South Korea is a hotbed of cosmetic innovations and trends, but it's also dealing with extreme plastic surgery and expectations of beauty. You've already seen how Chinese women are flocking to the nation to alter their appearance (to the point that they are unrecognizable in their passport photos!) but thanks to Korean-American woman Julianna Haahs, we're all getting a closer look at just how problematic these high beauty standards are.
In a public post on Facebook, Julianna explains how her Summer visit to Korea turned ugly when family members ganged up on her. They told her that she used to be pretty, but she gained weight and her "appearance has 'deteriorated'" since her last visit. Despite the fact that these commenters were her elders, she retorted that they couldn't talk to her like this, because it was hurtful (not to mention factually incorrect). Her family said she should be eager to hear this kind of critique, because Americans aren't as direct. She ended up crying after this exchange.
"I'm sharing this personal story because I want to change culture," Julianna explained. "Currently South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita." She went on to explain how her friend spent her life savings to change her whole face with plastic surgery — and still felt ugly afterwards. "An epidemic on beauty has totally swept this nation," she insisted. "If someone's appearance has 'declined,' isn't it better to ask the person what he/she may be going through? Anyone can see the flesh. Only those who love can see the heart."
Julianna's words are a strong reminder that instead of trying to fit everyone into society's narrow parameters of beauty, we should be celebrating what makes all of us different. Read her moving post in its entirety below.