During a recent episode of her talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Winfrey was discussing women's image and fashion culture around the world when she disparaged Korean women, saying they have "an obsession with plastic surgery."
The program dealt with content that suggested Korean women have a unique preference from plastic surgery and an inferiority complex in which they would like to have Western features. It also described Korea as a plastic surgery superpower.
Because of this, the Korean-American community is harshly criticizing the program, and fallout is spreading as some Korean expatriate groups demand a public apology.
One Korean student studying in the U.S. said, "The Oprah Winfrey Show is a program with a lot of viewers worldwide, and for it to deal with Korea negatively like this is a big problem. Because of this, I worry if the nation's image won't take a big hit."
It's the first time I'd ever heard of it, and a google search didn't turn up much else, save for this blogger, who writes:
Elective plastic surgery is a growing cultural problem in Korea and many other countries, but to single out and demonize Korean women is wrong. If they wanted to be fair, they could have gained insight into the female Korean psyche by having an actual Korean woman on the show.
Seems a case of a few hypersensitive Asian-Americans attacking someone who dared make an opinion based on fact regarding the cultural practices of an Asian country. And seems a case of the Korean press not able to leave a story on perceived American racism alone. Of course the most notable case of an American talk show host who gained the ire of Asian-Americans is Jay Leno, who made a series of jokes (here and here) about Koreans eating dog. I get that some are upset because these talk shows perhaps perpetuate stereotypes that all Koreans eat dog, or all Korean women want to look white, but it's not as if Koreans don't eat dog or aren't obsessed with plastic surgery.
I'm curious where the Asian-American community went during the intense anti-American demonstrations in Korea in 2002. Curious also where the Asian-American community goes whenever the Korean press abuses foreign teachers in the media, or when Korean entertainers use blackface (here, here, and here). Curious where the Asian-American community is now, as a cosmetic company runs Nazi-themed commercials. Ah, that's right, I forgot that most only exercise the Asian part when complaining about white people, when choosing an evening's restaurant, or when filling out a college application. Damn, the fad of hyphenated-Americanism is extremely pathetic, and after spending a few days watching Sopranos reruns, I've had my fill for a little while.