Korean beauty standards are a distinct feature of Korean culture. South Korea has the highest rate of cosmetic surgeries in the world. Examples of Korean beauty criteria include slimness, a small, V-shaped face, double eyelids that exemplify innocence, and spotless skin that is bright and white.
Plastic surgery began during the Korean War, in the 1950s, as doctors performed reconstructive surgeries on soldiers whose faces sustained injuries. Soon enough, prostitutes became clients of plastic surgery, in order to appeal to western soldiers, altering their faces into more westernized features, simultaneously providing opportunities for plastic surgeons to create businesses. Since then, the business has thrived, with 1 in 5 women from ages 19 to 49 having had plastic surgery at least once, and with 15 percent of the plastic surgery clientele being men. South Korea has also become the country with the highest plastic surgeries per capita in the world, with 980,000 surgeries recorded in 2014.
Korean beauty standards have varied influences, and K-pop is one of the biggest. K-pop have become globalized and exposed around the world; aside from the music, the physical appearance idol artists portray have impacted the beauty standards of Korea. Most Asians are born with single eyelids, flat nose, and wide face but in contrast, Korean idols portray round double eyelids, high bridged noses and small faces. In order to look like Korean idols, cosmetic surgery gradually became an ongoing syndrome among Koreans to receive eyelid surgeries and nose jobs.
Korean students are not allowed to wear make-up and jewellery at schools until graduation. Students, especially girls, have low self-esteem of their appearance and are eager to be more beautiful than others. Many decide to have surgery to change their facial features. Many companies require a photo, height, and even family backgrounds of the applicants as part of the hiring process.
While Korean women are more critical of their body image, many are not satisfied with how they present themselves. There is low-self esteem and less satisfaction in comparison to women from the United States.