Euny Hong joins guest host Terry O’Reilly to discuss the ubiquity of plastic surgery in South Korea, where it is believed one in three women have gone under the knife in recent years.

Hong, author of The Birth of Korean Cool, explains the cultural factors driving their popularity, and sheds light on the growing counter-trend that inspired the new Back to my Face reality show.
Watch the trailer for the Back to my Face reality show, mentioned in the interview, below. The show has attracted contestants who have had at least 10 procedures and now want to return to some version of their pre-surgical look.

Western Eyes
Hong, who herself has undergone eyelid surgery, doesn’t think South Korean women seeking plastic surgery are necessarily trying to look more Western.

“None of these people actually look more Caucasian,” Hong says, “It’s true that they want bigger eyes, but this pre-dates significant contact with the west and it also pre-dates the prevalence of plastic surgery.”
Filmmaker Ann Shin’s NFB documentary, Western Eyes (2000), explores similar themes while following two Canadian women of Filipino and Korean heritage.

Western Eyes by Ann Shin, National Film Board of Canada

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