(a translation of this article was published in the Korean edition of Newsweek on Monday April 29)
Last week the world chuckled when South Korea again made it into the entertainment and ‘bizarre’ sections of foreign media: in a beauty contest in Daegu all the faces of the contestants look eerily similar. ‘One dream, one face’, was one of the headlines on the contest that resulted in something that rather looked like a ‘best plastic surgery’ contest. What many foreign readers don’t realize is that this is far from funny. A great part of South Korean society is completely stuck in the uniform believe of ‘one face’: if you are different, there is no place for you.
A ‘big’ face with natural eyes, being gay, being fat, not having went to the army, having a Filipino mother, having a diploma from an unknown university. No matter how smart, brilliant or suitable you are for the job, a South Korean company will prefer to hire somebody without these ‘handicaps’, as they value all these non-relevant aspects to ridiculous levels. Recently there almost was a breakthrough to give South Korea the chance to start getting rid of forcing it’s citizens to model themselves after the one and only holy standard: a new anti-discrimination law. The UN Human Rights Council recommended South Korea to push forward the law, after which a group of politicians started the process.