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How Is the Korean Beauty Standard Affecting Teenagers?

Pop Culture

Sun, March 31

Korean beauty standards have not only made their mark in Korea, but they are also highly renowned internationally and impact many people's views of themselves. Thanks to not only social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, but also other media like Korean Idols and K-Dramas, things like “glass skin,” a slim figure, and refined facial features have been at the forefront of many trends, which are typically associated with the Korean beauty standard.

While it can surely motivate people to maintain a better appearance whether it be in makeup or skincare, there are still some consequences associated with it.

So how much are Korean beauty standards affecting teenagers?

The Good Side

One of the biggest things the K-Beauty Standard is known for is the in-depth skincare routines, which are based on thorough step-by-step procedures to not only clean the skin but also prep it for any further make-up usage. Thanks to the strong focus on skincare, teenagers can create positive habits and develop a routine that, in turn, encourages them to prioritize self-care and a healthier lifestyle. Not only that, being able to achieve certain elements of the beauty standard, such as clear skin or experimenting with particular trendy make-up styles, often leads to visible results of self-confidence.

Regardless of whether the confidence stems from personal pride or praise from peers. Therefore, as a result, teenagers are more likely to stay consistent with their found routine as they recognize the importance of a healthy appearance.

Image credits: Rosa Rafael from Unsplash

The Bad Side

On the other hand, it is not wrong to say that teenagers are easily influenced by beauty standards, which mainly affects how they view not only themselves but also others. This results in teenagers being more likely to worry about their appearance and thus needing to conform to those strict standards to be satisfied.

The overflowing presence of K-Idols and celebrities, who represent those high standards, also adds to possible worries teenagers might have, forcing them to try to keep up and look like those people themselves. This also enables teenagers to act and look like someone they are not, rather than being content to be themselves.

A huge factor in all of this is the constant posts and conversations about beauty standards on various social media channels, which contributes to the spread of insecurities. That is because constant exposure to perfect images online may lead to having the desire for an unattainable standard to which teenagers try to compare themselves, ultimately making them feel unhappy with their appearance. In addition, the whole cycle of comparison and self-doubt tends to affect teenagers' mental well-being as well, ultimately leading to things such as low self-esteem.

Image credits: Karelys Ruiz from Unsplash

Opinions of Celebrities

Of course, those ideals are also widespread among Korean celebrities, since it is a major component in the music or film industry to have compelling visuals. They constantly check and examine themselves to fit high standards like clear skin, skinny waists, and symmetrical features. This might also lead to celebrities sticking to a strict diet, maintaining a great appearance all the time as well as resorting to cosmetic surgeries in some cases, just to be able to please the public.

However, not all Korean stars are inclined to accept these kinds of standards immediately. Some of them, are angered by the fact that some people are judged based on how good they look instead of how good of a person they are on the inside. Harsh beauty standards also cause people in the industry to be often ridden with insecurities about their appearance which leads to many of them being scared of being judged by the public.

Nowadays, there is some movement regarding this topic since some celebrities speak out on harsh beauty standards. Rather than saying nothing and staying silent, they use their social media platforms to question beauty standards and encourage everyone to be proud of who they are.

For example, Korean actors such as Park Bo Young, who is mainly recognized for K-dramas like “Strong Girl Bong-Soon” or “Doom at your service," speak out on ruthless beauty standards:

"Honestly, Korean beauty standards are harsh. People are even putting pressure on non-celebrities to be super skinny, and the standards of thinness are just getting worse. […] As long as you’re healthy, I don’t think weight matters."

Additional Concerns

Additionally, it should be mentioned that beauty standards not only affect how teenagers see beauty and perceive themselves, but they may also raise concerns about mental health and the long-term consequences of it. Teenagers, who might feel the pressure to conform to this kind of standard, will start feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or possibly even depressed. All of those feelings will lead to declining mental health, as well as self-esteem issues and overall negative feelings about themselves.

Furthermore, these effects might last beyond teenage years all into adulthood, enabling toxic behaviors and influencing how they see themselves and others throughout their lives. Focusing only on appearance can stop personal growth and prevent happiness, making it hard for individuals to feel good about themselves in any situation.

Image credits: Speckfechta from Unsplash

The Truth

To conclude this article, Korean beauty standards can have both positive and negative effects on teenagers. On one hand, it encourages healthy habits and a good skincare routine, boosting self-confidence. On the other hand, however, it can create the pressure to constantly live up to these standards, which could lead to insecurities forming. Now, trying to meet these beauty standards continuously can have a severe impact on teenagers' mental health, since it could start causing anxiety and even worse, possibly lead to depression.

It is most important for teenagers to find a balance between finding joy in practicing several skincare routines and experimenting with make-up, as well as keeping away from toxic ideals and thoughts about their appearance.

Gia Han Tieu Tran

Writer since Mar, 2024 · 1 published articles

Meet Gia Han Tieu Tran, a viet high school student residing in Germany, who has grown up immersed in bilingualism. Gia Han is a passionate reader, writer, and traveler, finding joy in exploring new worlds through literature and real-life experiences alike.