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I Want To Be Good Looking
  • Kim Dong-ho, Kim Hye-jeong
  • 승인 2002.10.17 13:40
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Ms. A (34) has been idle in her  house for the past few days. She tried  to get a job several times but she repeatedly failed. Whenever she applied to a company, her documents always passed its screening. However, she was always rejected at the final interview. She graduated from a brand name university and made excellent grades in all her studies. What in the world was wrong with her? The bitter reason was her homely appearance! Is it a reality of Korean society that one's employment depends on his/her appearance? This cover story examines the various aspects of plastic surgery and what factors promote its boom among graduates and undergraduates........................Ed.

Part I. The Actual State of Plastic Surgery
Some researchers date plastic surgery's origin to India in B.C. 2000. At that time, Indians punished criminals by cutting their noses. So criminals had to graft skin from their arms to put over their noses. In Korea, plastic surgery was common in the 1970s. And Yonsei University College of Medicine in Severance Hospital first introduced plastic surgery into its curriculum in 1960.
A century ago, most Korean people didn't even cut their hair. That kind of custom came from the Chinese Confucian tradition of preserving their bodies without alternation out of respect for their ancestors. However, the idea was wholly changed by accelerated westernization after the Industrial Revolution. Today, as a result, plastic surgery has become more fashionable and socially acceptable. We can easily find plastic surgeon clinics in most buildings in Apgujeong-dong. And many Japanese travel to Korea to get their plastic surgery done for a cheaper price. According to TIME  (Aug. 5 issue), about 10 percent of Korean adults endured plastic surgery, and some children even have eyelid surgery. And Korea is becoming known as the "Republic of Plastic Surgery."
         
Part II. Opinions About Plastic Surgery
 -Hostile Argument
 Plastic surgery is indispensible to a person whose outward appearance has been damaged from congenital malformation or from burns or an accident. However, plastic surgery misleads people into thinking that it will make them happy. And it can be a dangerous operation on a sound body sometimes.
It is true that happiness comes from spontaneity. Also, one's real self-respect cannot be restored by transforming a part of body through plastic surgery. We can know that when we see people having plastic surgery several times and still grumbling about their appearance.
We should end this obsession with plastic surgery. It's right that the media criticizes fanatic  Korean believers in plastic surgery.
         
-Favorable Argument
Pursuing beauty is not a decadent trend of the moment. It is a brave adventure and a right of a new generation.
Many people think their outward appearance is a core criteria of beauty. That is, we  live in a rough world in which it is difficult to live successfully with ugly looks. And trying to improve one's appearance is not decadent but an action that is directly related to one's success.
Plastic surgery is a good method that can help heal people who have a sense of shame or anthrophobia because of their appearance. It is not limited to a certain social stratum any more. It is there for everyone. After getting proper medical advice about plastic surgery, it is one's own decision whether to have the surgery or not. Nobody can deny that we can win a person's favor through our nice appearance. Plastic surgery can be a
great benefit to those who choose it.

 Part Ⅲ. Survey
 The Post conducted a random survey on plastic surgery with 190 students.

1. What's your opinion about plastic surgery?
① Positive (53.2%)
② Negative (14.8%)
③ I don't care about that. (30.5%)
④ I don't know. (1.5%)

2. Have you ever considered having plastic surgery?
① Yes (35.3%)
② No (64.7%)

3. Would you have plastic surgery if there were no side effects and it wasn't too expensive?
① Yes (57.4%)
② No (39%)
③ No response (3.6%)

4.  Have you ever undergone plastic surgery to attain beauty?
① Yes (8.4%)
② No (91.6%)

Plastic surgery is not bad..................................53.2%
Most students replied in the affirmative about plastic surgery. 57.4 percent of respondents would get plastic surgery if possible. The main factor that keeps students   from getting plastic surgery is not Confucianism but money.


5. Plastic surgery is in vogue in today's Korean society. What's the reason for people getting plastic surgery?
① Pursuing beauty (53.2%)
② To get a job or married (21%)
③ To remove a scar (2.6%)
④ To follow the fashion (4.2%)
⑤ Others (19%)

I want to be more beautiful.................53.2%
53.2 percent of students replied that people have plastic surgery because they want to be more beautiful. And 21 percent of respondents said, "People do it to get a job or married." 19 percent of students have a different opinion. According to them, the reason why people have plastic surgery is to "restore a sense of inferiority," "social atmosphere," or "dissatisfied with reality" and so on. In conclusion, DU students think that Lookism is spreading in Korean society.


