Is K-Pop Creating a Plastic Surgery ‘Obsession’?
“Inspired by pop stars and encouraged by culture that equates success with physical beauty, the “self-racism subtext” of buying an ideal Korean face” [templatic_button link=”http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/the-k-pop-plastic-surgery-obsession/276215″ size=”medium” type=”info”] Read Full Article [/templatic_button]
This was an interesting article on Korean plastic surgery, which provided some historical and cultural context behind the phenomenon. It’s no secret that cosmetic surgery in Korea is influenced by KPOP, and as “Hallyu ” (The Korean pop wave) becomes more popular abroad it’s starting to create a demand to look like these celebrities. The important takeaway is don’t drop your guard while seeking a doctor, especially if he says he or she says they can make you like like “X” celebrity. That shouldn’t be the deciding factor for your doctor. Make sure to ask the right questions and be diligent in making your decision.
This is especially the case when desiring to getting dramatic procedures such as mandibular reduction or orthognathic surgery done, which is known as “V-Line” in Korea, a marketing term coined by Dr. Park Sang Hoon of ID Hospital. I encourage you to read the article, but here is a snippet.
Clinics in Korea offer the V-line operation to medical tourists and say they only need “stay a week” to see the procedure out. Dr. Spiegel, a U.S.-based surgeon who offers this procedure, says he is wary of people going abroad for surgery.
“There are some great surgeons for this abroad,” said Spiegel. “But just because the price is low, there may be other complications. I often see people who need revisions — and a doctor in another country might end up costing you more if you have any issues.”
Dr. Park disagrees. “After a week all the postoperative care is ended and there is nothing that I can help them with.”
Doron Ringler, chief resident at the maxillofacial oral surgery unit of Columbia College of Dental Medicine, has other ideas. “When we perform the V-line — we call it orthognathic surgery — we have regular follow-ups with the patients. We see them every week for six weeks, and then every three to five months for a year or two.” Ringler frowns, and adjusts the collar of his starched lab coat. “A small percentage of patients have some form of relapse, so it’s important to monitor them.”
None of this was so when the American plastic surgeon Dr. Ralph Millard arrived in South Korea in 1954. Korea was a Japanese colony during the first half of the twentieth century, and then was virtually leveled during the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953. Millard was chief plastic surgeon for the United States Marine Corps. Part of his role was to help treat Korean accident and burn victims. However, Millard decided to “help” in a different way than planned. He performed what Korean academic journals say was the first recorded double eyelid operation in South Korea.
Millard’s reasoning was that creating a more Western look would help Asians assimilate better into an emerging international economy. “The Asian eyelid produces a passive expression which seems to epitomize the stoical and unemotional manner of the Oriental,” he wrote later in The American Journal of Ophthalmology.
The surgery quickly caught on. Its first clientele were Korean prostitutes who were trying to appeal to American soldiers. Surgery for beautification purposes worked its way into mainstream culture. It became commonplace for Korean women to have eyelid operations to give themselves the Western crease, or “double eyelid.”