“We want to have surgeries while we are young so we can
have our new faces for a long time,”
by Patricia Marx
New Yorker, March 23, 2015
This is a fascinating essay about Plastic Surgery in South Korea, the current world capitol of plastic surgery. Full Article.
If you want to feel bad about your looks, spend some time in Seoul. An eerily high number of women there—and men, too—look like anime princesses.
South Koreans do not merely brood about their physiognomy. They put their money where their mouths—and eyes and noses—used to be.
The walls of the subway stations are plastered with giant ads for plastic-surgery clinics, many picturing twinkly cheerleader types, sometimes wearing jewelled tiaras and sleeveless party dresses, and often standing next to former versions of themselves (“before” pictures)—dour wallflowers with droopy eyes, low-bridged noses, and jawlines shaped like C-clamps.
The author spent a couple of weeks in Seoul’s so-called Improvement Quarter. This area is in the high-end Gangnam district, the Beverly Hills of Seoul. There are between four and five hundred clinics and hospitals within a square mile. Some clinics occupy as many as sixteen floors, and the largest encompass several high-rises.
“Surgery tourists” from abroad make up about a third of the business in South Korea, and, of those, most come from China. One reason is that, throughout Asia, the “Korean wave” of pop culture (called hallyu) shapes not only what music you should listen to but what you should look like while listening to it.
It is estimated that as many as eighty per cent of doctors doing plastic surgery are not certified in the field; these are known as “ghost doctors.” A BBC report mentioned radiologists performing double-eyelid surgeries and psychiatrists operating the liposuction machine. It is believed that nurses and untrained assistants are wielding the scalpel, too. Sometimes a hotshot doctor with a recognizable name will be there to greet the patient, but after the anesthetic kicks in the ghost doctor takes over.
The full article is available online.