The ironies abound. The implications sicken. The stomach turns.
So, in a country in which women are pressured to look more Western to look "prettier" in job interviews and get ahead in an extremely lookist society, now even the artificial female servants are required to go under the knife in order to best meet the perceived needs of customer service. (Hat tip to Popular Gusts for their original post).
So, like the Detroit auto worker in the 1980's, do we have to look forward to a time when actual woman can't even undergo plastic surgery to land that perfect job, since the "flower of the office" will be the perfect marriage of beauty and robotic utility?
I used to quip that Korean women actors were starting to look positively "robotic" – but now, even the robots are looking...umm...absolutely...uhh...as humanistically artificially and Eurocentrically enhanced as the people? You'd think they'd get a robot right the first time. After all, we made it.
Just as a reminder, here's what Korean women used to look like – and these are "stewardesses," the cream of the crop of any age, so one can't say I'm unfairly comparing these apples and oranges – taken from a cool little site that has a history of the model stewardess uniforms for Korean airlines over time:
Don't these ladies from the 60's and 70's look different? Let's go way, way back and much higher up the beauty food chain, to Miss Korea contestants from 1957. Check this out, from this cool site:
Korea before probably anyone but really, really elite could afford to go under the knife, although some people obviously did, even back in '57:
But man, the procedures weren't that good.
Here's some stuff I picked up from a retro LP site, where I'm glad to see some people rocking the old, old shit. This stuff is so old school, it's new. And you gotta check out ajussi at the end, just cold chillin' in the b-boy stance, with the pimp glasses. Back when it was all pure. But what you should notice is that Korean women just plain looked different than the people you see coming out in similar entertainment venues today.
"Hit it, Run!"
"My name's McDaniels, not McDonald's / the rhymes are Darryl's, the burgers are Ronald's!"
I digress. Even if some of the ladies above have had plastic surgery (and it looks like maybe a couple did), it still didn't do much to fundamentally change the face of Korean beauty into that of a new race altogether.
Point is, how do you go from all that above to this?
Let's not even get into the subject of obvious plastic surgery lines, or even more obviously apparent eating disorders:
Look at it objectively, without having become accustomed to this new look. Genetically, we're not talking much change over the last 30 years, but Koreans on television and on the streets are actually starting to look like a different race of people.
What Korea is really pioneering is an entire new aesthetic, a mixture of European beauty standards and surgical interpretations of them on Korean faces. Seriously. I'm not being facetious (hehe) here. When I came in 1994 and watched Korean TV, I could tell people apart, and they looked more, well...umm...Korean. Now, it's literally like a new race of people I see both on screens and in the streets.
Yeah, she's "pretty." No doubt about that. But so are Japanese anime characters "cute." What gets me is that the beauty standard – nay, even the standard of "normal" – is getting further and further away from being anywhere close to natural. The face directly above isn't really Korean, nor is it European. It's just something...else.
I'm not really bitching or moaning, nor am I pointing fingers; I am merely trying to convey how weirded out I feel about the fact that even in the space of a decade, it's like this country is being populated by a whole different race of people.
Here – see the difference surgery can make between genes and beauty memes:
And they're even making the robots go under the knife to match the fantasy.
Apparently the first version of the robot (above left and on the face pictured below) was just not realistic enough, and actually kinda "homely." And the second version definitely looks like it was dressed according to a bunch of mostly male scientist and engineers' fantasy of what a women should be, although without any fashion sense.
As I've always said, I think the Korean conception of post-surgery "pretty" to be pretty scary. Personally, I find the original android looks just fine – and in fact, already Western-looking enough. The "upgrade" really makes me wanna run for my life.
My point is, just like the meeting of European beauty standards on Korean flesh through the magic of surgery, the "upgrades" actually look less and less like any human I've ever seen.
And does it bother anyone that the so much energy around the first iteration of robotic androids makes such an active link between female sexual attractiveness and service jobs?
I mean, what do you think the doumi and the women and the front desk of most office buildings do? Well, it appears, not much that an attractive female android won't be doing in the near future. And if you think the shape of things to come isn't determined by the very human foibles of the cultures that produce it, you haven't read my posts about Korean battle droids sent to patrol the DMZ, or the one about the growing culture of fully articulated sex dolls. If you don't see fully operational sex androids within the next 15 years, you can slap my ass and call me "Charlie." And you know they'll be developed in Korea or Japan first.
Look at the direction this is already going.
It's indeed a brave new world we'll be entering. But at least the American sex doll looks real.