[ANOTHER VIEW]Admiration for obese people fighting a prevalent prejudiceIt’s summer. Women are starting to smarten up in their spaghetti straps, mini skirts and glittering accessories, while men show off their solid muscles. But it isn’t a joyful season for those battling the bulge.
Loosened flab and dented stretch marks are a hindrance to their life. Being not physically fit makes them isolated in Korean society, as they are judged solely upon their physical appearance. Living in Korea, the most weight-conscious country in the world, is a burden for them. They choose to hide themselves from society but some have launched a rebellion against the slim society.
A 25-year-old graduate school student, Kim Hae-sun said that her goal was to wear clothes sold at Dongdaemun malls. Whenever she sees flowery patterned clothes, tight tank tops with spangles and plaid skirts displayed on the gaunt mannequin, she starts to hate herself for being overweight. She tried working out at a gym, hired a personal trainer, ate diet food and even considered liposuction. However, nothing worked. She considered herself a victim of congenital obesity. She also couldn’t get a decent job because of her physical appearance.
“I am used to it. I’ve been treated like that since I was young. But there is one thing that I just can’t stand ― people whispering behind my back,” Kim said.
Kim isn’t the only one who has experienced discrimination in Korea where the beauty standard has become more Westernized. However, people with similar experiences as Kim are no longer hiding themselves. They are daring to wear flashy clothes similar to those at fashion malls.
Outlets targeting “big” women are gaining popularity on the Internet and women are starting to gain confidence as they wear the clothes of their dreams. We should ask ourselves: What is the standard of beauty? People who are suffering from obesity have every right to enjoy life and wear classy clothes.
I applaud my friend and others who have decided to face the hardships of living as big women in Korea and finally having the courage to love and respect themselves.
by Kim Bo-yung