#EscapetheCorset, Korean Women are taking their Beauty Mask Off

An extension of the #metoo movement is emerging in South Korea. Through diverse social networks, feminists are denouncing the society’s dictature of appearances and especially heavy makeup for women.

In South Korea, men and women use more than ten products a day to take care of their appearance even before applying make up. #Escape the corset is a movement challenging beauty standards in South Korea which is known as one of the world’s largest cosmetics market notably with their products like the BB and CC creams (creams that are supposed to even the skin tone and hide imperfections on a daily basis).

Lim Ju-Yeon, a news anchor for a major Korean media outlet, MBC News.

Earlier in the year a journalist broke out South Korean society’s values by just doing a simple gesture. An act that would not mean anything to our western point of view : She wore glasses ! It was to spread a message « to look at her competence not appearance » she said later in an interview. Women in South Korea are bound to their physical attire and image which is highly condemned by feminists.

Feminism is considered as taboo in the patriarchal Republic of Korea which is a rather a misogynistic society. Amongst other things, Escape the Corset preceded another movement emerging from #metoo which is the fight against sex hidden cameras.

Korean women fighting against illegal filming in toilets and even in the streets with banners saying « My life is not your porn »

Last summer, the country’s biggest feminist (female-only) protest was held with approximately 50 000 women. They called for a crackdown on spy cam pornography sentences, asking for harsher verdicts for culprits.

Against hidden cameras started with the incrimination of a woman who secretly took a picture of a man who posed as a nude for an art class without his consent and posted it online. The public’s harsh criticism influenced by the fact that she was a woman ignited the movement.

Throughout 2018, many incidents have woken up Korean women over the severe inequalities and pressure they have to face just because they are women.

Youtubers of makeup videos and bloggers sick of their extensive routines have thrown their make up away and started to love themselves « as they are », their message to every woman is to accept themselves by embracing their flaws.

Bae Lina, a makeup video youtuber posted a very inspiring video « I am not pretty » showing her at first applying her makeup and then taking it off although comments of insults are scrolling. She then proudly says wearing her bare face « Do not pay attention to what people say »

Women also cut their hair to go against the beauty standard stating that they must have long hair to be pretty and feminine.

An Instagram user 6_feminist_9, posted a picture before/after her haircut.

However these rebellious acts have not been without consequences. Violent backlash were followed such as death threats and malicious comments of course all over the internet.

This movement was supposed to have huge consequences on the cosmetic market, but local media reports show that in order to offset the losses, men are going to be more targeted from now on. They were some improvements such as brands showing women with short hair for example but Korea is still far from a country that values women for who they are. Unfortunately, it is not the only country having such ideals and expectations from women.

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