Lookism in South Korea

A social issue which concern me is loookism in South Korea. Lookism means being treated differently according to a person’s appearance. When comparing people to beauty standards, attractive people get benefits, and unattractive people get disadvantaged. Attractive people are assumed to be more friendly, intelligent, and productive than their less comely counterparts, regardless of their actual traits.Because of this, plastic surgery and extreme dieting have become common in Korea. There are large eyes, white skin, convex forehead, and slim figure are elements of Korean beauty standard. While not classified in the same way as racial, cultural, sexual discrimination, “lookism” is widespread and affects how people are perceived as well as affecting their opportunities in terms of relationships and, job opportunities, etc.

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The main factor that encourages lookism is the influence of media. In a Korean drama ‘Boys Over Flowers(2009)’, the main character is audacious and unfriendly to other people, but is tolerated by others because he is handsomeand tall. In addition, the media sometimes praises people merely for their appearance. For instance, there was a television program called ‘Era of Beauties’. The casts of this program are selected and evaluated solely by their appearance. Even in comedy programs, people often use their appeance as a joke. These media can give impression to people that lookism is natural and right.Also, the media injected the idea into the unconscious mind that attractive people get interested and gain benefits. The most serious thing is that lookism has a greater impact on young people.


To solve this problem, efforts to improve the content of the media are required.The media has a great influence on people’s unconscious.They need to convey through various methods that it is okay to look unattractive to Korean.They must not use the people’s appearance to laughing stock. A marketing poster of Red Shoes and The Seven Dwarf was controversial because of body shape. Along with the phrase ‘What if Snow White was no longer beautiful?’, two picture were displayed together. One of them was slim Snow White, and another was fat Snow white. The poster was criticized by netizens because it planted a perception that fat girl are not beautiful.


In my opinion, defining‘the certain facial features and physical characteristics are not attractive’ has to be eliminated. People have to know that they are beautiful,even if they don’t have slim body, white skin, and proper height. A famous fashion brand ‘Abercreombie& Fitch’ said that they do not make clothes of XL size because they targeted only for attractive people. However, Jess Baker criticized the company that they consider attraction and fat are could not be compatible. She also said, ‘ There is nothing wrong with your appearance, but the media’s standards and discrimination is wrong. ‘ Likewise, individuals can solve the problem of lookism by knowing that they are worth enough to be loved with the way they are.

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