Standards of beauty addressed in South Korean drama


Society’s toxic standards of beauty are hard to get past, and they are not often spoken about. Only when these standards are brought up and shown to the viewers can they fully understand the stress and importance of the issues being brought up.

In “My ID is Gangnam Beauty,” the audience follows a college freshman as she faces the difficulties of her self-image and the aftermath that follows the changes she makes.

“My ID is Gangnam Beauty” is a South Korean television series that was released in late July of 2018, starring Cha Eun Woo as Do Kyung Seok and Im Soo Hyang as Kang Mi Rae.

Mi Rae, a college freshman, has always struggled with her self-image. After receiving plastic surgery, Mi Rae has to face the aftermath that comes with it. But it isn’t until she meets Kyung Seok who shows her the true meaning of beauty.

Growing up, Mi Rae did not fit the standards of beauty, which influences the way she perceives beauty. Her elementary classmates ridiculed her for being overweight and for always eating. She was determined to lose weight by middle school, and when she did, Mi Rae thought the bullying would stop.

It didn’t. Her classmates called her Kang Hulk, and the confidence she gained after losing weight had narrowed itself back down. She longed to live freely without the bullying. Mi Rae felt plastic surgery was her only option to rid the harassment.

Starting college, Mi Rae knew nobody there would know that she got plastic surgery. It would be a fresh start for her. She finds out quickly that being beautiful does not make life automatically easy. When she runs into an old classmate, Kyung Seok, who happens to be the only one who knows what she looked like before plastic surgery, Mi Rae gets nervous about keeping her surgery private.

Plastic surgery becomes a problem of itself. After her classmates find out that Mi Rae received plastic surgery, the bullying comes back. She gets called a “Plastic Monster” and a “Gangnam Beauty.”

Hyun Soo Ah, played by Jo Woo Ri, a classmate who is a natural beauty, is a suspicious character. The audience won’t be able to fully understand her motives until the end, but they will be able to tell she’s not what everyone thinks she is. A jealousy grows within Soo Ah, who doesn’t appreciate those who get plastic surgery.

She does not like the attention of Mi Rae and tries to sabotage every chance she has with love. Soo Ah is an expert at hiding her true self.

To make herself feel better, Soo Ah tries to obstruct everyone she knows’ chance with a relationship. The audience will come to find out that Soo Ah is not as different as when Mi Rae struggled with her self-image.

The television series touches on other matters in a subtle way. As the series revolves around a love story between the two main characters, the audience can sense that their relationship is not what the show is completely about.

There are other relationships previewed in the series that are conflicted with the standards of beauty. It happens to different types of people as they all aim for love. Beauty, in general, is something every girl has difficulty with.

“My ID is Gangnam Beauty” has a cute storyline of a blossoming relationship. The show is not overly romantic, and there are no clichés. It is fresh and based on a storyline that wouldn’t be expected. Each character has a different personality and their own struggles to deal with.

A good show makes the audience feel something, and this drama does exactly that. The emotions the characters feel are conveyed through the screen to the audience. The cliffhanger endings are developed cleverly to make the viewers wanting to come back for more.

The message the show conveys is important and mind-opening. Some may relate to the main character, as she is treated differently after her transformation, yet still struggles with her insecurities that didn’t go away.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)