Cosmetic plastic surgery is a normalized part of South Korean society, though there are many discourses surrounding it. It is not just celebrities who go under the knife to enhance their visuals. Regular people too often opt for various procedures to match up to the strict beauty standards of society.
So, it is not every day that stories about plastic surgeries will get the Korean public worked up. But one woman’s quest for beauty did get them enraged.
In 2014, a popular Korean variety show sparked a huge debate online after airing a “success story” of a woman’s cosmetic surgery. In her pre-surgery photos, she appeared to have a protruded chin and some light blemishing on her skin.
However, her “plain features” and imperfect skin were so appalling to her husband that he apparently wanted to put an end to their marriage. The woman, running out of all other options, signed up to participate in the reality show that would give her plastic surgery.
After the procedures, her facial features changed quite a bit, offering her an “idol-level” glow-up. Her appearance changed so dramatically that her own son couldn’t reportedly recognize her.
The husband, who was so adamant about divorcing his wife, was apparently so taken with her new look that he immediately canceled the plan. He even promised to never bring up divorce again.
While the story was packaged as a rosy narrative with a dramatic happy ending, netizens were not happy with it at all. The episode was criticized for pandering to the harmful perception that one’s looks matter the most in life. People also didn’t like how it marketed plastic surgery as a one-stop solution for everything. The public was also enraged at the husband’s shallow mentality that pushed his wife to an extreme end just to alter her physical appearance.