“She’s not pretty for a Korean because she’s not Asian enough.” As a Korean girl living in the United States, being judged by someone based on your culture is unavoidable. However, this issue is not only the case for Koreans, but also for Asians across the globe representing their culture.
Wherever people go, there are beauty standards and stereotypes defining what Asians should look like. For example, the main difference we see that are compared with these beauty standards are the westernized beauty standards. In the Korean culture, the difference between the Westernized makeup and the classic “Korean makeup” is widely noticed. Korean makeup is usually for the natural, no makeup look, while the western makeup is widely known for their heavy, mature look with bold eyes and eyebrows. Korean makeup tends to go easy on the eye makeup, using natural colors and tones for the eyeshadow, and not making a winged eye look. They also tend to use red and coral lip products for the lips.
Korean beauty standards are also very homogenous so many people follow the same trends or try to achieve the same look. My non-Korean friend described how Koreans looked when she recently went to Korea, saying “Everywhere I went, all I could see were girls with either very short hair or very long hair, with white skin and red lips.”
This is not the only beauty standard upon Koreans. Another standard is the body and face of what every Korean should look like, with or without makeup. Standards for Koreans are set that they should have pale and clear skin, straight eyebrows, and double eyelids. For the body, Koreans needed to be at a balanced height with a skinny body, and with no tattoos of any sort. Without this, one would not be pretty enough, leading many women to go on diets and go under the knife to make themselves fit in with these standards.
Korean women are known to have “milky, white skin,” while western women have more tanned skin. As a child, sunscreen was always a must whenever going outside. I was told that all women should have clean skin with no sunspots, and that Koreans should have their skin “white.” These constant examples took over my head, leading me to utter shock when seeing my non-Korean friends running at the beach without applying sunscreen.
To wrap things up, this problem should not be continued, and it needs to stop. People should not be judged for they way they look and therefore should not change themselves because they do not fit in with the right standards. Either standards need to disappear in general or people need to become more aware that standards are not meant to define you.