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Why do young Koreans like to show off their bodies?

Many people are willing to spend millions of won on training just to take pictures showing off their body curves, due to obsession with appearance and social status.

Lee Ji-hoon is a personal trainer. He works in a high-class gym in Gangman, a rich neighborhood in Seoul. Recently, Lee often receives requests to develop exercise plans and strict diets from customers in their 20s and early 30s. Most of them are female and share the same goal of wanting to own a body. hot in front of the camera.

The trend of “body profile” or “body profile” is popular in Korea. Searching on Instagram with the hashtag #bodyprofile gives an instant 2.5 million results. Most of them are full body photos of both men and women in hot lingerie with many poses.

But to have a photo that impresses viewers, they have to spend a lot of money.

A woman taking a body profile photo in a black dress.  Source: Korea herald

A woman taking a body profile photo in a black dress. The source: Korean herald

Joo Sohyun, 27 years old, in Seoul booked a full body photo shoot because she felt that life was too boring with only work. “I want people to know that I’m someone who always keeps fit and the ‘boby profile’ is the best way to prove it,” she said. To do this, the young girl spent 1.5 million won (29 million dong) on ​​a rigorous exercise program and photo package. But many people are willing to spend more. Coach Lee’s training packages range from 2.5 million won to 7 million won.

Yoo Hyun-jae, who studies youth culture at Sogang University in Seoul, says that the trend of posing in body photos reflects the image of young people’s appearance and social status. From their thoughts and habits of liking comments about their appearance, they ask themselves to have a perfect appearance.

Profile photo of Kim Tae-hwan's body after 12 weeks of training.  Source: Korea herald

Profile photo of Kim Tae-hwan’s body after 12 weeks of persistent training and eating. The source: Korea Herald

In other countries, some advertising companies have begun to exploit consumer anxiety for their own profit. A unit that sells diet products has launched an ad urging customers to “review the popcorn you’re eating” at movie theaters. Plastic surgeons in subway ads also constantly remind commuters “they’re not pretty enough”.

Mr. Yoo says celebrity culture also plays an important role. The first people to publish body profiles were pop stars, then many young people followed suit.

Some commentators worry the trend could harm young people’s mental health, creating unhealthy eating habits. Mr. Lee also expressed apprehension, “I was very proud when they showed me photos of them showing off their bodies. But a few weeks later, they looked even worse than the day before the practice.” However, Mr. Yoo is more optimistic, saying that one photo doesn’t say it all.

As for Joo Sohyun, trying to have a beautiful body makes her feel like she has achieved something. Especially in the context of rising house prices and a prolonged shortage of jobs.

Minh Phuong (According to the Economist)

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