A guest post from Elise Hu, author of "Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital."
This literally gave me chills. It reads like something from a fictional dystopian novel.
This is wild. As someone who used to travel to Seoul for work and bring an empty suitcase to fill up with beauty products, I am floored to have a pawn of a government scheme! I loved sharing snail mucus and sheep placenta masks with my friends, thinking I was just ahead of a trend before it became mainstream in the US lol. Thanks to you, Jessica, my skincare routine has tremendously minimized.
Very powerful article. Thanks for keeping me informed about political beauty.
Well done Jessica! Reminds me somewhat of the stories years ago I read of Asian men enduring multiple leg surgeries and years of recouping & PT to gain just 2 inches of height per the West’s “beauty” standards for men. But reading about all this hyper-driven jawline & nose surgery turned my stomach. As does the idea of just how twisted it all is. The cosmetic industry is perverted enough, but this extreme idea of surgical perfection turned commerce (again thanks to Western standards) is complete madness. It’s like our beauty industry on steroids, but road raging at 100mph from ingesting too much for too long. Very disturbing.
I just went and looked at a bunch of before and after pictures of Korean women getting this surgery and it just breaks my fucking heart. They are absolutely fine before, pretty and interesting looking and then they turn into cartoons. Will this make me happy? Will this make someone love me? No, this will just attract people who want to be with a caricature and those people will never be able to see you because they wouldn't have fucking even PERCEIVED you when you had your (extremely normal, human) jawline. Hate this.
This is terrifying. And what happens when some break out star with a square cleft chin comes along and changes the desired look? Will shaved jaw ladies be forever stuck in their generation’s style like those with side parts are, getting teased by the new cleft chin young ones? This is like something out of a horror movie.
If you’re looking for a novel on this subject - I really recommend If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
YA authors of the 2010s wish they could come up with the dystopias we're already living in. 🙃
“If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” Haunting.
This is chilling. I had no idea. Thank you for sharing it.
I just finished this book (Elise directed me to this post after I messaged her about her book and said she should be interviewed by Jessica - ha ha!) and it was brilliant! So well written at a very personal level and also insightful. I am on the periphery of the whole K-world phenomenon and this was incredibly eye-opening to me as someone with not a great knowledge of it.