Rethinking Attraction

Hallyu (Korean Wave) is a movement to spread South Korea culture into the world[1]. Its first movement is by the spread of K-dramas and K-pop. This movement affects many regions in Asia and becomes the defining factor of beauty standards among Asians people or even perhaps globally (Ibid).[2] In Taiwan, some fans reportedly underwent cosmetic surgery to look similar like their idol after watched popular Korea drama called Dae Jang Geum (Ibid).[3] Not only that, blonde Brazilian man, Max, who obsessed by K-pop changed his appearance to be like a Korean after came to Korea as an exchange student .[4] I will take these two examples about how mere exposure can affect someone.

I will start by explaining how someone can be obsessed like that. It is well explained in the concept of familiarity, where mere exposure plays its role as a major factor of the attraction.[5] This is called the Mere Exposure Effect (MEE). We know from the experiment of RSVP (The Rapid Serial Visual Presentation)[6] Paradigm that the more we exposed to the things in the past, the more likely we will prefer to choose the stimuli of exposure in the future and end up in being obsessed by it while we believe that we take a conscious decision on it. In the Hallyu case, the exposure to K-dramas and K-pops in the past will cause someone to have a tendency to become like the K-pop or K-drama stars in the future.

The deceitful part of this is we usually delineate our own image in the daily basis as our image that we already perceived in the mirror or mirrored image that really depends on the light around us (Op.cit. Science of Attraction).[7] Whereas the K-pop stars that someone see mostly in the serial dramas or magazines are very manipulative. Their symmetrical face can easily be depicted by vector graphics editor software. This pseudo image can make us confuse to determine the way we have to look like and it can be penetrated and influenced by MEE. This decision can be horrible and extreme like in the Max or Dae Jang Geum case that I had mentioned before.

The beauty stereotypes around the world [8] are very distinct so don’t change the way we look just because of beauty standards. In this case, just to make it clear, I didn’t say that South Korean culture was wrong. The one we have to fix is how we perceive the value of ourselves as who we are and respect others as who they are. Cameron Russel who has been a model for 10 years gave a fascinating statement about this topic, I will end this by quoting some words of her talk in the TED conference:[9]

“…Image is powerful, but also, image is superficial. This picture is the very first picture that I ever took … they are constructions by a group of professionals, by hairstylists and makeup artists and photographers and stylists and all of their assistants and pre-production and post-production, and they build this. That’s not me. … When I was researching this talk, I found out that of the 13-year-old girls in the United States, 53% don’t like their bodies, and that number goes to 78% by the time that they’re 17. … If there’s a takeaway to this talk, I hope it’s that we all feel more comfortable acknowledging the power of image in our perceived successes and our perceived failures.”


[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] Max:
[5] Science of Attraction:
[7] Op.cit. Science of Attraction.

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