When the “right visual image” is imposed on you


Being Homo sapiens sapiens of primitive family, with two eyes and big brain, many of our conscious and unconscious decisions are based upon what we see.  But, at the same time, being one of the very few “rational animal,” we humans are also capable of making a decision beyond what we see.  I think this created a quiet interesting pattern in all human cultures – “looking good is important” vs. “the quality is important.”  I cannot really assert this with 100% confidence since there are far more countries that I have not lived than I did.  However, in my humble opinion, Northern European countries, Netherlands, and (in some way) US would be latter.  South Korea is definitely the former.  Sometimes too much that it completely overkills the quality.

Talking about visuals, I have to say this: though there are different standards of beauty, if you are a good-looking female, it benefits you.  As a woman, I feel a bit bitter to say this but that’s general truth, and it is partly because of our instinct.  And again, some societies impose this far much more than others.  South Korea, for sure, is one of them.  This is like Brazil of Asia, if you know what I mean.  The girls just have to be skinny (if J. Lo and Beyoncé were Koreans, they would have probably called as fatsos), pretty, perfect with make up, pretty even without makeup, dress nicely all the time (even if doing so causes you bloating legs), cute (and often expensive-looking) bags.  Tons of companies still ask their candidate to enter their height and weight.  I am still offended whenever I see the blanks for my height and weight information.  Hey, I’m not applying for Hooters.

As a woman, it would be a complete lie if I say I am not a bit interested in looking good and not getting fat.  Of course I want to look nice.  But would I still put on a full makeup and a pretty shoulder bag with 6 inch high hill on my way to LSAT class with 2 massive books and 1 big-ass binder?  No, I wouldn’t.  Comfy pants, cotton t-shirt, Birkenstocks and my trustworthy 8-year-old blue Jansports backpack will do.  Honestly, I am quiet happy with what I am, and I try my best to stay that way (but not too overly optimistic and end up being a shipwreck).  I don’t know whether that has something to do with me growing up in US…Or Midwest, not LA.  On the top of that, to me, the term “diet and workout” means that I stay on my BMI recommendation range, eat healthy and make sure I have body muscle, not trying to be like Victoria’s Secret model.  And I believe many American woman nowadays feels same – now, if you are living in LA or NYC or a model, that’s a different story.  But it is just so hard to just be myself and still be confident and succesful in this society.  Too many things are decided by look. Everyone just have to look like girl pop band member – skinny and doll-like face, even if that involves plastic surgery.  Result?  So many girls are underweight and experts worry that many of these women are infertile/high risk group for childbirth, contributing the ever-lowering birth rate of this country.

Now, I have an issue with my mother.  Mostly we get along just fine (better than dad).  Like I said, she is quiet international and open-minded.  However, very often she doesn’t stay open-minded to her very own American-grown daughter.  When I was living away from my family, it was no problem.  But now I am back in Korea, things are different.  Sure, I understand that she wants her daughter to look pretty and “presentable” to others.  She didn’t really get to do that for the past 9 years.  Mostly I just let her to toy with me.  She constantly says how I should get an eye job at a good plastic surgery clinic.  She says how I should wear this and that, even if I have only 30 minutes left to the appointment.  Sure, sure, whatever.  But now that I am working my ass off on LSAT, studying on my own and constantly concerned (if not worried) whether I can get a good score and go to the school I want, hearing this all the time annoy the fuck out of me.  This is my schedule.  Big thing is coming ahead, and that is my #1 concern.  We can talk about other things later.  After I am done with all this turmoil.  And stop saying that how I should re-study my Spanish.  I’m in the middle of studying my fucking LSAT, and I will study whatever language I feel like when I can.

We were on our way back from late-night Costco shopping.  Very cautiously, my dad said maybe I should start watching out for my weight.  I wasnt’ very upset because on things like this, my dad brings it up only when he feels it is necessary (which is one of the wonderful qualities of him).  And I kind of know why – starting from only this week, I slowly started to keep track of my study schedule.  And my PC has been subject to a lot of random troubles, so for the entire week I was staying up until 3 am.  I tend to gain some weight and bloat when I sleep late.  Then my mom bandwagon.  I was thinking “here it goes again…” As I was about to say something, my dad cut her off (THANK YOU!) – “why are you bringing up all these things when you can just tell one thing?  I would be pissed if I were her, so stop complaining that she is just getting angry whenever you mention these things.”  Turned out, my weight was pretty much same.   So I said: “look, my weight is same, and it’s still under my right BMI index.”

“Yes, but you still look fat.

I guess, being Korean, having a skinny, infertile bitch body is better than having a healthy body.  I really had enough of it.

“Right, so in the middle of me studying LSAT, you also want me to get a plastic surgery, and work hard to be Giselle Bundchen, and study Spanish and get 180 on my LSAT…”

Then she got pissed, and just lashed out on me.  I just shrugged and went to my room.

Whenever she brings about proper way to look and dress, very often I just can’t agree.  Most of the time I feel her suggestion is too much for the occasion.  Whenever I say “but Mary/Joe/Sarah is fine!” she says “but they are American.”  This just drives me crazy.  I can’t really say anything.  Yes, on passport and by blood I am Korean.  But she forgets I grew up in Midwest.  Or she just doesn’t want to admit it.

I am just tired to type Korea vs US and all that shit again.

I really want to leave, and stay away.  Everything is so tired.  Yes they are my parents, but I need my space.


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