[FOUNTAIN]36-24-36 and all thatA fashion show celebrating the World Cup has attracted as much attention as the international soccer event itself. The charming faces and graceful figures of the wives and girlfriends of the soccer players were as striking as the star athletes.
An Internet portal site that is running the photos of the World Cup fashions has experienced unusually high traffic. Some Internet users praised the wasp waists of the women featured in the show.
As summer approaches and people get ready to wear more revealing clothes, the interest in the human body is growing. Young Korean women are especially concerned with their physical figures. The slender waists of female celebrities such as the singer Lee Hyo-ri are more than objects of envy ― Lee’s waist has become an icon.
Korean women's obsession with wasp waists goes back to the Japanese colonial era. During the Joseon Dynasty, voluptuous female figures were the standard of beauty. In the days when women were treated as inferior to men, an ample belly meant fertility. The women with small waists or hips were said to have no room for babies and were not considered beautiful.
Then came the Japanese and Western dresses. Skirts, which formerly rose above the breast, were worn at waist height. Corsets also became popular, and the idea that small waists looked good spread among the “new women.” It is now an obsession among some.
The tendency to prefer thin women is also growing. Diet and weight management clinics are doubling their revenue every year.
So why are Korean women so attached to wasp waists? Vladimir Tikhonov, who teaches Korean studies at the University of Oslo, says it’s a part of the mass psychology of women who are sensitive of how men perceive them. The tendency of elevating appearance above all else is combined with psychology to project a kind of sexual charm. Mr. Tikhonov also says the trend seems to reflect an overall tendency toward uniformity in a society that experienced colonial rule and dictatorships.
Police recently arrested entrepreneurs using “Endermologie,” a French muscle pain treatment device, as a slimming tool. The businesses exploited women's desire to have slender waists and profiteered by charging nearly 300,000 won ($315) per session. Using a device for muscle pain to massage the abdomen and waist is ridiculous. While it is understandable that some people are desperate to lose weight, it is quite pathetic to see the lengths they will go to. With the wings of a wren, you should not try to fly like an eagle.
by Park Jai-hyun
The writer is a deputy city news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.