While living and working in South Korea, I was exposed to a the extreme and often times devastating pressure women experience to maintain he ‘ideal’ body. My co-teacher ‘Charlotte’ shared with me her thoughts on the matter in a candid interview.
From the westerner’s perspective, Korean women appear very thin. Tell me about the pressure you feel to maintain this seemingly unattainable standard of beauty?
So, broadcasters and all the media show beauty and they are so small. Koreans are heavily influenced by this. Also, sizes are made very small. Even men’s sizes are so small. When I buy clothes they are too small, even for me. How can I even sell these clothes? I think everyone thinks thin is more fashionable and good-looking.
How do you diet?
You don’t eat anything. Even though they are starving, they still don’t eat. And they take pills for dieting.
What kind of pills?
Pills that kill the appetite. Sometimes doctors like Korean traditional doctors give pills. They are healthier. But the drug store has pills. Or at the markets. The black market.
Have you tried them?
Yes, just traditional Korean medicine. It was effective but I gained it back. It’s like yoyo dieting, ya know.
Do your parents pressure you to be thin?
Sometimes my mom. Yeah, actually all of my family. They want me thinner. Even my grandma says I look fat.
That’s really mean!
Korean are mean to each other. It’s just common culture.