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Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia$
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S. Heijin Lee, Christina H. Moon, and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479892150

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479892150.001.0001

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Beauty between Empires

Beauty between Empires

Global Feminisms, Plastic Surgery, and the Trouble with Self-Esteem

(p.69) 3 Beauty between Empires
Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia

S. Heijin Lee

NYU Press

This chapter examines how and why Korean plastic surgery consumption occupied the minds of Jezebel (a mainstream US feminist blog) writers, editors, and millions of readers as well as Womenlink’s (Korea’s premiere feminist non-profit organization) members, panelists, and forum attendees at roughly the same time from 2012 to2013—feminists from opposite ends of the world so to speak. By closely reading Jezebel’s coverage of the topic and juxtaposing it with Womenlink’s activism in Korea, this chapter examines first, the role of social media sites in US discourses about Korean women’s bodies. How have social media sites renewed fetishized interest in Korean bodies while fueling cosmetic surgery consumption in Korea itself? Second, both groups agree that Korean plastic surgery consumption is a feminist “problem,” yet their differing geopolitical locations and political investments affect their articulation and understanding of this particular problem. How might we think about these two feminist groups relationally?

Keywords:   Jezebel, Womenlink, feminism, global feminism, plastic surgery, Korean pop culture, Korea, social media

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