Is Cosmetic Surgery about more than just a Pretty Face? A TV show in South Korea Argues that it's more than that.

Aesthetics Hub | 8 Jul 2013

Is cosmetic surgery about more than just a pretty face? A TV show in South Korea argues that for some people, not only their looks but also their lives can be radically improved by going under the knife.

Since its premiere two years ago on female-targeted cable network Story On, “Let Me In,” an English/Korean portmanteau roughly translated as “let women be beautiful,” has invited women with “abnormal” facial or body features to undergo surgical procedures to alter their physical appearance – and increase their self-esteem.

The accounts of their emotional struggles and their stunning transformations have drawn record ratings, along with controversy about the portrayal of plastic surgery in a purely positive light.

At a recent press conference for the launch of the show’s third season, the production team challenged the accusation that the series encouraged more women to undergo potentially dangerous cosmetic surgery.

Park Hyun-woo, the show’s producer, said its selection committee, which includes plastic surgeons and a psychiatrist, only approves those candidates who can be substantially helped by surgery, rather than those looking to get a free makeover.

“Just speaking about their physical appearance issues seemed to make them feel better,” said Mr. Park, adding that the stress from being unattractive is a real issue for the contestants. The number of people applying for the show has grown more than 12 times to 4,300 for the next series, which begins this week with male participants for the first time.

“It’s easy to say the standards of beauty are unfair or wrong, but if you haven’t been in their shoes and couldn’t carry on a normal life because of your looks, you shouldn’t judge,” said Yang Jae-jin, the psychiatrist in the team.

Beauty-related angst is common in South Korea, especially among the younger generation, because of a deep-rooted perception that good looks give you an edge in securing coveted work or other positions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal