The Reality of our Unrealistic Body Standards
Story By: David Suh Editor: Kevin Kim Web Designer: Li June Choi
In the current world, and especially in Korea, the thoughts of the ideal female body has been constantly changing. The reasons behind the changes over time have also been a subject of interest. In the ongoing trend, popular and idealized body types are usually shown through the currently popular idols. These have actually have been following principles from Japanese animations, or anime. Even if people are not particular fans of anime or idols, it is important to know what is influencing the ideas of what a perfect female body should look like.
Anime is popular for promoting an unrealistic emphasis on a full chest area, a thin waist, and a wide hip. While most people would tag this as “unrealistic”, it might not be so right now. In comparison of Rin Tohsaka, a very popular anime character, and Seol-Hyun, a popular member from the Kpop group AOA, the similarities in their frontal proportions can already be seen. Further inspections on many popular characters and idols result in the same similarity, resulting in a ratio around 11:10:15, going down in BWH sizes, as well as a ratio of 1:7 when comparing their head height to their body. The impact of clothing can clearly be observed in examples such as the idea of knee socks or short skirts in popular culture, as well as the exposure of legs between the torso clothing and socks, known as “zettai ryouiki” in Japan and popularized by many anime characters.
Now at this point most might be thinking: “What is the problem? Everyone has their ideal type”. While that is a valid point, it is important to remember that people are starting to treat these body types not as ideals but as the norm for women. What is even worse is that women have to go through hardships such as plastic surgery to meet these standards.
To those who think that this only fulfills a specific demographic, I conducted a survey with 100 males aging 16-40 in Korea asking about what their idea of a “decent” body is by having them look at pictures. 62% answered by choosing the body type that was made based on the ratios mentioned earlier. If the majority thinks that these bodies are “normal” or “decent”, we should be more concerned and thoughtful of the standards of females.