North not secure from beauty’s allure
Pyongyang has unveiled North Korea’s new first lady, Ri Sol-ju, and regardless of political context she is a typical North Korean beauty. There are rumors she is a great singer and a student at Kim Il Sung University, so she may be a woman of both beauty and talent.
The idea of beauty may vary, but the universal standard is a symmetry of face and body.
I visited the Yeosu Expo last Saturday during its celebration of Angola Day. At an event held in front of the country’s pavilion, Miss Angola made an appearance and she was stunning.
While I agree with most criticism of the commercialization of sexuality, let’s not go overboard.
In the broadest sense, the use of cosmetics could be considered a preliminary stage of the commercialization of sex. Men who work out and show off their toned abdomens are selling sex as well.
Men’s admiration of beautiful women and women’s attraction to handsome men are directly connected to their drives to preserve the species. Since libido may be the second most powerful instinct after the desire to survive, it cannot be measured with logic.
Fortunately, initial attractions to physically appealing men and women often wane once they began moving and speaking. Other factors such as personality, intelligence and wealth also play a part, but when you “fall in love,” you may not even notice the negatives.
As a 25-year-old, Napoleon Bonaparte described the moment he fell in love with the 31-year-old Josephine: “One day when I was sitting next to her at table, she began to pay me all manner of compliments on my military qualities. Her praise intoxicated me. From that moment, I confined my conversion to her and never left her side. I was passionately in love with her, and our friends were aware of this long before I ever dared say a word about it.”
However, Josephine had bad teeth, so it could only be said that “when her mouth was shut, she had the appearance, especially at a few paces distant, of a young and pretty woman,” wrote Arthur Marwick in “A History of Human Beauty.”
But Napoleon was captivated by her conversation, not her teeth.
After all, only about 5 percent of the population is notably beautiful. They are the lucky ones with outstanding symmetry and look distinctly charming.
But nowadays, celebrities and television personalities are all beautiful yet similar. Newscasters and actors look the same. Even the one who was crowned Miss Korea this year has had plastic surgeries. If everyone looks the same, it gets boring. If plastic surgery continues to be popular, people will someday get plastic surgery to look different from each other.
* The author is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Noh Jae-hyun
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