Appearance | Plastic surgery 'the norm' for getting hired in this country

Plastic surgery 'the norm' for getting hired in this country

Flight attendants based in South Korea have reported an increase in mounting pressure to look a certain way, which has resulted in many getting plastic surgery.

Due to a number of factors including the job application process and Korean standards of beauty, flight attendant hopefuls have shared that there is an unspoken requirement to be more beautiful, reported Business Insider.

This isn’t the first time cabin crew members have felt the need to enhance their appearance. Back in 1993 United flight attendants reported that they were fasting, purging and taking laxatives in a bid to keep their figure and their jobs. If crew members weighed more than 11 pounds over the maximum, they would be given ten days of unpaid temporary leave.

While Korean airlines in South Korea such as Asiana Airlines and Korean Air have relaxed their height policies and softened their language requirements, there is still significant pressure in the region. In fact, one in five women have undertaken cosmetic surgery in South Korea, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Popular procedures include ‘smile surgery’, which will always leave individuals with a slightly upturned mouth, while those enrolled in COSEA (a training school for flight attendants in South Korea) can take advantage of surgery discounts including ones to widen eyes.

"The flight attendants are actually the representative of the airline," Sojin Lim, a Seoul resident who worked for a domestic Korean airline, told Business Insider. "How they look will affect the image of it, so they have to always look formal and neat."

For many Korean women, becoming a flight attendant is a dream job as it promises good pay, perks and the opportunity to travel. As such, there is a highly competitive recruitment process which has seen many applicants edit their ID photos to help them bag the job.  

It’s so competitive that more than 20,000 candidates may apply for a few hundred placements, while physical tests and fluency in languages such as English and Chinese is required.

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During interviews, it is also common for airlines to grade applicants on how well they apply their make-up and on their hair, Lim added: “Because they always look perfectly formal and so neat, a lot of people envy them and dream to be a flight attendant.”

It’s not just flight attendants who feel this burden – as the majority of job applications in South Korea require photo ID, candidates such as engineers and cashiers also feel the pressure to appear good-looking.

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