First World Constructions of Beauty


This semester, I had a lecture in one of my advertising classes that really took me by surprise. My professor, a woman from Korea, was discussing beauty and the impact of cosmetic advertisements. We started to discuss cosmetic surgeries, and she pointed out that six out of eight of her friends got an eyelid reconstruction surgery before they graduated high school. Six out of eight? That’s 75% of her friends. To me, this seemed like an outrageous amount of cosmetic surgeries to be occurring before leaving high school. She announced it as if it was a completely normal thing. This struck me as disturbing.


The reason why, my professor said, was because the women did not feel beautiful with their smaller eyelids. She said that Koreans are held to the westernized standard of beauty. She said that there are advertisements all over of Asian women with this same surgery that her friends were getting. They were told that that was what it looked like to be beauty, and it truly made them felt that way.


Stories like this prove that there is a very cookie cutter “beautiful” that exists in our society. Even worldwide women are held to certain standards that have been put in place over many of years. It’s also interesting to look at how these beauty standards are affected and defined by the first world. Third world countries and people are held to a higher standard of beauty, a first world, whitewashed standard of beauty. This affects many people in the United States and clearly people in other countries such as Asia.


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