Monday, January 21, 2008

Beauty ideals in US and Europe leaning towards Asia - the rising of a New Orientalisme?


According to this article in Chosun Ilbo - Ford Supermodels chose a Korean winner for their World model, a title that comes along with US$250,000 plus a contract with Ford Supermodel for the coming 3 years.

First, congratulations to Kang Seung-hyun! who as the virtous Korean daughter hands over all the prize money to her parents.

However, the choice of this years Supermodel just makes me consider 2 issues:

1. It's all about the money, honey!
Is this to be seen as a sign that Europe and US, i.e. Western beauty ideals, are starting to acknowledge Asian features as beautiful ? (or is it rather that this new supermodel will be able to sell products to the growing segment of Asian power shoppers around the world..?)

2. Plastic fantastic!
Koreans' extended use of and acceptance of plastic surgery as a 'natural' means to attain European features = the 'right' kind of beauty - clashes against the tendency in Europe to find a 'new look', a new edgy and exotic yet stereotyped beauty ideal to stir the market.. thus now looking towards Asia and South Korea.

US media even call her "the pearl of the Orient" - need a glass of water to go with that..?!

Well, like I said, just something to consider ;)

2 Comments:

Blogger Betsy said...

#3: The skewed beauty ideal portrayed by today's media. This girl is beautiful, but she's extremely thin-- would she still have gotten the contract if she were a more normal weight?

7:24 AM  
Blogger Naomi said...

In East Asia I would say that IS a 'normal weight'. I am a naturally thin Asian girl and find it unfair when people call my size abnormal. We should stop worrying so much about weight (whether large OR thin) and concern ourselves with being our healthiest--and yes, for some people that is a thinner than most.

8:38 PM  

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