The BEST gift Korean parents can give their kids? Plastic surgery, of course!

S. Jin, Dec. 2, 2015, 3:41 p.m.

Plastic surgery is no stranger in South Korea, as many high-school graduates are gifted the surgical procedure as a congratulatory rite of passage. Blepharoplasty, otherwise known as "double eyelid surgery", is the most common procedure among Korean citizens. By the way, did I mention that South Korea was named the plastic surgery capital of the world?

Image of line-up for the 'Miss Daegu 2013' pageant that caused quite a stir after netizens pointed out how disturbingly similar the contestants looked. (Source:

This comes as no surprise, since it's become a cultural norm for one to get their eyes done, with many opting for the exterior change before entering university. It's almost become traditional for South Korean parents to gift their children with plastic surgery, an act of endearment to congratulate them for finishing high school and moving onto college. Instead of rewarding their children with a typical graduation gift such as a car or a vacation (like many American parents), Korean parents seem to give their kids the gift of "beauty". However, with these facts in mind, the obvious question still remains - why?


American technology media outlet 'Tech Insider' delved into the cultural phenomenon, consulting a plastic surgeon in Gangnam to understand the logic behind this unique form of gift-giving. According to the report by 'Tech Insider', the plastic surgeon explained, "Most Koreans, they do not have double eyelids. So, people who do not have any double eyelids, their appearance will look angry when they do not smile. Many Asian people believe that the first impression is very important, and the most important part of the face is the eyes. So, when they have double eyelid surgery, their eye size becomes bigger. So, they believe their appearance will be much prettier than before surgery."

The Gangnam surgeon further divulged, "Korea is a very hugely competitive society, and in the job market, a beautiful face is kind of a great weapon because beautiful people are always chosen first. Of course, it's not true completely. However, many parents believe that. So, when their children graduate from high school, their parents give them a gift - a double eyelid surgery gift."

Many who are familiar with the Korean culture are aware of the fact that out of all things, job applications require potential employees to submit a photo of themselves - even if one's looks has nothing to do with the position! I guess that really puts Korea's cultural emphasis on beauty into perspective, huh?

It seems that Korea's obsession with outer appearance and association between beauty and success has allowed plastic surgery to become part of the Korean culture, forcing many to think they must assimilate in order to be successful. Parents dish out a $1,000 to $3,000 for the procedure, pressured by the desire to have their children be "number 1". However, in a country with a population of a little over 50 million people, how many "number 1"s can there really be just based on looks (especially when everyone begins to look eerily similar)?

Do you think Korea's obsession with outer appearance and being "picked first" has gone too far?

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