Korea’s obsession with cosmetic surgery

The internet is fanning the flame of a cosmetic surgery obsession in South Korea, experts say. The affluent Asian country with a population of 50 million has the second highest number of plastic surgery operations in the world after Hungary. There are thousands of cosmetic surgery websites with hundreds of thousands of devotees, allowing cosmetic surgery fanatics to discuss their favourite procedures, share tips on how to enhance the body and post photos to see what they should have changed. Despite old Confucian teachings which say altering the body disrespects one’s parents, sites such as Yeowooya – which is the country’s most popular such website at 550,000 followers – continue to flourish.

“I am now able to attract a boyfriend after undergoing a facial liposuction surgery,” said an unnamed woman recently penned “Plastic Surgery Queen of the Week” on Yeowooya. “Can you see, my face is now narrower than before.” Her post attracted 500 comments from others seeking to follow in her footsteps – to her surgeon. One wrote: “Please send me clinic information. I too want to have fat sucked out of my face”. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS) says that 770,913 plastic surgery operations took place in Korea, making the country 7th in the world in terms of the total number of operations performed. Many high school girls have operations after taking their college entrance exams, and cosmetic surgery clinics advertise aggressively with enticing deals such as “mother and daughter” surgery packages.

“A growing income level and an accepting social atmosphere (for cosmetic surgery) allows more people to go under the knife,” said psychiatrist Shin Young-chul, of Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul. But this recent craze is definitely excessive.” ~ Reuters, Feb 17

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