Eating Disorders Body Dissatisfaction and Self-Esteem Among South Korean Women

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The Asian culture has be heavily influenced by Western Values, Asian women value thinness, which has led to a rise in eating disorders among them. Over the past 20 years eating disorders have increased. Body dissatisfaction is usually associated with body image (how you feel about the way your body looks). The dislikeness of one’s body is more common with women than it is common with men. Today, Korean women have greater body dissatisfaction than the U.S. women have.

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A study was done to examine how the mainstream media influences Western America. Soyoung Kim finds that a lot of women want to look like celebrities. He also says that his finding greatly agree that restrained eating is due to low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction. Rapid social change in South Korea, from the Confucian teachings to democratic values, may have exacerbated development of South Korean women’s low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, and eating disorders. Meaning that the change in teaching to kind of western view has worsened women’s of Korea self-esteem and body dissatisfaction therefore increasing eating disorders.

Keywords: eating disorder, restrained eating, body dissatisfaction, body image, self-image, self-esteem.

Historically, in Korea women looked at extra weight as a form of wealth and high status. People in East Asian countries have in the past thought that if you were thin then you were poor and unhealthy. Now, in more modern times the Asian women value thinness and it has lead to more eating disorders. Even though eating disorders with Korean women have stated to become more prominent there is not as many studies done in Korean as there are in the Western world. The Western world generally relates exercise and healthy eating to thinness and link extra weight with laziness. As documented by Y.-S. Lim and colleagues (2015), in the past few decades the ideal female body in the Western world has become thinner and smaller. In short, many South Korean women deal with low self-esteem just like many women in the United States. The perception that skinny is desirable leads to an exaggerated ideal. That perception and idea is reinforced by all types of media and their outlets. It is important to acknowledge that an “”ideal female body is defined differently across different cultures, although in many Asian cultures, especially South Korea, people appear to be influenced more by Western celebrity culture than are others (Eisenberg, Nicklett, Roeder, & Kirz, 2011; Kempa & Jones Thomas, 2000). Most people tend to think that Korean women do not struggle with body image issues. Many of them are obsessed with dieting. Furthermore, South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgery procedures among all Asian countries, and most of these are fat-reduction procedures that are meant to make the individuals who undergo these procedures look like glamorous Western celebrities (Jung & Forbes, 2007). The images of both Western and Korean women on tv are photoshopped and women compare themselves to these models and became dissatisfied with their bodies and experience more severe depression than do those who do not make these comparisons (Jung & Lee, 2006; H.-R. Lee et al., 2014). However, compared to North American women, South Korean women perceive a greater difference between their actual and ideal weight (Jung, Forbes, & Lee, 2009). Furthermore, in South Korea 14.8% of adolescent girls and 10.5% of adolescent boys have eating disorders (G. Lee, Ha, Vann, & Choi, 2009).


This paper discussed how body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem can lead to the to the development of eating disorders, harmful dieting behaviors, and negative body image among South Korean women. It also tells us why Korean women develop eating disorders and how it compares to the Western World’s development of eating disorders. Korean women’s body image and self-esteem has lead to a rise in eating disorders because of the new views of the Western view. Western countries””fatness is stigmatized as something bad and something not good. So, the media tells says that, that is true. Therefore, cause Korean women to acquire a disorder dealing with they way they eat and what they eat.

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Eating Disorders Body Dissatisfaction And Self-Esteem Among South Korean Women. (2020, Jan 17). Retrieved from