The K-wave is not just limited to our screens, since over the past couple of years K-beauty has dominated our vanity and seeped into beauty trends. If you are a K-drama lover, you must have noticed the actors’ glass-clear skin, soft smudged lips, and lustrous hair – checks all the boxes when it comes to beauty standards. As an ardent K-drama fanatic, I have always admired these beautiful looks, like Lim Joo-Kyung’s soft schoolgirl makeup in True Beauty or Park Min-young’s clean office look in What’s wrong with secretary Kim? However, K-dramas are popular for showing the topic of beauty in different ways and at some point, this creates unhealthy standards for beauty.
Korean beauty standards shouldn’t be romanticised the way it’s shown on the internet or in shows. However, the fact that the plot inspiration for these comes from the real-life situation in Korea, there’s no denying that women there find it hard to live by unrealistic beauty standards, especially if these become parameters of success in the personal and professional sphere. One of the biggest negative impacts of South Korea’s stringent beauty standards is that K-drama fans may have an unhealthy and distorted view of their bodies.
Here are some K-Dramas that showcases koreans beauty obsession:
1. True Beauty
A rom-com show based on a well-known webtoon with the same name, follows Lim Ju Gyeong (Moon Ga Young), a vivacious and upbeat high school girl who uses makeup to deal with her insecurities regarding her appearance. She learns to master the art of makeup because of her desperation to conceal her bare face from public scrutiny. Her journey in the show is like a mirror for girls who are bullied or feel insecure about their looks. The show perfectly depicts the pressure young girls face to look perfect. It only makes you empathise with the character.
2. She Was Pretty
When Sung-Joon (Park Seo-Joon) was young, he was considered ugly and called fat. He had no friends until popular and beautiful Hye-Jin (Hwang Jung-Eum) becomes friends with him. They hold a special connection till she moves to the US. 15 years later they are set to meet, but the tables have turned. The male protagonist reappears, looking dapper and pulled together and the female character struggles in her profession because of her looks.
3. Shadow Beauty
The webtoon-based K-drama is slightly different from the other romantic k-dramas. It tells the journey of a high-school student Goo Ae Jin, played by Shim Dal Gi, who is labelled ugly by her classmates which affects poor self-esteem. She has a secret identity online as the well-known influencer ‘Genie’ who is known for her flawless looks. One day, her dual personality gets caught by someone and the drama unfolds.
4. Beauty Inside
Based on the superhit original film of the same name, The Beauty Inside (which is a must-watch), is a story about a top actress, Han Se Gae, played by Seo Hyun Jin. The character suffers from an unusual condition that causes her to live with a different appearance for a week each month. The story unfolds into different twists when she meets an airline company executive who suffers from an inability to recognise faces. However, the only person’s face that he is able to recognise is Han Se-Kye’s. Apart from the romance, the show depicts how looks are just a temporary factor in a love story.