The Cost of Beauty: A Look Into Korea’s High Rate of Plastic Surgery
  • by Ethel Navales
  • September 24, 2013
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Based in Brooklyn and Seoul, photographer Ji Yeo strives to call attention to a very controversial aspect of South Korea’s modern-day culture: plastic surgery.

In her series “Beauty Recovery Room,” Ji Yeo captures the scars and bruises of women who have recently undergone plastic surgery. DailyMail explains that by showing the painful recovery, Ji Yeo aims to shine light on the physical cost women endure in “Korea’s beauty-obsessed culture.”

“Plastic surgery has become an integral part of Korea’s current culture, often regarded as an integral step in the self improvement process,” say Ji Yeo. “It is a culture where men are judged on their financial balance sheet and women on their beauty. The male-dominated media endlessly reinforces its model of the idea woman. As a result of these cultural forces Korea has become a beauty-oriented society where people are judged more for their appearance than their character.”

“Beauty Recovery Room” has garnered both positive and negative reactions. Some people believe the take-home message is that women simply go too far to meet societal expectations. Others disagree with Ji Yeo’s focus on the negative. “I think people have a right in our day and age to change whatever physical feature they deem necessary” says a Huffington Post reader.

Check out the images for yourself and tell us what you think:

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Check out all the full gallery here.


  1. It is everyone’s right, of course, that’s how hundreds do it every day. But the fundamental issue is why women feel they need to be cut up. I think plastic surgery is really becoming an addiction and obsession among so many that I’m going to call it too many. I have a very asymmetrical face due to a cleft lip & palate and I live with it every day, even despite the fact that my nose isn’t very functional. I may resort to rhinoplasty, but it won’t be for cosmetic reasons. So you can imagine what I think, as well as what all the others with deformities think about these perfect women who use plastic surgery.

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