Monday, August 27, 2007

This ought to raise eyebrows . . . oh, I guess not

I have a game for you. Watch this video of my favorite old man with sadly childish hairstyle and clothing, Boom (붐), interviewing 'singing' sensation Ivy (아이비). Now here's the game: count the number of times that Ivy's eyebrows move.

That's right, exactly once, at the 2:13 point. Once you notice that her forehead is huge and almost immobile, it becomes unavoidable to ask the following question. Is that her real forehead?

I have no idea, and I don't care. What I am interested in is these forms of plastic surgery focused on the face that are moving the Korean beauty ideal further and further away from what the majority of Koreans actually look like. I would say the best treatment of this topic in a blog can be found over at the Metropolitician's site. He shows how the Korean beauty ideal has changed over time, from realistic to elfin, Asian to Hyrulian.

I chose Hong Su-a as an example of the new standard of beauty in Korea (slender face, surprisingly big nose), but doing so is probably understating the situation, as she is one of the only female mainstream entertainment figures who hasn't had eyelid surgery

First off, yes, forehead implants are real. Here are some before-and-after photos.
Next on the chopping block are prominent cheekbones, a very common feature in Korea that many here find unattractive. I've even had people explain to me seriously that they are a result of malnourishment, which is why they are more common in older generations and in North Korea than in younger South Koreans. I don't know if malnutrition causes the condition, but I know what cures it: hot steel.

Here's the commercial that popularized the phrase "V line face", which refers to a narrow, V-shaped jawline.

The commercial states "V-line is fashion, the future, envy, V-line is Gwangdong Corn Silk Tea" (yes, it's really a commercial for tea made of an agricultural waste bi-product.) Here are the before-and-after photos of some clairvoyant women.

The future (right). Left: the past

And here's one woman who's totally stuck in the past
Jes' joshin', Kyoung-lim Nuna.

I blame the simple economics of supply and demand to some extent. There are plenty of girls with strong jawlines and not so prominent foreheads. but it seems to me that in this case the very lack of supply creates the demand. Truth be told, I'm just spit-balling here, because I don't want to go and say something that's completely off the wall.

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