'Miss Korea Pageant, Continued criticism'
"The true Korean beauty comes from controlled magnificence"
[Korea Human Rights News] Kim Yumi received the honor of winning 1st in the 2012 Miss Korea Pageant with her clean-cut face and her urban image.
But, before she could rejoice her sweet victory, the internet was quickly filled with a post named 'Miss Korea: Before her plastic surgeries'.
Although the images were not verified to be herself, many people left profane comments on these pictures. Some examples of the comments that were posted are "How much money does her parents have to transform her so greatly?," and "It has been verified that artificial beauty made from plastic surgery can get 1st in the Miss Korea pageant."
The Miss Korea pageant is a contest that was made by the Hanguk Ilbo, a major newspaper, in order to select the most beautiful woman in Korea with intelligence, education, and beauty.
It is not easy to be selected to be Miss Korea. One can only qualify for the actual pageant if she is within 3rd in the preliminary rounds held at each city and province. In the pageant itself, 60 women who have qualified compete once more for the top 3 spots.
Also, the judging process is very strict. Judges, who are professionals from various fields, score each contestant by excluding the lowest and highest scores and then calculating the average of the remaining scores through a computer. They judge not only contestants' looks, but also their singing and dancing abilities, expressions, their ability to react to situations, and their speech.
Because of this strict judging process, most contestants have to prepare at least 1 year before entering the pageant. In extreme cases, some are trained from a very young age because of their parents' expectations.
The pageant is in its 56th year after starting in 1957. There is a reason that many women enter the pageant despite the hard and difficult preparations required. The reason is because once someone becomes 1st, she is eligible to take part in an international beauty pageant and raise Korea's international image. In other cases, the fame resulting from the pageant gives one a shortcut to becoming a celebrity. Many contestants from the Miss Korea pageants are now on TV.
Despite all of this, many Koreans do not trust the Miss Korea pageant and instead cite its problems.
The biggest problem that had risen is the problem of 'sexual exploitation'. Those who cite this problem argue that the pageant considers women to be tools and items by commercializing them instead of considering them as individuals.
The swimsuit event was especially the most criticized out of all the events in the pageant. Because of this criticism, the pageant has not been shown over-the-air since 2002. Despite this, there was some controversy when an official commented that a swimsuit event was necessary, but it was simply not being broadcasted. This comment was an absurd one that did not take account the criticism of the pageant's role in emphasizing women's body sizes and then forcing them into a single standard.
Also, the beauty pageant is also criticized for promoting lookism and spreading false understanding about women and having a negative effect in general.
It is now hard for the Miss Korea pageant to follow its original goal of 'selecting the most beautiful woman that would represent Korea'.
Recently, women value uniqueness and personality to be an important part in beauty. They enjoy appealing themselves by finding diverse and unique ways to show their own personality and escaping conformed fashion or faces.
The girl group singers leading the Korean Wave are far from the beauty standards of a pageant. However, the world is crazy about them. Each singer shows her unique color and looks. Sometimes, one shows her short stature and fervent dancing, while another proudly shows their not-so-beautiful face. In conclusion, it is the result of those who tried to show off their individuality and diversity to the world.
Idol singers contribute far more in promoting Korea than those from beauty pageants.
If the pageant wants to stop criticism from the public and serve its purpose, it must change the process of selecting candidates to select the candidate with the true 'Korean beauty'.
Traditional Korean beauty is in controlled magnificence. This is the main reason why the media of the world adore the Korean representatives wearing the traditional Korean dress. It is enough to be complimented as magnificence and feminine beauty are clearly shown without the insides being shown. These beauties are great examples of the true traditional Korean beauty.
Therefore, we anticipate that the pageant changes itself to one that selects Korea's representative with an emphasis on education, intelligence, and personality instead of only focusing on looks.