We live in a consumer culture where products and services such as diet pills, slimming creams, weight loss products that tone fat without exercise, liposuction and cosmetic surgery, are just a few of the popular methods that are promoted by advertisers to help people in achieving their ideal body image. Advertisements draw attention to a host of ideologies, by offering products and services that attract consumers who oblige their bodies, minds and souls to achieving the ideal appearance of beauty. Advertisements are present where ever we go, they are present on buses, billboards, in malls, magazines and many more. Advertisements all serve the same purpose of promoting and selling products and services that strive to help people, specifically women, to achieve a slimmer toned body, bigger breasts, and a face that is accepted by society. Advertisements that contain beauty related images, sometimes portray negative effects on a women’s view of her own body image and her perceived idea of how she should actually look (Heyes 2007). This paper will analyze several advertisement ads, their denotative and connotative meanings, where cultural and social context play a role in how advertisements are produced and read. This paper will argue how the effects of advertisements on body image and size results in dangerous and extreme options such as cosmetic surgery, diet pills and slimming creams, and lastly, bulimia and anorexia. This paper will focus primarily on Korean advertisements, where beauty is pursued through extreme methods.
Many Asian countries, especially Korea, are trivialized by their appearances because many are seen as not beautiful enough. In Korea, plastic surgery has now become a massive player in Korean culture, where competition is mainly on wealth, social status and family reputation (GeoPolitics of Beauty 2013). It is very common for women and men in Korea to undergo cosmetic surgery at young ages in order to be viewed as beautiful in their culture. This paper will focus primarily on Korean advertisements for beauty, because unlike Canada, South Korea is ranked number one in the world for having the highest number of cosmetic surgeries done per capita (Korea Bang).
Korean culture believes in extreme beauty methods because “a person’s success or failure is highly determined by facial looks which makes plastic surgery a worthwhile investment” (Unbelievable Facts). Many Koreans undergo cosmetic surgery in order to achieve a westernized look, which includes, fair smooth skin, big eyes with double lids, a tiny nose, and a small face with a V-shaped chin (Featherstone 2013). Now that this paper has explained the root of cosmetic surgery in Korea, this paper will analyze various cosmetic surgery advertisements related to facial and body reconstruction.
The advertisement to the right is one of the many cosmetic advertisements found in South Korea’s subway stations in Seoul. This promotional advertising ad promotes that beauty can be...