Is K-Pop South Korea’s Blessing, Or a Curse?

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in On The Street | 0 comments

Girls Generation: Before and After (a.k.a. boringly natural to UPGRADE!)

It’s been a great year to be a member of a Korean boy/girl band.

Because “Gangnam Style,” the viral, extremely catchy and extremely cochlea-aching single by South Korean singer PSY has been dominating the airwaves since this past summer, K-pop singers have the golden ticket into the hearts and wallets of their now burgeoning American fanbase. And it isn’t an accident.

Before being cast out into the limelight, “accepted” k-pop auditionees pretty much have to make a deal with the devil– the devil of unabashed vanity. It isn’t uncommon for a k-pop singer to have had several aesthetically-enhancing plastic surgery operations.

In fact, plastic surgery has become so accepted into the fabric of Korean society that surgeries are given as birthday, coming-of-age and graduation presents.

Because their adoring fans found out that the chiseled-jawlines and pristine snozes of the members of the top-billed k-pop band Super Junior and the doe-eyed, innocently charming allure of every Girls’ Generation member was something they could buy, they’ve been giving their plastic quite a workout.

Hate that your Asian eyes are too small? Or your nose isn’t flat enough? A snip, nip and a tuck– voilà! You’re minutely more attractive!

Sure, South Korea’s economy could use the extra influx of plasti-cash… but isn’t this a country that used to be fervently religious, to the point of born-agains? What about all those morals that countless South Korean actresses and fashion models committed suicide for? Surely, plastic surgery doesn’t come remotely close to aligning with any of those once-revered tenets.

I recently spoke to a friend who was a k-pop devotee. Not Korean herself (she’s Taiwanese, like me), she pretty much wishes she could be, but said she despises how the culture currently is–according to her, the younger generation no longer wants to be a traditionally respectable lawyer or doctor, but now wants to be just like Jessica from Girls’ Generation, or T.O.P from Big Bang. They beg and beg their parents for plastic surgeries, which isn’t that surprising.

It’s their new, loathsomely upgraded faces that are.


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