How Korean Girls Learn to be Insecure About Their Bodies

Seriously, it’s great that the makers of this video are trying to encourage children to eat healthy foods with fermented bean paste (된장) rather than candy. But do they really need to be told that it’s good for their “S-lines” and “V-lines” too? For those few of you that don’t know what either are, this next commercial in particular makes the former pretty clear:

(Source: ¡Hoy mejor que ayer, mañana mejor que hoy!. The text reads “The S-line you want to have.”)

Note that Go Ara, the actress in the commercial, is actually much younger (16) than she may appear above. Meanwhile, here are some commercials for a tea-drink which supposedly gives you a V-line chin, which at least have actual grown women (BoA, 22; Kim Tae-Hee, 28) endorsing the product:

Not by coincidence, here are some “face rollers” which started to appear all over Korea not long after I first heard of V-lines. I’ve read that they’ve been used for many years in Japan and Taiwan too, so Korean women too may well have been using for a long time before they started worrying about their V-lines specifically. But then they weren’t popular enough for me to have noticed them at all until last year, and certainly sellers of them have been making explicit references to V-lines ever since the concept first appeared:

(Source: GMarket)

Alas, I’m not entirely certain why an ad explicitly for women opens with some not particularly flattering shots of men either (Lee Seung-gi and comedian Kang Ho-dong), but I guess I’m not the target market. That they do so humorously though, does help reinforce the notion that dieting (etc.) is only something for women to be serious about.

Or perhaps just girls, as I’ve never actually seen a woman using one. My 13 year-old students, however, use them every other break…(sigh).

Update: See here, here, here, and here for much more on the constant invention of new, often impossible body shapes and “lines” for Korean women to strive for, and for North American and European parallels.