Thursday, September 26, 2013

External Beauty and Society

Korea leads the world in the percentage of the population who have had cosmetic surgery. In Seoul, it is estimated that 20 percent of the women have undergone some type of cosmetic surgery. The possible changes are many, with doctors able to do pretty much what the patients want. Helping to enhance the emotional life of someone who is troubled by their appearance by providing a more attractive appearance is a modern phenomenon. And the public's acceptance of the procedure is growing: who would not want a more attractive appearance? 

The stigma once associated with the procedure seems to have disappeared, and those who have had the procedure openly discuss what they have done. One beauty queen, after receiving some  criticism on taking unfair advantage of her competitors with her surgery, freely admitted she never said she was born beautiful.

The women of Korea are, by most standards, considered beautiful, and when a woman feels less than beautiful the prospects of feeling comfortable living in Korea may not be easy. "La bella figura" (a fine appearance) is obviously not  only an Italian trait; Koreans are also no slouches in their desire to put forward the best they can be. In fairness to the Italians, the expression also means presenting a good image and proper behavior, but it's understood that physical appearance is what comes first to the eyes of the beholder, and perhaps is the most important trait to have.

In the "Seoul Catholic Bulletin," a short article describes how women have no difficulty in competing with the men when it comes to higher civil-service  examinations. However, the writer mentions an article he recently read that left him bewildered. Many women who have been among the elite in their field, passing the government higher examinations and entering the Judicial Research and Training Institute, have opted for cosmetic surgery. To find a job, even in fields requiring a high degree of competence, where appearance would seem not to matter, ability is not the only asset, he was surprised to learn, that is desired by the employers. The competition is stiff and to lure clients the appearance of the lawyer is of no small value.
As Catholics it is not easy to talk about the subject of cosmetic surgery. It is often a very subjective area of a person's life, which can make a big difference in the quality of life that develops after the surgery. What can be said is that vanity, a lack of personal self-worth, wanting to impress, and a desire to heal psychic wounds may not be the best of reasons for surgery. They may be very good reasons to work with less invasive and more rewarding internal procedures for the desired changes we would like to see in our lives.

1 comment:

  1. greetings from Switzerland! what a hazard, I found your blog. I find it very interesting. thank you and keep on giving such quality posts. Sister My-Lan, spc