Cosmetic surgery on rise among N. Korean women: survey

December 18, 2014
Korean Women Walking


More North Korean women are seeking plastic surgery in a bid to resemble South Korean actresses, a recent survey of defectors showed.

“A new generation of North Korean defectors dress according to the trends and undergo plastic surgery,” said Kim Sung-kyung, a professor from the University of North Korean Studies, which conducted the survey.

The survey sought to glean information about consumption patterns among young North Koreans, who, unlike previous generations, have grown up having access to markets.

Smart phones are also popular as a fashion item.

Kim said 41.9 percent of new generation defectors in South Korea had owned a smartphone before they defected. Around 14 percent of the female defectors surveyed said they bought a smart phone because they were fashionable.

The North has had a mobile network since 2008, but activity is reportedly strictly monitored.

Moreover, 44.4 percent of young North Korean defectors said they bought clothes based on how trendy they were among peers, while 29.6 percent said they did so based on what they personally thought looked fashionable.

More than half of those surveyed said they watched South Korean dramas because they were curious about the outside world.

Late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il left behind a fledgling market system when he died of heart failure three years ago. The markets were born of necessity during a 1990s famine that killed hundreds of thousands.

After the regime made attempts to squelch the markets _ including the disastrous currency revaluation of 2009 _ it allowed for state-sanctioned markets and turned a blind eye to informal ones scattered around the country.