life in korea

Where Looks Matter A Lot

For the first time in my life I was called “dark” and “chubby”. My Korean friend said so. It wasn’t condescending, though LOL. 

She said I was “dark” while we were talking about make-up. We were talking about which shade was good for us. I had to tell her that she was the only one who told me I was dark. She tried to explain to me by comparing my skin color with the fairest of the women here in our building. I am quite fair but I am still “brown” beside the fairest Japanese, Chinese and Korean dolls.

She said  I was “chubby” when I was talking about my bulging tummy which has been my problem area. I do always whine about my noticeable fats but my 5″1 , 52kgs. frame still do not fall under the category of “chubby”.

In my Korean friend’s eyes I am both hahaha. But you will only get to understand this when you live with them and immerse yourself in their concept of what is beautiful. But really, there is no need to get angry.

Just recently, a CNN report said that Korea has become the plastic surgery capital of Asia. Looks (and wealth) badly matter here. It is very common to see Korean ladies with surgery-altered eyes, nose, cheeks (the whole face, basically). It has become a way of life.

Skinny is sexy.  I was advised by the same friend not to eat after 5pm… The regular diet is not to eat after 6pm. But for me it has to be after 5pm because of my extra fats hahaha.


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11 thoughts on “Where Looks Matter A Lot

  1. Hi Ms. Wendy!

    Korea as a plastic surgery capital of Asia – couldn’t agree more! It’s funny that when my husband met one of my female officemates, he told me her cheeks, eyes and shape of the face are not real. This is just an officemate, not even an actress! hahaha.

    On the other hand, there are also some Koreans who have chosen not to undergo plastic surgery and I appreciate them a lot for not being swayed by the pressure of what is the norm here.

    But it’s really rare to see a Korean without makeup. That’s from high school girls to women in old age. I don’t put makeup even when going to work. I remember one officemate asking me if it’s just me, I answered no, many Filipinas don’t wear makeup. In offices, it’s just a simple lipstick and powder. But here in Korea, they put so many layers of cream. They have a complete eye makeup and well done hair. Looks really do matter here a lot.

  2. i have light brown skin. and i’ve had many students who called me black.

    they all tell me that in korea, black or brown, you’re considered black. so, same with cher, i rant back, tell them it’s very easy to have white skin if i want to, with all the glutathione scattered in the market, but no thank you if i will have a face like them. yes, that’s how brutal i become when students emphasize how they dislike brown skin. they tell it straight to my face like they want to say i’m gross and dirty. what i do, i open my webcam, brag that i have beautiful blackish grey eyes, a nice shape of nose, and NO MAKE UP!

    as always, there’s silence..

    i don’t stop from there. i continue, tell them that Filipinos standard of beauty is very high. before we say that a woman is beautiful she must have sparkling eyes and voluptuous body. and what makes Filipino women more beautiful is that we bath at least twice a day. (i say this spontaneously, without sounding mean).

    but.. consequence is, the next day, they’re no longer my student.

    ang gusto nila, sila yung mas maganda. i can’t count anymore how many of my students have told me that in Asia they are the prettiest. they brag about the many sites where people from different countries comment that korean women have the best looks if compared to other asian women.

    well, i release a little bitchiness, make “patol,” and give them many links of the beauty titles we have won in many prestigious pageants. We have 2 Ms. Universe titles — talo na naman sila.

    what surprised me though is that they’re not aware of the fact that white people envy our smooth, brown skin. that westerners find morena beauty very sexy, and they move heaven and earth to achieve tan skin.

    when, for the first time, my students saw our local actors, they couldn’t believe their eyes. As expected, maraming naiinis na mas maganda pala ang mga artista natin. it’s not what they have expected. looking at the pix of our actrors, they’ll say, “they’re beautiful. but I like korean beauty.”

    O, eh di talo na naman sila. they can’t hide their insecurities.

    1. I remember two female officemates laughing because I said one Korean actress (the one married to Jang Dong-gun, Taegukki actor) looks like a Filipina. I felt really insulted. I was thinking why do they think Filipinas are not beautiful? Filipinas look more feminine than Korean women. We have smaller face than they do and that’s one thing they can just always envy us. I can’t imagine how painful the surgery would be to cut off a bone in the jaw just to make their face small. hehehe

  3. The obsession with beauty is too much in Korea. I mean if they want to resort to whatever means in their quest for perfection that’s perfectly alright. That is their right. But to be judgmental about other people. That’s kind of annoying and irritating. Mga pintasera talaga sila. And they give so much value to outside appearances that it has even become a basis for employment. If you look a certain way, you might not get hired for the job even if you have the skills for it. That’s why they resort to surgery…

    1. “And they give so much value to outside appearances that it has even become a basis for employment. If you look a certain way, you might not get hired for the job even if you have the skills for it. That’s why they resort to surgery…”

      I agree.

      But there are Filipinos among us who come over here in Korea and want to blend in. Sometimes, they overdo the blending in that the the physical outcome (dress and make-up) make them look more Korean than the native Koreans hahaha.

  4. there’s this resto in gangnam Alex and I entered. we were shocked to see the long line of people waiting for tables… i was more shocked to see the women who almost all looked alike… it was quite scary actually… and all of them had their chins up.. pagandahan ng pagkagawa siguro. i told Alex i felt uncomfortable.. we jut walked out and went back to the vietnamese resto we saw earlier.

    1. why did you transfer if you liked to eat there?

      aside from knowing that most of these beautiful faces are surgically-altered, i actually admire the poise and the bearing that go with it:-).

      when i was pregnant, i talked to a Korean visitor of another lady living here in our apartment and she actually remarked “All of the moms living here dress well and look good”. that was coming from another Korean who doesn’t look bad herself.

      so, looking at each other from head to foot and concluding whether the other one looks good or not is really just… that. i do that to other women, too, hehehehe… that doesn’t make me bad hahaha.

      1. sobrang mahaba po pila.. hehe.. the resto is really very popular kaso talagang gutom na ko non.
        i felt uncomfortable coz we were “underdressed”..kkk…. alam mo naman kami ni Alex ate, mga ‘cowboy”… just got back from our getaway and we decided to just drop by gangnam to check something then eat…

  5. if you’re considered chubby then i might as well be called a WHALE….i’ve been called hideous by a couple of Korean women(that includes my MIL and my husband’s relatives too)….hahahaha…but i always answer them with i’d rather be FAT and GORGEOUS than skinny but super UGLY…then they were SPEECHLESS!

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