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Vulnerable Portraits of Korean Plastic Surgery Patients (NSFW)

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

The latest raw data compiled from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in 2010, confirms that South Korea is indeed the country with the world’s highest per capita rate of cosmetic plastic surgery. It is a culture where men are judged on their financial balance sheet and women by their beauty. The male-dominated media endlessly reinforces its model of the ideal woman.  As a result of these cultural forces Korea has become a beauty-oriented society where people are judged more for their appearance than their character. The combination of these factors has dramatically increased the burgeoning plastic surgery industry while creating another set of standards for women to adhere to.—Ji Yeo

Brooklyn-based photographer Ji Yeo believes beauty is integral to human nature. Her current works focus on ideas of beauty in contemporary culture, specifically on how women come to define and enforce an ideal of beauty on themselves. Beauty Recovery Room is a recent series of photographs that were taken in Korea directly after women had undergone plastic surgery operations. Raw and honest, these images are difficult to look at yet hard to turn away from, each one revealing the physical cost that many Korean women bear by adhering to social pressures of attaining beauty—specifically, a more Western look.

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Below are shots of Yeo’s performance portion of the project:

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

Ji_Yeo_Photography

  • Jevon Ryan

    Korea indeed has one of the highest plastic surgery rates in the world, with quick and cheap clinics on every street corner, and indeed there is a profound pressure on women to live up to an ideal, but it is hardly a western ideal as you have stated here. Western ideals of beauty are not as singularly focused as it is in Korean culture in which a single ideal look is what women are after with things like white skin, a v line around the face, a small face, fantastic legs, skinny features, being this specific ideal that is reinforced through the vacuousness of Korean pop music. Western ideals tend to be more diverse in what we would describe as beautiful and some of the ideals such as round curvy women are seen as just plain fat and ugly. However, the biggest point I find that is being missed here is that plastic surgery is just as prevalent and done by men in Korea. Also, men are also harassed and heavily pushed by the same media and the same culture to aspire or live up to a singular ideal with much of the same requirements as women. I love these photos and indeed find them morbidly fascinating and think they do a fantastic job at exposing the lengths and masochism that goes into achieving beauty and the ideal that Korean women are pressured into, but I find that it is missing a bit of the depth and real analysis of Korean culture and how it feels about appearance.

  • Hella Yella

    You sound like a koreaboo. Please, continue to share your profound knowledge of South Korea. I’m sure you do know better than a Korean woman.

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com/ The Sanity Inspector

    My wife likes to watch Korean dramas on the internet, and by now even I can see the extent of the surgery the actors & actresses undergo.

  • http://chroniquesduboutdumonde.com Maya

    I currently live in South Korea and this is a fascinating subject… I can’t tell how many ads for plastic surgery I’ve seen in the subway or in the street so far!
    This article is really interesting, it shows the social and personal pressure women (and men, let’s not forget) have to face to be perfect and match the ideals of beauty praised in the country.

  • Jean K. Min

    BTW, they are all Chinese on a Medical tour to Seoul, an increasingly big income source for plastic surgeons in Seoul. No Korean woman would pose for camera shoot ever.