The Problem With K-Pop’s Lookism and Gendered Body Regimes

Prompt: The essay should be 3 pages long (excluding works cited page), typed in 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and numbered pages.
Please write a 1,000-word media-rich think piece on the problem with K-Pop’s lookism and gendered body regimes. (with an emphasis on plastic surgery in South Korea.) (feel free to narrow or widen the scope of this essay as you see fit.) Your think piece should also be written with a general audience in mind. Unlike a research paper, a think piece aims to stir public discussion about a contemporary topic and consists mainly of background material, personal opinion, and analysis. Think pieces are meant to be succinct and speculative and thus provide ideal places to provoke questions about a problematic idea, assumption, or widely-held belief within our culture, and K-Pop is rife with conflicting value systems, social identities, economic imperatives, and so forth. The strongest pieces begin with a focused question (or set of interrelated questions), and present a clear yet nuanced viewpoint backed by research, compelling analysis, and thought-provoking media references. Your think piece should include 4 total research sources (provided) as well as 3 or more embedded media artifacts (images related to the research topic like a graph showing plastic surgery trends in South Korea). Your 4 research sources and 3 primary media texts should be effectively interwoven into your argument. Your essay should also include in-text citations and footnotes for any scholarly, popular, or media sources referenced as well as a works cited at the end. (please include URL for any media images used.)

Something that stood out to me that you can expand upon, ”In South Korea, photos are required on resumes. And so in the U.S., we tend to think of plastic surgery as something about vanity, luxury. Particularly, the way it’s packaged on reality TV, I think we think of it as the domain of the really rich celebrities. In South Korea, we see an example of plastic surgery becoming a kind of economic necessity. If you are competing for a job with many other people and the economy is hard hit then you have to sort of do all the things that you can to get a leg up on that competition.”

“Pretty Hurts” Podcast by Code Switched (NPR, 2019) [only listen to first 17 minutes]

Lee, Sharon Heijin. “The (Geo)Politics of Beauty: Race, Transnationalism, and Neoliberalism in South Korean Beauty Culture.” [only read chapters 3&4]

Lee, So-Rim. “Performing the Self: Cosmetic Surgery and the Political Economy of Beauty in Korea.” [only read chapter 1]

Epstein and Turnbull, “Girls’ Generation Gender, (Dis)Empowerment, and K-Pop”

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