TL;DR - Are You a Fat and Ugly Foreigner?

Uploaded by simonandmartinabonus on 10.11.2011

arased11 asks
Is having a little bit of fat a big deal in Korea?
I have a Korean friend who constantly says that she needs to diet
even though she looks perfectly healthy to me
and it always becomes a hot topic when an idol gets a little bit of fat
What the EFF!
So a lot of foreigners in Korea will experience this
when they go to their classrooms and their students say things like
Teacher! You are a little bit fat!
or "You should lose some weight!"
Or your coworkers will say "oh! You don't look very good today!"
You look tired. Did you wear your makeup today?
And we'll be like "pssshh! No! It's fine!"
So we feel like it's only mothers who have that right.
It's kind of like the mother free-pass card.
Because they care about you, and they want to say
that they're concerned about your wellbeing.
You're looking kind of thin!
That dress doesn't look good on you.
Why don't you eat some vegetables!
You're looking kind of fat!
You know, only moms can do that without getting a punch to the face.
And it seems like a lot of people in Korea that you aren't necessarily close with
will play this mother card,
and try to give you that kind of friendly advice.
Now we finally realized after a couple of years of living here
that they're not trying to hurt you in a gossipy-tabloidy kind of way.
But, nonetheless, it can still cause some people
a little bit of offence, since, at least in North America,
weight and looks is kind of like a taboo topic.
You don't really talk to people about it all too much.
So why are our students and coteachers and associates bringing up our weight?
Is having a little bit of weight or fat actually matter that much in Korea?
Our theory on this: what to you that might seem like a little bit of fat
to a Korean person might seem a lot more apparent.
Part of why we think this happens is because
there are different perceptions of body image around the world
and that perception is greatly affected
by your exposure to different cultures or lack thereof.
and also, your lack of exposure to different cultures
can make you unable to see subtle differences.
For example, a lot of people will say to Simon
"Oh! You look like Brad Pitt!" or "Oh! You look like Beckham!"
I'm telling, I've heard this maybe 50 times in Korea from many, many different people. a combination of Brad Pitt and David Beckham.
Aren't I the luckiest woman on the planet?
Ang! Ang!
This is pretty much blatant, white-people-look-the-same stereotyping.
The same thing happened with my nephew:
he's half-black, and whenever I showed his picture to my Korean students
almost unanimously they said he looked like Obama
even though he doesn't really look like Obama whatsoever
Not at all.
But we see the same reverse stereotyping happening in North America
where people think that every Asian person looks like Jackie Chan or Jet Li or Lucy Liu
And they're wrong, of course, and they're only saying this
because they haven't had a lot of exposure to Asian people.
For people who have had a lot of exposure to different cultures,
you're shocked that people can't see the differences.
does not look like Beckham!
What do you mean? Beckham wishes he looked like me!
So this lack of exposure to different facetypes and the ability to distinguish them
and this transfers over to perceptions of body image as well.
So, for example, a lot of Korean female celebrities
are described as having the ideal body type.
They have S-Lines and X-Lines and all these curves and whatnot.
To me, because I don't have a lot of exposure to a lot of Korean women body types,
they all just look like...straight lines.
I'm sorry! I don't mean to be offensive!
You just don't look that curvy.
Cuz see, to me, a curvy girl is like, 38, 24, 37
You know, she's got some junk in the trunk going on here.
While, in Korea, they don't seem to have that much junk going on in the trunk.
So when I see a Korean girl that's described as being curvy,
I just don't see it because I grew up with a different perception
of what a curvy woman looks like.
also, a lot of Korean people can see these curves
because they've been exposed to these body types all their lives,
but, because I haven't, I just can't see it.
Now, we're talking about normal everyday people's experiences
we've had while living in Korea,
but what happens when you talk about the Korean media?
Like with SNSD or something.
So the media will say something like "Oh! UEE gained a lot of weight"
or SNSD is looking fat these days,
you have to remember that Korean media
is exactly the same as media all around the world
They're trying to spread gossip through tabloids
and change people's perceptions of body type
in images in magazines and newspapers.
Now, what isn't really a big deal in terms of fatness or weight
becomes a big deal in the media because
that's just how they operate. That's how they make business.
Media all over the world is the same.
Look at North America. When Britney Spears put on a little weight
everyone was like "OMG BRITNEY IS SO FAT"
Now, here's where the problem with the media comes in and how it impacts people.
We actually saw SNSD live. We met them in person.
We were right beside them back at Inkigayo,
and even though they were wearing huge stiletto heels,
they were soooo much shorter than me.
like, they were really, really short.
but if you look at their music videos, or people's comments through the media
they always say SNSD have such long legs. They're so thin, this and that.
And then, in turn, the average Korean woman will see this and say
OMG, my legs are so short, they're so fat. I should diet diet diet.
and then it impacts them in a really negative fashion.
and this is exactly the same all over the world
when it comes to media and celebrities.
So when we see in the Korean news that a celebrity has gained a little bit of weight
The media will be like "OMG SHE'S GAINING WEIGHT SHE'S SO FAT"
So I think the final message is probably to the foreigners who are traveling to Korea,
we don't want you to feel upset or stressed out
over your body type when you come here,
because just remember there's total differences in body type
compared to where you are in your home country
And what is considered fat here is definitely not considered fat back home.
So that's it for this week's TLDR
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And if you see David Beckham walking down the street in Korea,
make sure you look twice, because it might be Simon.
Who would I look like?
Will Smith.
What the?! We have totally different hair!
[Sexy intoxicating music]