworthy and unattractive. This societal pressure of having to look exactly perfect causes Koreans and other East Asians to reconsider their self esteem, later causing mental health issues. 

Asian beauty standards have been a prevailing topic in Asian societies and convey how women should look to be “pretty,” but are not accurate as beauty comes in all shapes and forms and is different for everyone.     

Follow @katiegpark on Instagram and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter

Originally posted 2023-10-05 17:57:00.


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