This study investigates the complexities of the modern South Korean beauty culture, including Korean aesthetics and Korean female beauty ideals. A challenge in investigating Korean beauty is the limited amount of English literature on this subject. The majority of this literature consists of large-scale survey studies. The in-depth literature on Korean beauty is mainly focused on cosmetic surgery. In addition, many authors describe Korean beauty as primarily “Westernized,” “globalized,” or “homogenized.” Through a historical and sociological survey of the Korean beauty culture, through the exploration of Korean aesthetic concepts like meot, and through in-depth interviews with South Korean women about their experiences with their own Korean beauty culture, it is revealed that Korean beauty is uniquely and specifically Korean. Along with contributing to the knowledge base of East Asian Studies, this project helps to differentiate Korean beauty from the beauty of East Asian neighbors like China and Japan.


Graham, Mark


East Asian Studies


Asian Studies


modern, Korean, beauty, ideals, aesthetics, female

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Kelsey M. Williams