April 28, 2013

Miss Korea Contestants Controversy

This went viral on Reddit, of course. And controversies spark. South Korea's plastic surgery rates are infamous, and people jump at the chance that all the contestants may look so similar from plastic surgery, outrage outrage outrage. I go on Tumblr and people are raging, too. Except most of them don't read into stories, and immediately reblog this image, saying how crazy it is, how disappointed they are, judging Korean girls and their plastic surgery left and right. No names but a cursory scroll through the #Miss Korea hashtag and a Tumblr user claimed she/he (probably a she?) has very low self esteem but still considers her/him-self to be more attractive than these contestants. Another user thinks that these contestants look quite beautiful without make up on.

I'm disappointed, as usual, at how fast people like to jump to conclusions, and social media has facilitated that speed. I think social media is fantastic, I just think people egg each other on. Granted, I get my first "news" source of the day through my twitter news feed, but I try to take everything I read/skim with a grain of salt. What I'm trying to say is, this article helps to clear up some confusion. Basically, yes there is probably cosmetic surgery involved, but these photos have been heavily photoshopped and there's a lot of make up on their faces as well. So once again, attest to the power of Photoshop and makeup. My favorite part is the last sentence:
We aren’t sure what’s more shocking, the perception that each girl has undergone the same plastic surgery or the fact that each one was photoshopped to meet a certain standard of “beauty.”

It's about time that the conversations on plastic surgery, makeup, Photoshop, and standards of beauty converge into one in the public sphere. What people have always talked about under the general discussion of standards of beauty, with plastic surgery, makeup, and Photoshop as 3 tenets, these 3 elements now all converge into one powerful .gif that forces us to face it all, all at once, intersecting. I hope the conversation can be fruitful. With that said, I think it was pretty demeaning for those tumblr users to judge the contestants like that. I'm not really sure where their perspective comes from, but it seems to give negative connotations to make up and plastic surgery. I don't know if the issue is this black/white. Is conforming necessarily a bad thing? Is getting plastic surgery to compete in a beauty pageant wrong? Miss Korea 2012 admitted she had undergone the knife, but she also said she never claimed to be a natural beauty. Who can claim to be a natural beauty anyways, with all the make up and exercising and dieting? What does it even mean to be a natural beauty? Are we supposed to think someone has low self esteem or other negative attributes because they want to get/have gotten plastic surgery? Does feeling beautiful in makeup mean that we don't feel beautiful without makeup? It makes me uncomfortable to assume that everyone is either totally confident and doesn't need make up or they're totally hopeless and addicted to makeup.

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