Written byShalini Ojha ·
For long now, South Korean women have been restricted to conformist beauty rules. The eyes have to be big, skin pale, nose bridge high, lips cherry, and a 9:1 body face ratio (meaning the body has to be nine times longer than the face).
But now they are done. They no longer want to spend hours getting ready and therefore are destroying their cosmetics.
Likening living up to the exacting beauty standards to corsets, which women wore long ago, this movement is called 'Escape the Corset'.
Participants of the challenge are destroying costly make-up and posting pictures on social media.
This is a part of a larger push against patriarchy in the country, where women have been demanding equality and action against sexual assault.
It is pertinent to note that South Korea's cosmetic industry is booming. The country gave BB/CC creams and promoted skincare regime including snail slime and donkey milk.
The brands are globally recognized, and from 2012 to 2017, the market grew 7% annually.
According to Euromonitor, the South Korean cosmetic industry is worth $12.5 billion.
The industry is enormous, and so is the pressure.
The unrealistic beauty standards call for women to do 10 steps daily to attain the 'perfect' look. That one-third of young women have gone under the knife, speaks volumes about the culture.
Fortunately, all of this is in the past and women are embracing themselves minus the cosmetics.
About the movement, The Guardian reported that many women see beauty regime as unpaid labor.
Cha Ji-won, whom the daily interviewed, said she spent 100,000 won ($88) on cosmetics every month.
"There's only so much mental energy a person has each day, and I used to spend so much of it worrying about being 'pretty'," she said.
With her cosmetics gone, and her long hair cut, Cha has found herself again. Just like many others.
Another woman who dumped her eye-shadow, foundation, and nail polish said she was frightened to go outside without wearing them. "They can't have any power over me when it's so easy to break them," she said.
Yet another woman said she couldn't believe she applied these products on her face.
With their new-found freedom, women are dedicating time to read, and do other activities.
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나는 예쁜 걸 좋아했다. 예뻐지고 싶었다. 못생긴 내 얼굴이 싫었다. 나는 자존감이 낮아서 6화장9 이라는 가면을 쓰고 다녔다. 눈 위의 선, 빨간 입술로 자존감은 오락가락했다. 민낯을 보여주면 나에게 못생겼다는 말을 할까봐 , 또 자존감이 낮아지고 우울 해 질까봐 항상 화장을 하고 다녔다. 그래서 집 앞의 마트도 화장하고 나가야 했다. 화장이 잘 안 먹은 날에는 학교에 가지않았다. 풀메 중 하나라도 빼먹으면 하루종일 불안해 하고 아이라인을 짝짝이로 그린 날에는 거울을 붙잡고 있었다. - 하지만 이젠 그러지 않아도 된다. 예쁘지 않아도 된다. 가면은 내 본 모습이 아니란 걸 너무 늦게 알았다. 그 동안 나를 괴롭히고 내 삶을 망쳤던 가면을 벗었다. - 탈코르셋을 하면서 나의 본 모습 그대로 사랑 할 수 있게 되었다. 이게 내 얼굴이다. - #페미니스트 #페미니즘 #탈코르셋 #탈코 #탈코르셋은해방입니다 #디폴트 #디폴트운동 #한남 #좆까 #화장 #안해 #탈코르셋전시
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"The movement doesn't only aim to challenge the sexual objectification of women, but also change the status of women as subordinate to men. As a result, we're seeing a change the way women dress," said Lee Na-Young, a women's studies professor at Chung-Ang University in Seoul.
In a country where a TV anchor was once ridiculed because she wore glasses during a show, this movement is perhaps the first step in the right direction.
It is too soon to comment on whether or not this movement will dent the cosmetic industry, but local media reports claim companies are rethinking their strategies and no longer want to prey on women's insecurities.
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