Actually, no they don’t. That title is a blatant racist stereotype – however in the case of the 2013 Miss Korea beauty pageant, it is funnily enough the case.
The below image has gone viral (for the record, I absolutely hate this term), cycling through all 20 contestants and damn if they don’t look identical. Why you ask? Plastic surgery.
I have a bit of a confession to make. Over the past year or two, I’ve developed a bit of an addiction to K-Pop. Yes I am about 20 years older than the target market, and a lot hairer, but hey, I like Asian music ok! It was also a bit of a Sunday morning ritual to wake up, and watch SBSPopAsia on SBS while I ate my breakfast and relaxed with a coffee.
Initially I was simply amused by the randomness of these South Korean pop stars. The first real appeal was the fact that these were not simply boy or girl bands, these were EPIC boy or girl bands – think a boy band with like THIRTEEN members (hello Super Junior) – and the same deal with the girl groups.
K-Pop was initially one of those styles of music that makes you laugh because it was simply so naff. Here were these polished South Koreans trying to emulate African American rappers, and your standard oldschool white boybands – but just didn’t seem to get it.
Flash forward until present, and somewhere along the line, familiarity has somehow evolved into a form of liking it, and ok ok I admit it, I like it!
Though as I marvelled at these squeaky clean, sparkling South Koreans, I often wondered – are they simply a good looking race? Is there just a higher proportion of cutesy looking females in that particular peninsula than most other parts of Asia? The answer is no – the answer is in fact, plastic surgery.
Plastic surgery in South Korea is rampant. It’s like the problem with ultra-thin western supermodels influencing the look of teenagers - but in South Korea, it’s plastic surgery.
The most popular form of surgery is initially the double-eyelid – which is essentially creating a second lid by lifting up the original lid – giving the effect of two small eyelids. While my description of it is somewhat freaky, in reality, it simply makes their eyes larger/wider, while still maintaining that distinctive Asian look.
When I think about how many people in China wore glasses, and how they go to lengths to exercise their eyes in class and so on due to widespread vision issues – I actually wonder if this double eyelid surgery might help (but I of course are no doctor).
But double eyelid surgery is just the beginning. For those with cash (or parents who want a kid that’s better looking), it then evolves into adjusted noses, chins, cheeks, you name it. The end result is Miss Korea 2013 – where every contestant almost looks identical.
On one side South Korea has issues with a very naughty neighbour. On the other – a new generation of younglings thinking they’re ugly in comparison to their plastic perfect pop idols. And what is the solution? God only knows at this point. K-Pop is going through the roof worldwide – having already exploded through Japan many years ago. Plastic surgery is not going anywhere, not anytime soon, anyway.