Home Pop Culture South Korean girls flock to have double eye lid surgery to look...

South Korean girls flock to have double eye lid surgery to look like Western celebrities.

Eyelid surgery involves cutting the outer end of the eyes to make them wider and rounder, something plastic surgeons say boosts confidence.


Eyelid surgery involves cutting the outer end of the eyes to make them wider and rounder, something plastic surgeons say boosts confidence.

The rise of South Korea’s flower boys who outspend on cosmetics than all other men in the world.

So rampant has the desire amongst South Korean youth approximated the status of Western celebrity that many in the country are now turning to double eye lid surgery in the hopes of replicating the eye shapes that their western heroes have.

Now overtaking Brazil as the number one plastic surgery capital of the world (the nation also rules number one when it comes to men buying cosmetics as well) South Korea is now said to have the highest number of surgeries performed per capita.

That said investigating the quest to approximate the stereotypical vision of a western face, Vice magazine’s Charlet Duboc undertakes a video journey as she speaks with a variety of youth about their aspirations.

Asking a young K-pop singer from the band D-Unit why one in five women have undergone some sort of cosmetic procedure in South Korea, which have become popular graduation gifts from students’ parents, the singer replies the following:

‘Because of their distinctive looks, our ideal appearance would be that of westerners. Big round eyes, straight nose, round face.’

Explaining the process is South Korean plastic surgeon Dr Seo from Seo Jae Don Plastic clinic who says in relation to one Japanese girl who has flown in today especially to have her face ‘westernized,’ :

‘We will do eyelid surgery, as well as give her a higher nose. She also has a flat forehead so we’ll extract some fat and inject it into her forehead and chin. By doing so her overall profile will look much more appealing.’

Reflects Dr Seo when asked why his patients insist on the procedure:

“A face with more volume is considered to be more popular these days, having an apple shape face means there’s more chance to change a person’s destiny, they think their fortune will change for the better.”

‘There are lots of girls who come in after breaking up with their boyfriends…there are doctors who cure the illnesses that we can see; we cure the heartbroken people. There is no need to live with a sense of discontent because of their appearance,’

But then again why make one’s sense of discontent all about their appearance in the first place?

This young women (right) was disappointed when Miss Duboc (left) admired her 'natural and unique' look, explaining that her different features, from that of westerners, is what makes her beautiful.

Reflects one youth that Charlet Duboc comes across during Seoul Fashion week:

‘I see many of my friends getting it done. I think our desire to look as pretty as celebrities is far greater than in any other country.’

But not everyone is necessarily gun ho about the trend for plastic surgery. Reflect a make up artist and model respectively:

‘I hate people getting double eyelid surgery, personally I like the natural look.’

‘I think Korean beauty is a look with natural eyelids.’

Ultimately one has to wonder if the desire to replicate the ‘Western’ look has more to say about South east Asian’s desire for Western approval or something to do with self loathing and heightened criticism in their culture that challenges them that only being the best will do, even if it means literally tearing one’s face apart to assume an outwardly identity that is hardly one’s own. Then again define identity and beauty….?

Before and after: South Korean plastic surgeon Dr Seo says women are eager to have Caucasian features.


  1. Double eyelids exist in about half of the korean population, single eyelids also appear commonly on scandinavians. If Asians were trying to make their eyes look Caucasian, why would they remove a feature that occurs in both populations? (Africans and ME do not have that feature.)

    The highest nose bridges occur in the middle east, Caucasians vary, alpine, lapp, etc, do not have high nose bridge, it’s mostly the nordics that have that feature.

    V line chin does not exist in westerners, Europeans besides dinarids, generally have wide faces,(often square.) Thin v shapes are more common in middle eastern populations.

    Clearly, the Asians are trying hard to be middle eastern! No, I’m kidding, that’s stupid, but it actually has a more valid argument than the alternative lol.

    Also..white skin? LOL, That has been a NEA beauty standard forever, Koreans already have white skin.

    The most powerful western nation has a black president, and is only about 60% white.

    The two right after it are Asian, and they are ethnically pure, whereas the highest earners in the US are Asians. Ethnically European countries lag behind China and Japan, (ethnic purity of about 90 and 85% respectively.) only about a fourth of the countries are white countries, and they lag behind dramatically. In terms of power, you can see where the scale really leans.