6. Recently, the rate of men who have plastic surgery is increasing. What's your opinion about that?
① I don't care about that. (33%)
② I can understand if there are reasons. (39%)
③ It's not good. (26%)
④ It's impossible for  men to have  plastic surgery. (2%)

7.  Would you mind if your spouse had plastic surgery?
① I wouldn't care. (56%)
② Even though I wouldn't like it, I would understand. (32%)
③ I would never understand. (7.4%)
④ Others (4.6%)

Recently, the press dealt with men's plastic surgery. Most of the men who had plastic surgery said, "It gave me self-confidence and improved the quality of my life." DU students replied in the affirmative about plastic surgery for men. Is plastic surgery still only for women? Moreover, 56 percent of students would accept their spouses having cosmetic surgery.


8. Please write about some cases related to the side effects of plastic surgery that you have heard about. And write stories of your friends or acquaintances who got plastic surgery.
♣ The following reply is a common opinion of DU students.
Before graduating from high school, many students, especially women, had a eyelid or nose surgery.
♣ Side effects
The swollen eyelids did not subside.
Surgical scars stayed on the face.
Eyes don't close well.
The color of the part of the face which had an operation is different from other parts of the face.
It is unnatural.


9. Tell me your opinion about Korean society as the "Republic of Plastic Surgery."
Pursuing beauty is a natural thing.
To our shame, we must confess it.
The most valuable thing is BEAUTY.
First of all, have an operation for your MIND.
We have to respect individuality.
I would rather help the poor than have a plastic surgery.
It is sad that people judge a person by his/her appearance.
We must end Lookism.
Is it wrong? Why? People all over the world undergo plastic surgery.
Have confidence in your outward appearance.
People will consider the merits and demerits of plastic surgery as time goes by.
I don't care. / I don't know about it.
Please be prudent!!


<Conclusion>
Most DU students are generally showing affirmative attitudes toward plastic surgery, though they think that we must seriously consider "Lookism (pursuing beauty extremely)." However, pursuing beauty is also natural for human beings. What's your  opinion about plastic surgery? Are you going to fine a good surgeon to improve your appearance?


Part IV. Some Questions About Plastic Surgery
The Post interviewed Shin Keuk-shun, a plastic surgery specialist at Dr. Shin's Aesthetic Clinic.

Post: What's the main purpose of plastic surgery?
Shin: There are some people who suffer due to their bad-looking outward appearance caused by nature or because of the wear and tear of their lifetime. They are keenly aware of the necessity of plastic surgery for a better life. Many students want to find better jobs or better spouses through plastic surgery.

Post: Nowadays, why is the number of males having plastic surgery increasing so fast?
Shin: It's true that plastic surgery for the male is rapidly increasing nowadays. Especially young men, who are faced with employment or marriage, prefer plastic surgery. Outward appearance has become as important as each person's abilities. For  that reason, many young men choose to have plastic surgery. Most males want to improve their eyes and noses. And men in their middle age prefer to get rid of wrinkles on their faces.

Post: We are concerned about the merits and weak points of plastic surgery. Can you tell us about them?
Shin: Some of my patients felt mental satisfaction after their surgery. They said it was like being on a sweet vacation for one year. When I heard this, I was so happy. But I have often seen people who showed toxic symptoms after surgery. In this case, doctors should not let them have the operation any more.

Post: What are the important things to consider before plastic surgery?
Shin: This is a frequently asked question. Here are my seven principles.
1. Plastic surgery is not God's hand.
It can make A into A+, not C into A.
2. There is always the possibility of side effects.
3. Please lower your expectations through enough consultations with your doctor.
4. Meet your surgeon before the operation and get to know him/her.
5. Have a health examination that measures blood pressure and the heart condition before plastic surgery.
6. Be careful about the doctor you choose.
7. It will take 3-6 months to recover your looks after surgery.

Kim Dong-ho, Kim Hye-jeong  dgudp@dongguk.edu

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