Every year nearly 1 million surgeries are performed; some for therapeutic purposes, but usually for cosmetic purposes. In 2014, South Korea had an average of 20 plastic surgeries per 1,000 people. Thus, Korea received its label as “Republic of Plastic Surgery.” It has not been long since plastic surgery advertisements have taken over the media and public domain due to its rapid expansion competition in markets.
A survey conducted by Korea Consumer Agency reports that out of 1000 people who have received plastic surgery for the past three years, 30.4% of the respondents made a decision on the hospital after seeing advertisements. Out of these respondents, 56.8% of people have encountered advertisements inside a subway or the station tunnel.
Advertisements tend to blind out the surgical procedure, risks of anesthesia, and side effects. Unfortunately, the majority of the population suffers from discrimination based on appearance in society. In a study of the correlation between appearance discrimination and subjective health among 3000 young people by the Department of Health Policy Management at the College of Health Sciences at Korea University, 8.3% of the respondent asserted that they have experienced some kind of discrimination: concluding a negative effect on their perceived health status.
It is not about the rights and wrongs of getting plastic surgery. It is about satisfied business owners and marketers making money while not thinking about the other side of social influence, the society that is allowing this to happen, and people who emphasize that it is part of respect in order to look according to the “standards.”
In fact, these views lead to a nonsensical situation in which women’s freedom of external expression and realm of makeup is forced by the non-female gender as “decency.”