Who is Beautiful in South Korea: Standards of Beauty in My New Home

Who is Beautiful in South Korea: Standards of Beauty in My New Home

Who is Beautiful in South Korea: Standards of Beauty in My New Home

I’ve always considered my face to be an average size; neither too big nor too small. But it wasn’t until moving to South Korea, and learning about beauty standards there, that I faced the notion of having a “small face.” It’s presumably a compliment here, though it’s one I never would have thought to ever say to someone.

When I see someone’s face, I don’t think, “Wow it’s really small,” or “Wow, your face is so big.” It’s merely a face with no obvious size.

The standard of beauty in South Korea is not easily missed, as the pressure to look good is a constant.

It’s not only women who deal with this issue, but men as well. Here, there’ s such a huge pressure to look your best no matter what.

Here, there is really only one standard of beauty whereas in America there are so many definitions of beauty. In South Korea the ideal is to be thin and have a small face, large eyes, long legs, and the like. Being a foreigner, I thought I would face pressure to conform or meet certain standards, but my experience so far is that I am an exception and that somehow by being “different” I fit some standard.

However, there are the times when I didn’t meet the standards, like when I’m told by my co-workers that I didn’t look good today or I looked sick when really I felt fine. I guess my face just looked messed up that day.

It’s not only women who deal with this issue, but men as well. Here, there’ s such a huge pressure to look your best no matter what. A picture is even required on your resume so potential employers can see how you look. Even my students express their dissatisfaction with the shape of their face or their hooded eyelids or some nonexistent fat they think they have.

Who is Beautiful in South Korea: Standards of Beauty in My New Home

This is not to say that every place and person in Korea has this same mentality. Especially where I live, in a small town, there are fewer people walking around who look like they walked out of an ad for Forever 21.

Admittedly sometimes this country has made me more self-conscious about how I look when I leave my house. On the positive side, it has encouraged me to try a little harder and find ways to take better care of myself.

But at the end of the day we need to remind ourselves that we cannot fit into every standard, especially those of a different culture and mindset. If my face is a bit wonky, Korea will just have to deal with it.

Who is Beautiful in South Korea: Standards of Beauty in My New Home

Who is Beautiful in South Korea: Standards of Beauty in My New Home

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Have you traveled to South Korea? What were your impressions? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Who is Beautiful in South Korea: Standards of Beauty in My New Home photo credit: unsplash and Morgan P.

 

About Morgan Patkos

Morgan PatkosOn her way to becoming a permanent expat, Morgan Patkos teaches children, studies Korean, and tries to maintain the hobbies she tells everyone she does.

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