Fashion Magazine

Semipermanent "Body Issues"

By Shugavery @ThinkIncognito
Remember a few time ago when I introduced you to Semipermanent, this program exploring the culture in South Korea throughout the eyes of expats living there ? Well if not don't worry because today I am going to show you an episode that particularly caught my attention and then tell you about my experience there. From plastic surgery to traditional medecine and make up, let's discover an other side of South Korea !This post is quite consistent as I wanted to show both the points of view in the video and my opinion, so I will advise you to read it when you really have time.

Back when I traveled to South Korea, I met Chul, my korean friend or like I often call him my travelmate. Travelling with him in his country has been a real chance because it enabled me to understand more the korean mindset about varied themes, and one subject that was recurrent during this trip was the perception of beauty, the image.The first thing I noticed was the number of women complimenting me on my beauty and my skin (now thinking about it, between stating facts and humblebragging there's a subtle line). You can't imagine how many women stopped me in the street just to ask me which cream I used for my skin or simply telling me how much they loved my face shape. Face shape ? Yes, I really wrote that ! When in my old Europe people are used to hearing that they have beautiful eyes or a beautiful smile, I was complimented on something rather paltry. Then, when I met Chul for the second time after a few months, the first thing he told me was "oh you look skinnier than before" (again stating facts people) and this definitely convinced me that korean people are obssessed with appearance, it's the first thing they will notice on someone. Well, it's the same for us but what differs is the way they perceive it.
Going by subway, I was flabbergasted by the number of adverts inviting people to do plastic surgery. I was feeling bad each time I saw one and I guess I felt that way because in Europe, whatever people say plastic surgery is kind of taboo and not well considered. Yes, I am a product of our culture hence my repulsion to such a practice. But then there was Chul, my young korean friend who was just entering in his twenties, and was already considering plastic surgery to give a more beautiful shape to his nose. The fact he was a man telling me about it made me realize that not only women in South Korea care about their appearance, and while we were conversing about getting plastic surgery or not he didn't hide me that his father would probably be against it. Clash of generations I suppose. Coming back to Chul's nose, he wasn't finding his facial protuberance ugly, he just wanted it straighter. The discussion we had about this last detail really left me puzzled. Why want to do plastic surgery for a detail ? It wasn't something he was ashamed of, felt bad about or even having a hang-up on. He was saying me this as if he was buying clothes who would make him feel good. And seeing this video consolidated my point of view : in Korea, plastic surgery is seen as a way to feel better, to be more beautiful and if it's something that makes you feel happier there is no need to hesitate nor shame of doing it.
The subway in South Korea is an extraordinary place, it's better than any museum to visit belive me ! You have to take it if one day you  happen to go to Seoul. In Europe I can care less about putting make up on my face while korean girls do care about it and are real professionals in putting it on : they succeed in using an eyelash curler, putting mascara and even mastering the art of putting perfectly eye-liner in a packed subway wagon sitting or standing. I remember forgetting getting off the station stop I was supposed to because I was ooohing and aaahing mentally while observing the skills of the girls. But my ooohing and aaahing didn't stop there. My girl friend Seok surprised me when in a restaurant she pulled out of her bag a make up case worthy of any make up artist with all the instruments one would use. With her and Chul we spoke about the amount of money korean girls and boys would spend on beauty and both were categoric : korean youth definitely spends a lot on it. 
The me who was never attracted by beauty, my make up routine consisting of a black pencil and a lip balm, started to consider it differently. I went to a nail salon for the first time of my life in Dongdaemun and entered every renowned make up store to understand why korean were so enticed by their appearance. My opinion about it ? I've totally been swept away to the point that eventhough I never used them once in my lifetime I bought facial masks eyelash curler ! Their packaging is so cute than rather considering what I saw make up I was seeing it as decorations for my bathroom. Korean products in terms of quality won me completely, I couldn't help but feeling refreshed. More than considering their make up and products to make me beautiful, I felt a sense of well-being but withouth the medical aspect of it. I believe that appearance in South Korea, be it for plastic surgery or make up revolves on this one concept : well-being.
Did your thoughts on appearance and beauty changed after watching the video ? What do you think about plastic surgery ? 

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