It’s no secret that Korea is quickly becoming one of the cosmetic surgery capitals of the world—one in five women in Seoul have had some kind of procedure. (Case in point: the surprisingly homogeneous picture of the contestants from this year’s Miss Korea?) But the latest procedure, which Business Insider brought to our attention, really caught me by surprise.
Apparently it’s now possible to adjust your smile by reshaping the corners of your mouth. If the sides of your lips angle down, it can make your lips look shorter and less full. This smile procedure adjusts the corners upwards to make lips look fuller, help cover your gums, and make you look like you’re smiling—even when you’re not. (Creepy much?)
These 10 women have a lot more in common than just being finalists for the Miss Korea 2013 pageant. After their images went viral—first showing up on a Japanese blog, then Reddit, then Jezebel where we first spotted it—we couldn’t help but be curious about the claims that these women all look alike due to plastic surgery.
Whether or not you believe that this is the case, there’s no doubt that plastic surgery rates are rising around the world: According to The Economist, over 14 million procedures were performed in 2011 alone. South Korea remains a popular plastic surgery destination—every year, “medical tourists" visit Seoul from countries like China, Singapore, and the U.S. to go under the knife. On the flip side, many Korean actresses and singers admit to having work done (double eyelid procedures and nose jobs are two of the most popular surgeries for Asians). This opens the door for a more serious discussion about plastic surgery: At what point does it move beyond becoming a better version of yourself to starting to look like everyone else?