"Looking" for Success
"Looking" for Success
  • 이은주
  • 승인 2005.04.06 00:00
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   The TV program "Challenge! Cinderella" has been on the air in Korea for more than a year. This program allows ordinary people to apply if they wish to improve their looks in any way. Three challengers, who are chosen out of 1,000 applicants, receive a 100-day makeover treatment and as soon as they are done, new lives are waiting for them in society.
   After the treatment, applicants are challenged to make changes that will affect them at two levels. The external level involves social reasons such as applying for careers and gaining popularity through appearance. These external changes are supposed to bring about internal changes such as increased self-esteem and positive self-concept.
   The term we use for this phenomenon is "lookism." It sets aside ability, knowledge, and humanity, putting importance instead on unconditional beauty. It also frustrates many men and women devoting themselves to preparing for employment by studying at libraries day and night. Unfortunately, "lookism" is all too often one of the primary career strategies used by college students and graduates to get ahead.
   Lee (Anonymous, 24) had exactly six plastic surgeries done before her job interview because of the feeling that she would be favored by the interviewers if she had a better appearance, Lee says, "I desire for better looks is growing in people's minds, and those who are getting ready for their employment interviews are even more aware. She continues, "Even though appearance is not a specifically stated job requirement, it causes people to pay more attention to it because it can be, in reality, one of the most important criteria."
   On the other hand, Christine Gayle, who is teaching English at an academy in Seoul, says, "In America, I didn;t usually attach a picture to my resume during the employment process. I believe that what the company needs to focus on is the person's ability to perform, not the age or appearance." She continued, "People who wish to undergo cosmetic surgery in America must visit a surgeon in Beverly Hills. However, in Korea, people visit any nearby hospital for plastic surgery as if they were visiting a beauty salon."
   People try to overcome their complex by "re-organizing" their looks. For their careers, like Lee, many care about their external looks because the society is creating such an environment. However, Lee mentions, "What is seen is not important; it is the unseen heart that truly matters. The inner beauty of a person allows each to contribute greatly in the society."

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