Escape The Corset: South Korean Women Rebel Beauty Standards

South Korean Women

South Korean women are destroying their makeup to rebel against the country’s stringent and unrealistic beauty standardsEscape the Corset is a fight against the unrealistic beauty standards that call for women to look perfect all the time. It symbolises destroying makeup that keeps women constrained. “Corset” here is a reference to the daily women’s garments which worked to constrain bodies into a uniform shape.

Escape the corset

  • Women are destroying their makeup in retaliation to the culture of laborious skin care regimes and pressure to look perfect.
  • The latest cosmetic destroying activity is a part of the feminist movement “Escape the corset”.
  • They not only aim to fight against unrealistic beauty standards, but also illegal filming and sexual assault as well.

The movement, in South Korea, is to fight against unrealistic beauty standards that call for women to look perfect all day. This results in women spending hours applying makeup and performing skin care regimes throughout the day. These expectations also lead to women starving or dieting to maintain their body weight.

Now, in a significantly interesting turn, women are starting to show their hatred for these laborious routines that only limit them to a look. The South Korean women, after destroying their makeup and cosmetics, are taking to social media to post about the same. The movement is part of a larger cause against the country’s patriarchal society. The women, over the years, have also taken to the streets to demand greater equality and fight against several issues.

South Korea, that actively promotes its mastery in cosmetic surgery, sums up its cosmetic brands to an industry worth about $12.5bn (£9.7bn), according to Euromonitor.

SheThePeople.TV spoke with Hayoung Helen Ryu, a South Korean, about the ongoing movement. Ryu originally hails from Seoul, South Korea, is currently studying medicine in Australia. Ryu (25) offered her perspective and called out the country’s age-old practices surrounding beauty.

Sadly, It’s a Korean thing to wear makeup 24/7.

Ryu believes it’s a positive change that Korean women are adapting, not only in the country but also across the world. “To be honest, beauty is overrated in Korea. You’ll be shocked to know that girls from a very young age start styling in a particular manner as if there’s a set standard to look a certain way. I’ve always hated such rules and there are only a few of us who choose not to give in to the pressure. But what about the majority who are suffering in the hands of these stringent norms? ” she said.

Ryu feels the citizens of the country, at large, are to be blamed for this. She shared how looking a certain way also affects peer groups in schools and colleges which later elevates to a whole new level. Supporting the movement, she added that Escape The Corset is actually a great cause which will further demolish other patriarchal practices. “If you think of it, this is a fight for equality and a revolt against practices such as assault. With this movement, hopefully, a larger cause will be served,” she concluded.

Women post pictures and videos of destroyed cosmetics

In one video, two women are seen dumping eyeshadow, blush, foundation, and nail polish onto a white sheet. “I was embarrassed to go outside without this in the past,” one of the women says. “They can’t have any power over me when it’s so easy to break them.”

In another post on Twitter, one woman remarked: “I can’t believe I wore this on my face.”


In a world, where women are constantly fighting for an equal place in society, these unrealistic beauty standards make for another hurdle. This hurdle must not only be crossed but also demolished completely if we want to provide a free space for women. Women have the right to wear whatever they want and look however they wish. This a fundamental right. With this movement gathering momentum, it’s safe to say that the winds of change are flowing in the right direction.

Featured image credit: Netizen Buzz

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