The motives to undergo plastic surgery may seem different from culture to culture at first glance, but they’re more similar than might be imagined.
According to a recent CNN report, affluent Asian patients are increasingly embracing plastic surgery to achieve a more “Western” appearance in the hopes of elevating their prospects. Many believe that a European look could help them to secure a more lucrative career and command more respect and notoriety from their professional peers.
While a variety of procedures can help Asian patients to achieve the look that they’re going for, the most commonly performed include nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, and facial contouring. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is becoming an important destination for medical tourism — that is, the practice of visiting foreign countries for comparatively cost effective or high quality medical services. Dr. Kim Byung Gun, a surgeon working out of Seoul, says that nearly a third of his patients are foreigners. Of that third, nine out of ten are Chinese.
“They can find a much better job,” says Dr. Kim Byung Gun, “if they have a pretty face.”
While the sentiment that good looks bring prosperity may seem frank and vulgar at face value, the fact is that beauty does count for something in personal and professional realms alike. In the West as in the East, many people pursue plastic surgery with hopes of restoring their youth, the charisma of their beauty, and their confidence in themselves.
Jang Hyu Hye, a woman whose interview was included in CNN’s recent report, agrees that good looks can help to open doors. That’s one of the reasons why she’s paying for her daughter’s eyelid surgery.
“Yes, I think it’ll help her,” she says of her daughter’s upcoming procedure. “This is a society where you have to be pretty to get ahead. She’s my only daughter.”
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