Thought-Provoking Photos Document Korea’s Obsession with Beauty

plastic surgery wraps breast augmentation

Nip tucks have apparently spread all over the globe. The pursuit of beauty is a universal aspiration, but it sometimes manifests itself in malignant ways. Many South Koreans have apparently succumbed to the overwhelming influence media has in creating and propagating stereotype beauty standards. This unbridled spread of an idealized “look” seems to have crossed cultural borders.

woman with plastic surgery

Only two elements are needed for this malady to catch fire; an appetite for cosmetic procedure, and a more than willing plastic surgery community. The result is a booming cosmetics surgery industry operating in South Korea. Sadly the proliferation of distorted Asian features, otherwise beautiful in their unaltered state, is becoming all too common. These South Korean women will, like their Caucasian counterparts, also realize someday that their judgment to go under the knife is an undoable procedure they will have to live with.

woman in robe plastic surgery

According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in 2010, South Korea is the leading country with ”the world’s highest per capita rate of cosmetic plastic surgery.” The report further states that “It is a culture where men are judged on their financial balance sheet and women by their beauty.”

woman with wrapped breasts plastic surgery

South Korean photographer Ji Yeo created a series called Beauty Recovery Room that graphically shows the fixation with cosmetic procedures. Post-operative surgery women are shown in their respective recovery rooms, black and blue, some of them obviously in some kind of pain, all more than willing to endure the agonizing process to achieve an unnatural look.

plastic surgery wraps

Ji Yeo elaborates on the series in his website, saying,

Beauty Recovery Room series uses the wounded faces and bodies of women who have recently undergone plastic surgery to show the physical cost of adhering to social pressure in Korea. Plastic surgery has become an integral part of Korea’s current culture, often regarded as a integral step in the self improvement process. Going under the knife, enduring bruises, scars, and being under general anesthetic several times are no longer considered risky or extravagant. They have all had multiple procedures and have plans for future augmentation. The photos were taken directly after their operation while they were resting and waiting to be healed.”

aftermath of plastic surgery

See the Beauty Recovery Room series over here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.