Shocker of the day: plastic surgeons work hard to defend their profession. In South Korea, surgeons who perform "smile surgery" or plastic surgery that lifts the corners of the mouth (known in the United States as a "valentine anguloplasty") say that they're helping people fight gravity, especially women who want to look happier at work.
The Wall Street Journal reports that surgeons in South Korea have seen a rise in this particular form of body enhancement, especially among younger women who might not yet be seeing the full affects of aging. A few choice quotes:
“Even when you are looking like your normal self, people keep asking you: ‘Why are you frowning?’” said Kwon Taek-keun, a plastic surgeon in practice for 20 years and known in professional circles as the first in the country to popularize the procedure. “That’s a lot of stress.”
“It is going against gravity,” said Dr. David Song of Golden View Plastic Surgery. He added that he observes the patient in different poses, such as in a seated position or while lying down, to get the most natural angle for the lips. “We’re restoring the original lip line.”
There have been plenty of stories about the growing popularity of plastic surgery in South Korea, even amongst men. One of the better looks at this trend was done by VICE; they went to Seoul for fashion week last fall to explore how South Korea became the "Plastic Surgery Capital of the World", surpassing Brazil. In South Korea, one in five women get some sort of plastic surgery these days. While the VICE documentary explored how much of the surgery done is done to "westernize" the look of a South Korean woman or man's face, this recent rise in lip surgery seems to be less about westernization and more connected to general upkeep. Or if you're particularly pessimistic, part of a woman's need to always make it seem like she's happy. At least, that's what the Journal argues: they say that women "are concerned about facing criticism at work because of their expressionless miens."
Screenshot via YouTube