Good for Her
Documentary | United States, Korea | 2005 | 48 mins | DVD | English, Korean w/ English subtitles w/English subtitles
Elizabeth E. Lee
Asia, Identity, Media, Sexuality, Women, Youth
In GOOD FOR HER, the director looks at the heavily controversial issues surrounding the cosmetic surgery boom in Seoul, Korea. She explores, through a collection of personal narration, nostalgic images of Korean beauty standards, contemporary news clips and direct interviews with Korean youngsters and university professors, the intense pressures on Korean youth to undergo cosmetic surgery.
As an Asian American pursuing this culturally-delicate topic, the filmmaker exposes her own western eye looking at the highly-sensationalized issue, deconstructing the fantasy that many foreigners have about the Asian woman as a passive victim and ignorant perpetrator of her own powerlessness.
As interviewees share their personal accounts about cosmetic surgery, a disparate gap between the Western director and Korean subject emerges, and definitions of individual, choice and power are questioned.
"It ends with a quote by Arundhati Roy, "A feminist is someone who negotiates herself into a place where she has choices," leaving us with the suggestion that choosing cosmetic surgery can be a feminist act. But Lee complicates this argument throughout the documentary with critiques offered by academics and students about the nature of the social and labor systems within which these women are negotiating their positions. In this way, Lee keeps the viewers on their toes by subverting our assumptions about women, cosmetic surgery, individual agency, and power."
- Taeyon Kim Ph.D. in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University
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