Gov’t guidelines on breasts stir hot emotions

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Gov’t guidelines on breasts stir hot emotions

The national Web portal for health information run by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Korean Academy of Medical Sciences (KAMS) has stirred controversy for its guidelines on mastoplasty and its definition of beautiful breasts.

“Breasts are like the second sexual organs of a woman, through which women show their sexual identity and confidence,” read the guidelines. “They are most beautiful when they are cone-shaped and moderately voluptuous, with a bit of elasticity.” The post even cited an optimal size, suggesting that for a Korean woman each breast should be 250 cc.

The guidelines, created by the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, had been posted since the opening of the Web portal in 2011. “At the time, reconstructive surgery and post-surgery care for breast cancer surgery was of social interest. The guidelines were part of the information on breast disease,” said a KAMS official. “However, it seems like we failed to consider the consumers’ stance and viewpoint.”

A Twitter post criticized the Ministry of Health and Welfare for defining a standard of beauty for body parts. Another pointed out that the statement about women showing their sexual identity and confidence through their breasts was subjective and possibly offensive.

The guidelines were removed on Aug. 4 following the criticisms, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare and KAMS posted a notice on the Web portal involved. It read, “We have decided to remove part of the health information posted on the national Web portal for health information considering its inappropriateness. We will go over other health information on the Web portal, working to provide useful information on health.”

BY SEO YOUNG-JI [shon.jihye@joongang.co.kr]

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