While each video in the series has spoken to the ever-evolving idea of what ideal beauty looks like, the Korean beauty evolution is particularly interesting.
Once the video hits the 1950s, the standards of women’s beauty are not only compared by decade, but also by region. Where South Korea has maintained a democratic government, North Korea has been ruled by a totalitarian regime that suppresses its citizens’ freedoms.
The video begins with the single standard of beauty: elaborate, ornamented hairstyles with glowing skin.
Skipping ahead to the 1940s, women fussed less over their hair and began focusing on red lips and bolder eyebrows.
Then, in the 1950s, after the Korean War, the country was split, and the beauty standards became extremely polarized.
South Korea mirrors Western standards of beauty, while North Korea styles have been dictated by its political regime.
The 1960s shifted toward feminization in both regions, while South Korea leaned toward more sexualized hair and makeup looks.
Then came the 1970s. South Korean women were interested in hair flips and colorful accessories, while North Korean women focused on sun hats and minimal makeup.
South Korean beauty in the 1980s was all about hair teasing and bright eyeshadow. North Korean women were wearing stiff hair and muted red lips.
The ’90s beauty standards could not be more different from the North to the South.
South Korean women wore butterfly clips while North Korean women tucked away almost all their hair.
In the 2000s, North Korea saw a return to the militarized standard for women, this time with a less harsh look.
Meanwhile, in the South, women wore smoky eye makeup and lip gloss.
Present-day beauty standards in North and South Korea have different focuses, too.
South Korean women wear false eyelashes and contour their bone structure. North Korean women focus on glowing skin without much makeup at all.
Bottom line: Beauty standards aren’t immune to the impact of politics.
I love this series