Lookism—the stereotype we face today
Lookism—the stereotype we face today
  • Oh Ju-hyun
  • 승인 2014.04.13 00:22
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Oh Ju-hyun

New semester has started. As the new season arrived, many people take out their wallets to buy new clothes that suit the warm weather. When we walk through the various shops around the university, we easily become aware of the fact that the thinner a person is, the prettier the clothes she can buy. To say it simply, the slimmer the prettier. This is only a small tip of the lookism issue in our country. South Korea these days is stressing on their looks more and more, and the worst thing is that the so-called standard of beauty has implicitly, but firmly settled in today’s society.

From what I have experienced so far, there are two serious prejudices Korean society face; looks and degree. Both greatly influence how people think of that person. Such discrimination against those with lower degree of education has been and still is a great problem that we face in current society. However, I believe the greater obstacle has confronted us now-the lookism, or discrimination against one’s appearance.

Since mass media such as news. Internet and social network service has become widespread among people, distributing various photos and videos of celebrities worldwide, people began to overly concern themselves with the trends and their appearance. In addition, as people began to have higher, and somewhat similar level of education and extra-curricular activities, the employers began to select workers that have better appearance in comparison. Such preference on looks are now prevalent in our society; even children tend to discriminate their friends against how they look, as that is what they watch and learn from the grown-ups. Students who have just finished their three years in middle school get plastic surgery as a graduation gift, people of all ages (especially girls) see diet as a homework to last through their lives and plastic surgeon is one of the jobs that earn great money in Korea.

Is this phenomenon normal? I hardly believe so. People nowadays are becoming obsessed with how they look in others’ eyes. Like how they are concerned about their impression on others, they also poke their noses into lives of complete strangers. We can easily observe this in the Internet and social network service, where many celebrities are being witch hunted or praised, depending on their appearance or even other private matters. Although it is said that individualism is spreading nationwide, people seem to bother about others even more frequently and seriously than before-they just don’t dare to say it in front of the person directly.

“How will others look at me if I wear this?,” “I am so fat. People will talk behind my back for sure,” “My nose is too flat. I’d better fill it up with silicon,” These dialogues are very familiar nowadays. I am not stating that plastic surgery, or seeking beauty is wrong. The objective of this column is to say that individuals should not blindly follow the standard of beauty that the society has enforced upon us, and care less about how others think about one’s appearance. That way, we can spend our time, money and effort into something else that may be more worthy and more meaningful for our lives.

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