Posted : 2012-02-06 17:46
Updated : 2012-02-06 17:46

Show beautifies plastic surgery

A poster for “Let Me In.” The Story On channel’s new makeover program provides free plastic surgery to selected participants.
/ Courtesy of CJ E&M
New cable TV program "Let Me In" draws negative responses

By Yun Suh-young

A new cable TV program giving free plastic surgery to selected participants is raising a lot of eyebrows as many viewers find the show uncomfortable to watch.

The new show, called “Let Me In,” which started airing on Dec. 2, chooses patients out of a pool of thousands of applicants who feel self-conscious about certain body parts or have health issues and offers them plastic surgery at no cost. “Me-in” means a beauty in Korean.

As a result, they are reborn as completely different people, most of them made over not only on the parts they requested to change, but also on other areas of their body.

Two months into airing, the show is already drawing skeptical responses from a number of viewers.

On the message board of the program, a viewer posted: “I don’t understand what the purpose of this program is. Some of the people who get surgery look normal and could be beautiful if they took care of themselves. Wasn’t the program intended to help people with deformities?”

Viewers who posted critical comments generally agreed that the show seemed to promote plastic surgery overall.

“I could not help thinking that the program was nothing but an advertisement vehicle for plastic surgeries. It felt like the show was promoting a certain view about beauty. The more they stress the fact that women are treated well if they become more physically beautiful through plastic surgeries, isn’t that an outright degrading of our existence as human beings?” wrote a viewer with the ID: dot***.

The episode that received the most criticism from viewers was one in which a woman who had very small breasts had them enlarged. She claimed that she did not feel like she was a woman and felt betrayed when her husband had an affair with another woman. She attributed her failure in marriage to her small breasts.

A viewer said, “The woman with small breasts received surgery worth 60 million won. Her breasts became abundant and her face also changed through a complete make-over. Then what? Will her mental distress disappear? Will her husband now be faithful to her? Does anyone know how she’s living after the surgery?”

Indirect advertising

Regarding such criticism, a doctor from the show said there are people who really need surgery and the “woman with the small breasts” was one of them.

“There were only two cases that I agreed with carrying out surgery. The woman with the small breasts is one and the woman with the drooping waistline is the other. The woman with small breasts was undergoing severe mental distress and had very low self-esteem. Breasts are a symbol of femininity. She was devastated by the fact that her husband had an affair and she attributed it to her lack of femininity. I actively approved of the surgery,” said Yang Jae-jin, a psychiatrist who takes part in the show. He is one of the nine doctors who decide which participants to award surgery to.

Other viewers pointed out that the surgeries were superfluous.

“If a woman wants larger breasts, then she should just get the necessary surgery. Why is the show remodeling her entire body and turning her into another person? The makeover worth millions sends the message that money is the answer to everything,” said a viewer by the ID: min***.

Some openly questioned the sponsorship of the program. “I guess the program is sponsored by plastic surgeons. These days, regular people fantasize about plastic surgery and the program encourages the phenomenon even more,” said viewer by the ID: ma****.

The show, however, needs not to be criticized too fiercely since it was basically created out of commercial purposes, doctors say.

“These kind of makeover shows aren’t created out of pure generosity or the wish for the well-being of patients. Advertising for medical businesses is banned. So the show is a form of indirect advertisement. Plastic surgeons need publicity and the show needs high ratings. That’s why the show is programmed that way. It can be seen as a commercial in the mask of medical treatment,” said Noh Jai-sung, head of Department of Psychiatry at Ajou University Medical Center.

“It’s too much to ask for deeper content from the show. Besides, people wouldn’t watch it if it was too complex. It is a social problem that plastic surgery has become so popular. Beauty is way too focused on appearance. Mass media plays a big role in spreading the image of celebrities, thus creating a certain standard for beauty,” he said.

The show is simply supporting the growing demand for artificial beauties, an already rampant social malaise, he said.
관련 한글 기사

방송이 성형 부추기나

새로 방송되고 있는 케이블 방송의 메이크오버 프로그램이 시청자들의 눈살을 찌푸리게 하고 있다.

지난 12월 2일부터 스토리온에서 방영되고 있는‘렛미인’은 특정 신체 부위 때문에 힘들어하거나 신체적 결함을 가지고 있는 신청자들을 선발해 성형을 시켜주는 프로그램이다. 수 백명의 지원자들 중 뽑히는 인원은 한 회당 1-2명.

선택받은 지원자들은 성형을 통해 전혀 다른 사람으로 탈바꿈한다. 그리고 그들이 원했던 부분 이외에도 성형을 받는 영광을 누린다.

9회 째에 접어드는 이 프로그램에 시청자들은 왜 불편해할까.

프로그램의 게시판에 올라온 시청자들의 글 중에는“이 프로그램의 취지가 뭔지 모르겠다. 조금만 가꾸면 예뻐질 수 있는 사람들이 수술을 받는데 원래 기형을 가진 사람들을 위해 성형을 해줘야하는것 아니냐”라며 비판하는 글을 어렵지 않게 찾을 수 있다.

비판적 의견을 내비친 시청자들은 대부분 이 프로그램이 성형수술을 부추긴다고 입을 모아 말한다.

한 시청자는“이 프로그램이 성형수술 광고 정도로 밖에 느껴지지 않았다”며“미에 대한 특정 시각을 부추기는 것 같다”며 불쾌해 했다. 이어“수술로 예뻐져서 다른 대우를 받는 모습을 보여준다면 그건 인간인 우리 스스로를 폄하하는 것 아니냐”고 꼬집었다.

다른 시청자는 성형수술이 너무 과도하다는 점을 지적했다.

아이디 min***의 한 시청자는 가슴이 없던 “절벽녀”가 전신성형을 받은 것에 대해 “가슴이 없으면 가슴만 수술을 하면 되지 왜 전신성형을 해주냐”며 “굳이 전신성형을 해서 시청자들에게 돈이면 다 된다는 식의 인식을 주는 것 같아서 불편하다”고 말했다.

프로그램의 후원 문제도 지적됐다.

한 시청자는 “이 프로그램은 성형외과에서 스폰해주는 것 아니냐”며 “가뜩이나 성형수술에 대한 환상이 많은 시대에 그 현상을 더 부추긴다”고 비판했다.

그러나 의사들은 상업적 목적으로 만들어진 프로그램이니만큼 크게 비판할 필요가 없다고 한다.

아주대 정신과 주임교수 노재성 과장은 “이런 프로그램은 사회적으로 좋은 일을 하기 위해 만들어진 게 아니다”라며 “의료비즈니스의 직접 광고는 금지되어있다. 이 프로그램은 그런 측면에서 간접광고”라고 했다. 성형외과 의사들은 홍보가 필요하고 방송은 시청률이 중요하니 프로그램이 그렇게 짜일 수밖에 없는 것. “한마디로 의료의 탈을 쓴 광고”라는 것이다.

그는 나아가 “이 프로그램에서 깊은 내용을 요구하는 것 자체가 무리”라며 “복잡한 내용이 들어가면 사람들이 보지도 않을 것”이라고 했다. 그는 “성형수술이 유행하는 것은 사회적인 문제”라며 “미의 기준이 외적인 부분에 너무 치우쳐져 있다. 매스컴이 연예인들을 동시다발적으로 볼 수 있게 하면서 미에 대한 특정한 관점이 부각됐다”고 했다.

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