  2. Yeah well, some koreans and asians in general also claim that it has nothing to do with looking “western”- but then I end up watching sth. like this, and koreans THEMSELVES admit they want to look more “western”. So like it or not, there must be some truth in this, and I do believe that some asians aim specifically for a western look- while some others just want “the double eyelid” and “high nose bridge” and “v-line” because it’s considered pretty by society (who partially was aiming for the western look?!), and caucasians just “coincidentally” happen to have those traits.

    K-pop isn’t even really korean. It’s basically American/European/Western Pop from the 90s 2000s with Korean influance. Basically what it comes down to is that Asians take anything from the Western World and “asianize” – They took a little Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, spice girls and atomic kitten and made K-Pop out of it, and so they also take “the double eyelids”, “high nose bridge”, “v-line” bla bla, add a little pale skin and make an asian version of what a “white person” looks like.

    Does it mean they want to look specifically white/caucasian? Yes. Why? Because Western countries are powerful and basically rule the whole entertainment and marketing industry. (And yes, China is powerful too, but 1. its still on the rise 2. 8 out of 10 powerful countries are still from the west)

    Does it mean they don’t want to look white/caucasian- but just do these surgeries because it makes them prettier? Yes. Because Asians are proud of their country and still want to embrace their culture- which is why racism is really common over there, and I really could imagine that most of them don’t even care about caucasians, though they want to be more like them in some way.

    So it’s a mix what they aim for y’all- a MIX.


  3. i wont have plastic surgery ever. It really scary and totally painful. This is my face, this is how i look its the society’s problem to deal with it! HAHA 🙂

  4. I’m sorry, but have you seen the South Korean girls and their surgeries? A lot of them don’t request to look like Western celebrities/ A lot of them ask to look like their favorite Korean celebrities with doublye eyelids. And since when does have double eyelids mean it’s Western. Fifty percent of the Asian population have double eyelids.

  5. You know, after watching this video, I have made the realisation that I NEVER want to have surgery done to my face. Not just because I hate blood and needles, but because it’s not fair: why should I, an Asian, have to have extra done to look beautiful while a non-Asian is already ‘born with it’? I’ve had no problems with my looks until I realised how many South Koreans were having surgery, and then I began to wonder, “Maybe I should…?”

    I’m still young. I’m 17. But these procedures disgust me. Maybe it’s because of who I am: I’ve always admired uniqueness over beauty, and the first thing I notice about someone is usually their fearlessness, and hence I want to emulate that, be lauded for my creativity and originality rather than my looks (that’s why I’m a musician!). I also have the ‘cursed’ monolids, something I dislike having because it makes my eyes look sleepy, and on a few occasions I have considered if I should change my face when I am older. But then I see pictures of Asian pop stars and I can’t help being repelled by how unnatural and ‘fake’ they looks – sure, they’re beautiful, but the feeling I get is akin to seeing a rich person buying their way into college or university. It feels like they are…cheating biology, somehow. I feel that materialism leads to superficiality, and superficiality leads to selfishness, and that’s where the concept of superiority comes in.

    I suppose I’m glad that I haven’t been brought up in Asia, because I would definitely have given in to these social pressures. Instead, I’ve been brought up with an open mind in a multicultural community where unique people are considered beautiful. I just wish that these people realise that by succumbing to plastic surgery, they are not becoming more beautiful. They are losing their identity. They are beginning to look the same (depending on which plastic surgeon they went to). What kind of self-respect is that?! Not to mention that by telling people they can only be beautiful if they have western features they are promoting racism and hypocrisy – “Oh, I am SO glad I don’t look asian anymore, I was so ugly back then!” I’ve accepted my eye shape and skin colour, though others have not. But what do I care? It’s MY body, not theirs.
    Sorry for the essay, folks. I’m just really angry.

  6. You know here is the thing, beauty does not know one ethnicity. I find this trend of Asian women striving to emulate Caucasian beauty standards very sad. Dr. Stephen Marquardt created what he calls a “Beauty Mask.” The mask is combination of geometrical shapes using the phi ratio that depicts ideal beauty. We may be hard wired to respond to this ratio. It is proportion that in combination with symmetry creates what we call beauty. Research
    has shown that cross culturally, through thousands of variations on the theme, humans find facial symmetry in relation to this Divine Proportion beautiful. I believe recognizing this ratio intuitively is part of the art of a cosmetic surgeon.

    Dr. Rhys Branman
    Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center

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