“Globalearance” – The globalization of the personal appearance
The world is interconnected. Everything is closer, related, faster, etc. As Mr. Nayan Chanda said globalization is “a growing interconnectedness and interdependence of this world to global awareness” (The Brookings Institution, Bound Together, 2007).
Globalization is a process and affects the way of life worldwide. Education, traditions, food, economy, culture, language, communications, politics, ideological, etc, are affected. We, as individuals could be consciously and unconsciously affected by globalization, inclusive in the most personal and intimate aspects. In this article I’m going to focus on the cultural aspects of globalization, specifically in the influence of the globalization process on the personal appearance of people.
Due to the globalization process we live nowadays surrounded by a “homogenization” of brands, trends, music, TV programs, news, knowledge, etc. A south Korean musician released a song called “Gangnam Style” referring the lifestyle of a District in Seoul. Six months later the song reached 1 billion views on YouTube and was the first in music charts in more than 30 countries. Two years later reached 2 billion views. Sports teams, TV stations, radios, politicians, presidents of countries, applications, games, celebrities, marathons and almost all social groups in the world danced this song. This is just one example of a cultural influence that globalization can produce worldwide, in every culture, in every country, in every race, and in a standardized way.
In 2012 Valeria Lukyanova, an Ukranian girl appeared in news because she would like to be as a Barbie doll. She had breast implants, lot of make-up and other body retouching to be like a famous tolls. Some months later the real “Ken” (famous couple of Barbie doll) appeared. Justin Jedlica made to his body almost 100 plastic surgeries to be like this Ken doll. After them hundreds of people from several countries have appeared in media making major changes on their bodies to be like dolls, manga Japanese cartoons, celebrities, etc.
Clinics in South Korea, Japan and China are offering packages of “Westernization” to people that want to look more “Westerns”. Surgery to get wider and rounder eyes, thinner nose and chin, etc., to follow the western standards of beauty. This situation not only produce this kind of alienation of the sense of beauty, self satisfaction with individual physical aspect, etc., but also is producing an standardization of the look like a template of the person who is considered beauty. In the following video you can see what is happening in the Miss South Korea contest where all contestants look very similar and also following a western patterns of beauty.
In South Korea “westernising” is becoming an “epidemic” problem that starts at 12 years old girls, and parents are supporting this situation. Please check this video where you can get this deeply.
Beauty standards is changing in Asia, eyes, nose, skin colour, hair, everything counts to be “western”. The common idea is that they are going to be more beautiful and are going to be more successful in professional and personal life.
But the globalization process in personal appearance could be the cause of a worst problem to people health. It is known that there is a popular assumption which a thin woman is more beautiful and good-looking. Since 80’s, the most famous fashion designers that create worldwide trends started to use thinner models to their fashion shows, advertising and designs. Mannequins becomes to be unrealistic slim to fix their designs, famous models started to be “bone skinny”, with very small measures started to be a requirement to participate in fashion shows. The standard of beauty and elegance were transformed into a very thin woman.
This globalized standard of beauty that was imposed by world top designers and fashion brands began to create problems in some young girls, but also in not so young woman, because they didn’t see into those standards of beauty and elegance. Lack of self-esteem, rejection of others due to how they look, etc.., began to aggravate a serious public health problem that is the eating disorders, and specifically the bulimia and anorexia.
A famous case to denounce this situation was a campaign made by the photographer Oliviero Toscani for Nolita, a fashion brand located in several countries with the model Isabelle Caro, (who died on November 2010 probably as a result of a disease related to anorexia).
After several occurrences of models that have died because of health problems relate to their excessive thinness some social pressure started and some countries as Spain or Israel, among others, have made special laws to stay away from this situation, fixing minimum body mass index in models for fashion industry according to their high and weight.
This situation can only be reverted if the a social pressure force administrations, the fashion industry and media to fight this problem.