Shift of Aesthetic Standards

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The pursuit of beauty is a basic human desire. Trying to live a young and healthy life is one thing, and endeavoring simply to look young is another. Everyone shines with one’s unique beauty. A famous actress Audrey Hepburn wrote “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows.” Youth and beauty comes from healthy and fresh ways of lives, not from wrinkleless medical marvels

Submitted: July 07, 2008

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Submitted: July 07, 2008

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Shift of Aesthetic Standards (from Sexy to Dong-an (looking young for one's age))
 
The new era of beauty has come. The model industry is generally considered to be at the head of our society’s vogue. In the model industry, Gisele Bünchen who is famous for her sexy and mature look used to draw a lot of attention from the audience. But nowadays, Gemma Ward who is well known for her round face and small lips which look like those of a baby is getting more and more popular. This kind of trend is now happening in Korea, too. According to the ranking of NAVER, sexy icon, Hyo-ree Lee stepped down from her throne recently and gave way to a teenage girl group called WONDER GIRLS.  The new trend of Dong-an swept away the sexy and mature look.
 
Backgrounds of the Fever for Dong-an
?Your Appearance Talks!
In Korea, unlike western countries, a picture of oneself is the essential requirement for the your résumé. We can infer from this fact that appearance matters in Korea. However, Lookism is an already widespread phenomenon throughout the world. Thousands and thousands of people go to the aesthetic clinic and consult plastic surgeons to look beautiful and young. Many people are on diets to have what is considered a more desirable body. Botox is becoming a buzzword! The New York Times columnist, William Safire, mentioned on his column that lookism is on the same level of racism, sexism and ageism.
 
? Collapse of the Age-wise Stereotype in Love Relationships
Even a few years ago, it was a common idea that men should generally be older than their loved counterparts. Recently, however, aspects of love relationships are changing; Men are becoming younger than the women. There is no better exemplification for this than Demi Moore and Ashton Kutsher. Demi Moore is 16 years older than her husband Ashton Kutsher. This suggests that the fixed idea of what the ages of men and women should be like between lovers is collapsing in modern society. Chances to select one's love become broader both for men and women. Consequently, this makes people have stronger desires to look like Dong-an and look fresh.
 
? Dissolution of Authoritarian Social Structures
Korean society has been represented as an authoritarian structure, based on seniority. Conversations have hardly started before the age borderline is drawn between the participants. However, the current social conditions such as the dropping birth rate and the tendency to become a graying society brought deep aspiration for staying in youth. In addition, experience of the IMF CRISES and changes in the industrial structure such as reducing bureaucracies, increasing semi conductor employees and IT based operation systems planted the negative perception against being old and reversely positive image of the youth. And it brought the definite preference for the youth, which has in turn loosened the vertical authoritarian social structures. Wrinkles are no longer recognized as ' A Medal of Time and Tide', instead considered as the symbol of being old.
 
Problems with the Fever for Dong-an
There are mainly two points at this social move toward Dong-an. First, it unifies the definitions of beauty and spreads Lookism. And secondly, it includes the binary ideology that discriminates against 'growing old' and worships 'youth'. Dong-an fever oppresses the manifestation of one’s unique beauty and individuality and forces people into the stereotype of 'Dong-an'. Besides, the fever tends to build a social ambiance that puts youth in the same category as beauty and talent while the 'aging', ugliness and impotence. It Forces people to consider desirable beauty and disregard individuality. Our society puts more weight on one's appearance in its desire for the youth than on the living styles or ways of thinking. In other words, with the collapse of the social systems based on age-wise vertical authoritarian structures, the careers obtained by the age and time is degraded to be antique and trivial.
 
Suggestion of Solutions
The solutions for those problems with the fever for the Dong-an are simple; Do not limit the meaning of 'Dong-an' to the factors related with appearance, instead expand its meaning to healthy and young living styles or ways of thinking.
Another solution is to let people admit and enjoy the various types of beauty. People in their sixties have their own beauties like clemency or comforting mood as much as those in their teens with sharpness and freshness. When individuals seek their own beauties and in turn our society accepts the diversity, we can settle the issue.
 
The pursuit of beauty is a basic human desire. Trying to live a young and healthy life is one thing, and endeavoring simply to look young is another. Everyone shines with one’s unique beauty. A famous actress Audrey Hepburn wrote “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows.” Youth and beauty comes from healthy and fresh ways of lives, not from wrinkleless medical marvels. What kind of Dong-an is it that you are seeking for?
 


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