Without me stating it, it’s evident that each country from either side of the world has expectations of what they would consider as the ideal body image for men and women; these being upheld within societies. The reason why I’m writing this post is due to the fact that I have become more self-conscious of my body since moving to South Korea from the UK.
Absolutely everywhere in South East Asia as a whole (please don’t get offended for me mentioning how I feel) are obsessed with maintaining an idolised body mass. I understand well that using the BMI scale (body mass index) provides a guideline for enabling people to promote a healthily lifestyle and physique in order to avoid diet related illnesses and diseases, but why should I as a healthy person who is neither fat nor skinny made to feel like I am overweight and overall just a unattractive individual?
Constantly in South Korea I see advertisements via social media, at the subway station and all over sections of YouTube for products relating to weight loss and physical appearance. Diet shakes, food substitutes and clothing for hiding or adjusting body parts are just a few to mention. The women used in these commercials barely have any so called imperfections; the slightest signs of cellulite or stretch marks suggestively need to be ‘corrected’ plus everything from thighs to calves should fit within certain measurements.
The adverts use editing and ‘tricks’ to their advantage for increasing the shock factor of how supposedly these women are out of shape. They in reel customers with emotion conjuring stories and imagery making the actors/actresses relatable to the audience, they make the actresses wear ill-fitting clothing to make their stomachs seem larger than in reality, furthermore highlighting that the women do not meet weight targets favoured in society.
Repeatedly I see that South Koreans in particular consider 46-48kg/7.2-7.5 Stone (or UK dress sizes 6-8 or smaller) being the weight women should strive: for not a kilogramme more. Height and genetics not even being an accounted factor. I don’t feel comfortable with stating my dress size or weight, just incase there is a backlash, but I can assure you that I am of a healthy body weight and far from being obese – infact almost being in the underweight category according to a doctor I saw for another reason.
I don’t see these bad habits changing in Korea anytime soon, I would just love to discover a way to live comfortably and peaceful in mind whilst surrounded by an environment that occasionally makes me feel disgusted with myself. Honestly one of the main reasons why I am hesitant to have a child or children stems from matters like this. Why would I want to bring a child into a world were he/she should be made to feel like they aren’t beautiful?