K-Dramas That Confronts Toxic Beauty Obsession In The Country And Encourages Embracing Inner-Self

Check out the list of K-dramas that highlights the country's obsession with beauty standards and encourages people to be happy in their own skin.


By Poulami Bhandari Last Updated:


K-Dramas That Confronts Toxic Beauty Obsession In The Country And Encourages Embracing Inner-Self

Today people all over the world voice their idea of feeling beautiful for who you are and abolishing the traditional toxic beauty standards. However, the Koreans still believe beauty means glassy skin, lustrous hair, a sharp jawline, a slim body and rosy lips. Pick up any K-drama, and you will find the lead woman to have checked all these standards.

But don’t you think this creates an unhealthy beauty standard for ordinary people, especially when popular content frames a certain beauty standard? People often fall prey to it and think that to be a part of the larger population, they must groom themselves according to these so-called standards.

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Park seo joon

While several dramas are popularising the toxic beauty standard, here are a few notable examples of K-dramas that address the problem of obsession with beauty in the country and encourage acceptance.

#1. True Beauty

Cha eun woo

'Lim Ju Gyeong' (Moon Ga Young) is a high school student who finds it challenging to fit in with her peers because of her appearance and is often humiliated and bullied by them. This leads her to decide to watch YouTube videos to learn makeup.

Lim Joo Kyung

She ultimately cracks the code of making herself appear attractive after a lengthy trial and error process. 'Ju Gyeong' changes schools and no one recognises her there. She meets 'Lee Su Ho' (Cha Eun Woo), a popular student of the school, who knows her and sees her for who she is below her mask.

Hwang In-youp

Later we see 'Su Ho' and 'Han Seo Jun' (Hwang In Yeop) are drawn to her not because of her made-up face but because of her kind nature and willingness to lend a hand to those in need. This is not another love triangle drama. This one beautifully tells us how it is so important to accept ourselves for how we look and who we are.

#2. My ID Is Gangnam Beauty

Im Soo-hyang

After experiencing bullying at the hands of her classmates in school for how she looked, 'Kang Mi Rae' (Im Soo Hyang) develops a severe insecurity complex as she grows older. And the solution to all her problems, she thought, was plastic surgery. To do this, she even defies her father. She undergoes the knife and pursues a fresh start in college, leaving behind all her past demons.

Im Soo-hyang

However, she was immediately accused of being a 'Gangnam beauty,' a derogatory term used to describe someone superficial by undergoing cosmetic surgery to transform their appearance beyond recognition. This drama is 'Mi Rae's' internal monologue as she struggles to overcome her fears while being attractive and meeting everyone's expectations.

Cha eun woo

The drama shows the pros and cons of plastic surgery, including the fact that, in some instances, it is necessary and that it can improve someone's life. While on the other hand, having plastic surgery does not miraculously solve all the problems. In the end, 'Mi Rae' understands that to develop into a whole person, she must focus on her inner self and love herself before she can truly love others.

#3. Oh My Venus

Shin Min-a

'Kang Joo Eun' (Shin Min Ah), a woman in her early thirties, has a successful legal career and a committed relationship. But that's not all she has. She also garners everyone’s attention due to her weight. Thus, despite having everything, she still does not get the respect she deserves.

Shin Min-a

Her self-esteem drops to an all-time low as her boyfriend eventually dumps her citing her weight being the issue. And that was the turning point in her life as she took matters into her own hands and trained with a well-known personal trainer, 'Kim Yeong Ho' (So Ji Sub).

So Ji-sub

One of the strengths of this drama is its focus on body positivity and self-love. The drama addresses the pressure women face to conform to beauty standards and its detrimental effect on their overall health. It also highlights the importance of self-care, healthy habits, and self-acceptance.

#4. Birth of the Beauty

Han Se-yeul

In this drama, actress Ha Jae Sook plays 'Geum Ran', a woman who experiences infidelity from her husband and unfavourable treatment from her in-laws for how she looks. 'Geum Ran' is devastated after being left behind and subsequently meets with a car accident and falls off a cliff.

Ha Jae sook

While everyone thought she was dead, she actually survives the accident and undergoes full-body and facial plastic surgery so she may get revenge on those who harmed her. 'Dr Han Tae Hee' (Joo Sang Wook), her tutor and ally, helps her change into the lovely 'Sara' (Han Ye Seul).

Joo sang wook

As she gets her vengeance, she becomes aware that, despite how much harm she does to her ex-husband, it isn't making her happy. She is still the same ajumma (married or middle-aged woman) who longs to be loved. In the end, 'Tae Hee' falls in love with her and accepts her flaws and past.

#5. Perfume

Ko Won hee

'Min Jae Hee' (Ha Jae-sook) was a loyal housewife who gave her all, always prioritised her family while neglecting self-care, and never spoke up for herself. Her husband belittles her and cheats on her with a different woman as she is overweight and isn’t beautiful.

Haa Jae

'Jae Hee' then discovers a magical perfume that transforms her into a young, attractive lady. This romantic drama explores the harshness of society and the fashion industry by inculcating some comic elements. 

Kim Min Kyu

She escapes her sad life and discovers her potential because of the perfume. She is then recognised by fashion designer 'Seo Yi Do' (Shin Sung Rok) not due to her looks but because she makes him think of his childhood sweetheart. 'Yi Do' accepts her as she is, her original self without the perfume.

#6. She Was Pretty

Park seo joon

This drama is a tale of the reversal of fates. 'Ji Sung Joon' (Park Seo Joon) was a chubby boy who now grew up to be a fit, handsome, and dashing CEO of a publishing company, whereas 'Kim Hye Jin' (Hwang Jung Eum) lost her beauty as she aged and her face is full of reddish freckles, and she has curly hair.

Hwang Jung-eum

Although 'Hye Jin' was not the best fit for a magazine company, the company still accepted her as one of the most valued employees due to her exceptional editing abilities. Whenever there was a meeting with 'Sung Joon', her childhood best friend, she used to ask her friend 'Min Ha Ri' (Go Jun Hee), who is more popular and gorgeous, to take her place to conceal her true identity.

Park Seo

But she had no idea that Sung Joon felt little to no connection with 'Ha Ri' as he missed 'Hye Jin’s' kindness and quirky nature that he witnessed in childhood. This drama amazingly captures how the chemistry between two people strengthens a bond and not appearances. It also tells that skill and talent surpasses every beauty.

Which one are you planning to watch next? Let us know.

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